It’s Montenegro’s title – Euro 2012 ends with a classic final

The shield of Montenegro

At some point this stopped being just a match between the two best teams in the tournament and became the kind of experience every sports fan dreams about.  This match had everything: it had double extra time and in each period of that there was a reffing controversy, it had a lead that changed hands, momentum that swung and, in the end, it had heroes.

Those heroes could be found throughout the Montenegro side.  From the goalkeeper Sonja Barjaktarovic who played the full eighty minutes and made 17 saves to Milena Knezevic who found the net 10 times, and then there was Katarina Bulatovic who was on court for over an hour and whose own performance summed up that of her team: bruised, defiant, victorious.

But on the losing side too, there were some great performances.  Anja Edin, again, was a focus for so much in defence and attack although she’ll be disappointed with only a 4/10 shooting return and Ida Alstad led with 11 goals, including three in the second half of the first period of extra time to overturn what had looked like an unassailable Norwegian lead.  But some players were muted, in particular, Linn Jorum Sulland could only manage three goals from eight shots.

At the final hooter, Heidi Loke remonstrated with the officials for her two minute suspension which had been the catalyst for Montenegro’s final, final charge for the title – but then Montenegro could counter that but for the very harsh two minutes given to Katarina Bulatovic in the first extra time there would have been no opportunity for Alstad’s equalising heroics.

Type ‘Montenegro’ into google news right now and all you see is women’s handball.  There is nothing else on the ticker.  Perhaps the place closes on Sunday.  What isn’t in doubt is how much this means to both the players on the court and the nation they represent.

And that’s before the impact on women’s handball that somebody, at last, has beaten Norway.

If you feel up to it, you can watch it all again here:

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One comment

  1. TheMack

    WOW !!! EPIC Game !!!!!
    Quote Lino Cervar (ex coach of Croat national team – men):
    “When you need to prepare your squad for tough match just show them the video of this game. U wont find better source of encouragement then this”
    This was the 3-rd clash between these 2 teams. They met at the WC in Brasil group stages and in OG final game. Norway won booth with tight goal margin but with shady refereeing (french sisters Bonavenura were refs in both occasions)
    Clashes between these 2 teams showed best what women’s handball has today. (in tactic and skill and physical / mental strength of teams) Truly epic. And last Sunday justice was done
    So far. Montenegrin team is the only team that can challenge Norway superpower at every level.

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