Mnevned

Netherlands make history again against Montenegro

EHF / Kevin Domas

The Netherlands might have been through hell in the last couple of days, losing players, two goalkeepers and even their coach Erlingur Richardsson to Covid-19 this morning, but it did not show on the court on Saturday in Budapest.

Despite trailing by four after 15 minutes, Luc Steins and his teammates turned things around to finally lead by as much as five in the second half.

GROUP I
Montenegro vs Netherlands 30:34 (16:18)

  • if the Netherlands started the game the worst way possible, being led by four within the first 10 minutes, they managed to completely turn things around afterwards. Despite missing their head coach, they found defensive solutions to be ahead by two at the break
  • the Netherlands even managed to increase their lead to five goals in the second half, finding breaks in their opponent’s defence while scoring important goals in Montenegro’s empty net in the meantime
  • having made 14 saves to help the Netherlands win the game, Dutch goalkeeper Thijs Van Leeuwen was elected Grundfos Player of the Match
  • thanks to this win, the Netherlands are now level with Montenegro in third place, each team having two points
  • the Netherlands will play against Denmark on Monday in the third round while Montenegro will face France

What a debut for Thijs Van Leeuwen

The Dutch goalkeeper van Leeuwen was not even in the 35 players list given to the EHF back in November, but there he was, on the court for his first ever EHF EURO game. And he did not disappoint.

Despite having played only a handful of international games before today, the 34-year-old was not scared one bit. He made 14 saves at a 43 per cent efficiency rate, and an amazing second half helped the Netherlands secure their first ever main round win – an incredible debut.

We knew it would be a hard game today. With all the difficulties we had, we didn’t have anything to lose and I think we managed the right timing to change our mindset to the game instead of Covid.
Luc Steins
Centre back, Netherlands
The difference was we started really good, the first 20 minutes. We showed everyone that we can play with everyone but after that I think my team started to be tired. The Netherlands started to play faster and faster and we couldn’t find a good way to stop it. The middle back and the wings were really successful and they scored a lot of goals.
Milos Vujovic
Left wing, Montenegro

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