Hungary

The Hungary women’s national team arrive in France with a history of success behind them. Until 2012, Hungary were the only non-Scandinavian team to have won the Women’s EHF EURO. The team became European champions in 2000, and were the bronze medallists in 1998, 2004 and 2012. Hungary’s record of success began with a silver medal at the World Championship 1957. The team went on to win the World Championship 1965 and collected several more medals in this competition up until 1982.

The new golden era started in the mid-1990s. Hungary qualified for all major tournaments from 1993 until 2011 and consistently finished in the top six places at the Olympic Games, World Championships and EHF EUROs between 1998 and 2006. Hungary have qualified for every Women’s EURO since the first in 1994.

Though Hungary suffer from the loss of some key players due to injury and the retirement of ‘the queen of handball’ Anita Görbicz in 2017, coach Kim Rasmussen’s squad won their EHF EURO 2018 qualification group ahead of the EURO 2016 runners-up the Netherlands. The main goal in France is to qualify for the main round and play at the level of the elite teams.

Key Players

ANIKO KOVACSICS
Following the retirement of Anita Görbicz and Zsuzsanna Tomori’s injury, Aniko Kovacsics became the new captain of the Hungary team. The FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria centre back showed her talent early, playing with Györi Audi ETO KC as a teenager. She was one of the best players in Hungary’s silver medallist team at the Under 19 European championship in 2009, then won the EHF Champions League with Györ in 2013 and 2014.

In the summer of 2016, Kovacsics transferred to Ferencváros, Györ’s biggest domestic rivals. She was quick to become very popular among her new club’s fans, has been the captain of the team since the summer of 2018 and has played on a consistent high level for years.

BLANKA BIRO
The 24-year-old FTC goalkeeper was born in Vác, beginning her professional career in her hometown and becoming a member of the national team at the age of 20. She signed for her current club two years ago but missed the EHF EURO 2016. However, she was one of the best players for Hungary at the World Championship 2017, and also played a leading role for FTC during the team’s Champions League campaign in 2017/18 and in the tense rivalry against Györ for the Hungarian League title.

The coach: Kim Rasmussen

46-year-old Rasmussen has led the Hungary women’s national team since the summer of 2016. The Danish trainer started his career in Lyngby and became head coach of the Poland women’s team in 2010, leading the squad to the World Championship Semi-finals in 2013 and 2015. On a club level, after a short period at HC Vardar, Rasmussen joined Romanian Champions League newcomers CSM Bucuresti in 2015, guiding the team to the FINAL4 and winning the trophy.

Before starting his contract with the Hungarian Federation, Rasmussen finished the EURO qualifiers with Poland in second position in Group 5, just right behind his new team, Hungary. At the EHF EURO 2016, Hungary qualified for the main round, ranking 12th. They were eliminated in the World Championship 2017 Eighth-finals by gold medallists France. Rasmussen’s main goal in France is to build a strong and powerful squad that can be successful against any opponent.

Past Performance at the EHF EURO Events

Year Event host Place/Medal
1994 Germany 4th place
1996 Denmark 10th place
1998 Netherlands Bronze
2000 Romania Gold
2002 Denmark 5th place
2004 Hungary Bronze
2006 Sweden 5th place
2008 FYR Macedonia 8th place
2010 Denmark/Norway 10th place
2012 Serbia Bronze
2014 Hungary/Croatia 6th place
2016 Sweden 12th place