20220303 Serbia Sweden 87

Risovic stars as Serbia defeat Sweden

C4 9374 EHF / Courtney Gahan

Serbia kept their perfect home record against Sweden alive as the second day of EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers got underway on Thursday evening, taking a solid 24:21 victory, thanks mainly to a huge game from goalkeeper Jovana Risovic.

Serbia had never lost to Sweden on home turf, with three previous meetings in Belgrade, Kragujevac and Niš. And in the round 3 match, they added a fourth game to that unbeaten run.

The win took Serbia to four points where they are now equal with Sweden. The teams will meet for the reverse fixture in Ystad on Saturday.

Serbia vs Sweden 24:21 (10:9)

  • Sweden had a shock to start the match, falling behind 4:1 in the first 10 minutes and taking almost six minutes to net their first. But from 7:4 in the 17th and 9:5 in the 20th, they had a strong finish to the half and went to the break only one behind
  • Risovic was superb in goal for Serbia, racking up six saves at 67 per cent in the opening quarter. Johanna Bundsen soon matched Risovic’s game and both finished the first half with rates of 50 per cent
  • Sweden’s defence kept Serbia’s sharpshooting backs at bay, but with Kristina Liscevic orchestrating from centre back the home side found gaps, particularly on the line and the wings
  • thanks to the goalkeepers’ performances, it was a tough day shooting for both teams. Between the two sides, just three players were able to score more than one in the first half, and only wings Nathalie Hagman and Sanja Radosavljevic tallied more than two in that period
  • Serbia were well prepared for everything Sweden threw at them and reopened a clearer gap immediately in the second half. But Sweden kept close and the two points were secure only when time had run out for the Scandinavian team

Superb Serbia recover from shock defeat

In round 2, Serbia were defeated by Iceland in Hafnarfjordur. Although they played away, Serbia — far more seasoned at major championships than Iceland — were the clear favourites ahead of that encounter. But Iceland took a 23:21 victory that meant Serbia were aiming for a very important two points on Thursday evening versus Sweden.

Pulling out their best form, Serbia took command of the match against the Scandinavian side — semi-finalists at the Olympic Games last summer, for which Serbia did not qualify. Producing such a match against Sweden shows Serbia’s true capabilities but also confirms their main challenge may be consistency. When they can master that, they are a team all should find formidable to face.

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