After Czechoslovakia enjoyed great results on the world stage, Czech Republic have had to wait some time to taste success – but with increasingly impressive performances at recent major international events, it is clear that success is now within reach. The qualification for the EHF EURO 2018 marks the second time Czech Republic made it to the continental event for two consecutive editions, highlighting the team’s improvement over recent years.

Czech Republic garnered plenty of attention at the EHF EURO 2016, pulling off unexpected wins and pushing powerful opponents such as newly crowned Olympic champions Russia and World Championship 2015 bronze medallists Romania to close matches. They finished the EURO 2016 with their best result in 14 years, placing 10th – two behind their highest ever ranking of eighth (1994 and 2002).

At the World Championship 2017, Czech Republic finished in the top 10 for the first time. They reached the quarter-finals after eliminating Romania in what was a shock round-of-16 upset, but were subsequently knocked out by the Netherlands.

With a solid squad and some exceptional individual talents, Czech Republic appear on the cusp of more breakthrough performances and are definitely a team to watch in France.

Key Players

IVETA LUZUMOVA
Iveta Luzumova is not only one of the most prominent members of the Czech team, but of women’s handball – particularly after the 2017/18 club season. Though her club team, Thüringer HC, did not make it past the main round, Luzumova finished as the second top scorer of the Champions League 2017/18. Her achievements were enough to earn her the award for best player in the Bundesliga that season.

Since Luzumova joined Thüringer in 2013, the team have won four Bundesliga titles since. Previously, she celebrated bronze medals in the Czecho-Slovak international league with her first club, Pisek, before transferring to French side Mios Biganos.

Luzumova is key in her club team, and that role carries over to the national squad. The centre back debuted for Czech Republic in 2009 and has played 70 matches, scoring 270 goals, since then. She has been named Best Czech Female Handball Player three times.

MARKETA JERABKOVA
Marketa Jerabkova is one of the most exciting young talents for Czech Republic. At just 22, the back is already one of the most important players for her national team. Behind Luzumova, she was the second top scorer for the squad at the World Championship 2017, ranking seventh overall with 43 goals.

Jerabkova started her career in Pilsen then joined Banik Most. She was awarded as Czech Handball Talent of the Year in 2014 and made her debut for the senior national team that same year. For the 2018/19 season, Jerabkova transferred to Hungarian club ÉRD HC.

The coach: Jan Basny

Jan Basny is one of the longest-serving national team coaches at the EHF EURO 2018, having assumed his position in 2010. He has been at the helm throughout the team’s rise to their current position and can therefore take significant credit for the improved results.

Basny began his career as a player in Zlin and Prague, studying coaching at Charles University during his time in the Czech capital. His coaching career started when Basny moved to Corsica in 1990, where he joined Ajaccio first as a player, then assumed more responsibilities leading the team. His coaching career took him to Istres OPH in 2004, then on to ES Becancon from 2007 to 2009. In 2014, Basny took the role as coach of Nantes Loire Atlantique Handball, where he remains in parallel with his national team responsibilities.

Past Performance at EHF EURO Events

Year Event host Place/Medal
1994 Germany 8th place
2002 Denmark 8th place
2004 Hungary 15th place
2012 Serbia 12th place
2016 Sweden 10th place