All-Stars of 2015

Women’s European Championship U19 – Spain

GK: Tonje Haug Lerstad (Nor)

LP: Sara Trier Hald (Den)

LW: Marianna Egorova (Rus)

LB: Emily Bölk (Ger)

CB: Yaroslava Frolova (Rus)

RB: Celine Lundbye Kristiansen (Den)

RW: Maitane Etxeberria (Esp)

Top scorer: Djurdjina Jaukovic (Mne) – 71 goals

Best defensive player: Sofia Hvenfelt (Swe)

Best player: Djurdjina Jaukovic (Mne)

 

Women’s European Championship U17 – Macedonia

U17

http://www.mk2015.ehf-euro.mk/

GK: Laerke Sofie Tanderup Soerensen (Den)

LP: Noemi Paztor (Hun)

LW: Sarah Grunnet Sougaart (Den)

LB: Karina Sabirova (Rus)

CB: Matea Pletikosic (Cro)

RB: Antonina Skorobogatchenko (Rus)

RW: Maria Dudina (Rus)

Top scorer: Maria Sorina Tirca (Rou) 55 goals in 7 matches

Best defensive player: Kristina Joergensen (Den)

Best player: Helena Elver Hagesoe (Den)

All-Stars Of 2014

Women’s European Open U18

GK: Sofie Börjesson (Swe)
LW: Viede Karoline Nord (Nor)
LB: Yulia Golikova (Rus)
CB: Mette Thrysted (Den)
RB: Valentina Vernigorova (Rus)
RW: Nikolett Dioszegi (Hun) 

Top scorer: Cristina Laslo (Rou)
Best defence player: Aleksandra Zimny (Pol)
Most Valuable Player (MVP): Yaroslava Frolova (Rus)

Women’s World Championship U18 – Macedonia

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IHF

GK: Jessica Jochims (Ger)
LW: Itana Grbic (Mne)
LB: Bianca Bazaliu (Rou)
CB: Cristina Laslo (Rou)
RB: Durdina Malovic (Mne)
RW: Stine Bindlev Holm (Den)
LP: Lorena Ostase (Rou)

MVP: Emily Bölk (Ger)
Topscorer: Sojeong Yu (Kor) – 81 goals

Women’s World Championship U20 – Croatia

ALL-STAR-TEAM

IHF

GK: Dinah Eckerle (Ger)
LW: Julie Kjaer Larsen (Den)
LB: Line Haugsted (Den)
CB: Daria Dmitrieva (Rus)
RB: Luca Szekerczes (Hun)
RW: Anna Vyakhireva (Rus)
LP: Seonpil Won (Kor)

MVP: Hyojin Lee (Kor)
Topscorer: Hyojin Lee (Kor) – 64 goals

All-Stars of 2013

All-Stars of 2012

All-Stars of the past

The Hottest Country In Europe

This season’s hottest country is what we call in handball “an expected miracle”. Poland has done what no other team in modern handball had: reaching the semi-finals of a World Championship after a five-year absence from international tournaments.

It all started like all great things do: with a great disappointment. Poland lost the 2011 battle for the WCh against Denmark, the same Denmark that would later defeat them in the bronze match at the 2014 WCh. Did they come close to qualify in 2011? Maybe not, but they certainly did not resign themselves after that episode. The 2012 campaign for the ECh offered them a second chance to pursue their expectations. But what was there to do against two superpowers like Russia and Montenegro? This being said, Poland did defeat Russia once and gave a hard time to Montenegro in the campaign.

Finally, in 2013, Poland’s luck turned. Not only were they assigned a “terrestrial” opponent in the play-offs for the WCh, but they also engaged into a wide open fight for the 2014 ECh. Following their epic triumph against Sweden, some players looked fantastically appealing for a star-thirsty market:  Alina Wojtas, the unpolished diamond of Polish handball, Kinga Grzyb, the sizzling veteran with teenager legs, Patrycja Kulwinska, the clock-like pivot who strikes at the right hour, Karolina Szwed, the surprise center-back substitute, Katarzyna Koniuszaniec, the sneaky winger,Kinga  Byzdra, the unfaltering defender…

The former got her deserved five-star contract in summer 2013 when she was hired by Buducnost Podgorica. And it is from this season that Wojtas will be part of another of Europe’s most successful clubs: Larvik HK. Does Poland hold any more surprises or have we seen it all? I can’t help noticing that the veterans play an important role in this success: Karolina Kudlacz (29), Iwona Niedzwiedz (35) and the wingers Koniuszaniec (29) and Grzyb (32), and that the young Byzdra and Szwed haven’t had particularly brilliant performances in their international clubs. Will Alina Wojtas prove me overcautious? 

2011-2012 France

2012-2013 Serbia, Montenegro

2013-2014 Poland

Ten Successful Romanians

1. Irina Nagy Klimovschi (1936-2001)


Medals

Gold at the WCh 1956, 1960 (11 players) and 1962 (7 players)

1960/1961 European Champions’ Cup winner with Stiinta Bucuresti

1963/1964 European Champions’ Cup winner with Rapid Bucuresti

Awards

All-Star goalkeeper WCh 1956 and 1960

Club teams

Progresul Targu Mures, Stiinta Bucuresti, Rapid Bucuresti

National team

136 caps (2 goals)

WCh 1956, 1960, 1962, 1965


2. Mariana Tirca (1962-)


Medals

1995/96 ChL winner with Podravka Koprivnica

Awards

All-Star playmaker WCh 1995

Club teams

Rulmentul Brasov, CS Stiinta Bucuresti, Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, Podravka Koprivnica, GAS Anagennisi Artas

National team

All-time top-scorer 335 caps (2043 goals)

WCh 1986, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1997

ECh 1996

Active

NO

* Interview with Tirca


3. Valentina Cosma (1963-)


Medals

1995/96 ChL winner with Podravka Koprivnica

Awards

Club teams

Terom Iasi, Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, Podravka Koprivnica, ESC Yutz Handbal

National team

All-time third top-scorer 322 caps (980 goals)

WCh 1986, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1999

ECh 1996

OG 2000

Active

NO


4. Luminita Dinu (1971-)


Medals

Silver at the WCh 2005

2000/2001 and 2002/2003 ChL winner with Krim Ljubliana

2001/2001 ChL winner with Kometal Skopje

2006/2007 CWC winner with Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea

Awards

All-Star goalkeeper ECh 2000 and WCh 2005

Club teams

Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, Krim Ljubljana, Kometal Skopje

National team

201 caps (9 goals)

WCh 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007

ECh 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008

OG 2000, 2008

Active

NO


5. Steluta Luca (1975-)


Medals

Gold at the Junior WCh 1995

Silver at the WCh 2005

2006/2007 CWC winner with Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea

Awards

Club teams

Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, Dossobuono Verona, Randers, FCK Copenhagen

National team

All-time second top-scorer 223 caps (1013 goals)

WCh 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007

ECh 1998, 2000, 2002

OG 2000

Active

NO


6. Simona Gogarla (1975-)


Medals

Gold at the Junior WCh 1995

Silver at the WCh 2005

Awards

Top-scorer of the ECh 2000

Club teams

CSS Focsani, Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, Krim Ljubljana, SD Itxako, Gyori ETO, Rulmentul Brasov, Rapid Bucuresti

National team

93 caps (455 goals)

WCh 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005

ECh 1998, 2000

Active

Coach of HCM Ramnicu Valcea

* Profile on Simona Gogarla


7. Carmen Amariei (1978-)


Medals

Gold at the Junior WCh 1995

Bronze at the Junior WCh 1997

2002/2003 EHF Cup Winner with ESBF Besançon

2004/2005 and 2006/2007 ChL winner with Slagelse

Awards

Top-scorer of the WCh 1999

Club teams

Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, ESBF Besançon, Randers, Slagelse, U Jolidon Cluj, Rulmentul Brasov, FCK Copenhagen, Viborg, Terom-Z Iasi, SCM Craiova

National team

All-time 4th top-scorer 182 caps (855 goals)

WCh 1999, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2011

ECh 1998, 2002, 2004, 2008

OG 2000, 2008

Active

NO


8. Cristina Varzaru (1979-)


Medals

Gold at the Junior ECh 1998

Gold at the Junior WCh 1999

Silver at the WCh 2005

Bronze at the ECh 2010

2005/2006, 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 ChL winner with Viborg

Awards

All-Star right winger Junior ECh 1998

All-Star right winger Junior WCh 1999

Top-scorer of the 2009/2010 ChL

Club teams

CSS Corabia, Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, Rapid Bucuresti, Viborg, CSM Bucuresti

National team

178 caps (493 goals)

WCh 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011

ECh 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010

OG 2000

Active

Plays for CSM Bucuresti (ROU)

* Profile on Cristina Varzaru


9. Valentina Ardean Elisei (1982-)


Medals

Gold at the Junior ECh 2000

Silver the  WCh 2005

Bronze at the ECh 2010

2006/2007 CWC winner with Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea

Awards

All-star left winger at the WCh 2005 and ECh 2008

Club teams

Universiteatea Remin Deva, Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, ZRK Knjaz Milos, HCM Baia Mare

National team

All-time fifth top-scorer 181 caps (735 goals)

WCh 2005, 2011, 2013

ECh 2004, 2008, 2010

OG 2008

Active

Plays for HCM Baia Mare (ROU)


10. Cristina Neagu (1988-)


Medals

Silver at the Youth ECh 2005

Bronze at the Youth WCh 2006

Bronze at the Junior ECh 2007

Bronze at the ECh 2010

2014/2015 ChL winner with Buducnost

Awards

MVP of the Youth ECh 2005

MVP and all-star left back Youth WCh 2006

All-Star left back Junior ECh 2007

IHF Rookie of the year 2009

Top-scorer and all-star left back ECh 2010

IHF World player of the year 2010

All-star left back ECh 2014

Nominated for the IHF World player of the year 2014

Top-scorer of the 2014/2015 ChL

Club teams

Rulmentul Brasov, Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea, Buducnost Podgorica

National team

111 caps (455 goals)*

WCh 2007, 2009, 2013

ECh 2008, 2010, 2012

OG 2008

Active

Plays for Buducnost Podgorica (MNE)


Some thoughts…

  • Longest NT career: Cosma 1986-1999.
  • One player has won an international cup with every team: Dinu.
  • Except for Nagy, all players have played for Oltchim Valcea.
  • Two players have never won a European Cup: Gogarla and Neagu**.
  • Two players have never won an NT medal: Tirca and Cosma.

The five all-time national team top-scorers are on the list: Tirca, Luca, Cosma, Amariei and Elisei.

In listing the ten most successful Romanians in the history of women’s handball, I have taken into account international medals, awards and recognitions, as well as the players’ contribution to the national team in  goals scored and matches played. But let us not forget the difference between our times and the previous era of handball: the IHF award only exists since 1988, the European Championship was first played in 1994, youth competitions were implemented only a couple of decades ago. In short, contrary to the heydays of Romanian handball in the 1960s, today, our players get plenty of chances to stand out.

* Selections and goals of all players until 2012 according to FRH. ** Eventually, Neagu won the Champions League with Buducnost in 2015.

Budapest Day 6: The Aftermath Review

Semi-finals Day

The opening ceremony inspired from the Harry Potter movies reminded us all that we were in the right place. Although a bit pompous, it was actually appropriate in this beautiful city, out of a medieval fairytale.

The first game day began with Gyor’s one-team-show. FCM was the second best team of the day and who knows what might have happened if they hadn’t met the title holder. Buducnost was in some respects well-prepared, defending the centre and the wings, running back in defence, getting the ball forward on counter and second phase. Neagu netted 6 goals from around 20 shots, and Popovic and Adzic were all hugs and kissed around her. After the 60 minutes buzzer, Adzic literally took her into his arms as if to say “You are my girl”.

Milena Knezevic came in at the end of the game and had a “talk” with Gyor’s supporters who were asking her to come take a photo. She avoided it, of course. I was thinking that maybe Buducnost had an advantage not having played Knezevic in the semi and that at least one player would be fresh the following day. Fresh, yes. But cool? Knezevic?

The atmosphere in the hall at Gyor’s game, was anything but torrid. The anti-cheering on the Buducnost-Vardar game made more of an impression on me.

Finals Day

The hall was half empty at the FCM – Vardar game. Rightly so, as it didn’t provide any excitement or suspense. Lekic’s technical prowess and Radicevic’s exhibitionism were reasons enough for me to be satisfied.

In theory, the final brought together the two best teams of the competition. It is very special to see these teams live and only now do I see the geometry that makes the team from Gyor superior to any other. Unlike ETO, Buducnost’s passes are mostly going sideways. Once their prime move is stopped, they can’t regain flow in the latter phase of their positional attack.

These are two different approaches of handball: a marriage of Spanish and Hungarian philosophies on one hand, the Balkan style on the other. ”Just keep going, just be patient, just wait for the best position and keep moving the ball”. It is only now that Ambros’ timeouts start to make sense to me. “Move the ball” means “keep a high pace and send the ball from left to right and back, be dangerous from all positions, confuse the opponent”. In the Balkan style of play, quick solutions are sought and patience is superfluous.

In was probably due to the early hour of the day or to the overconfidence, but there were no frenzy or shivers on the corridors of the Papp Laszlo Arena. Seen from the hall, the festivities of Gyor’s coronation were not the huge celebration I had expected either. I missed the folly and the melodrama of the past years. Gyor winning their first title was moving. Now, we have entered a whole other era, the era of domination, with fewer emotions, and more quality handball.

The joy at the end

At 00:40, the ETO girls run over a photographer.

At 01:50, a coach comforting Neagu

At 02:05, the teams shake hands

At 03:50, Bulatovic salutes the Varvari

Gyor is the champion

P.S. I haven’t watched the replay of the finals yet, but let me quote just one of O Brannagain’s bloopers from the semi-finals day: commenting on Petrovic taking a penalty “The courage… How old is she? She is (pause) 26. Well, she looks 16.” He had no idea who Radmila Petrovic was.

So that was all from Budapest. Thank you for reading!