During their relatively short history as a national team, Montenegro have built a solid reputation as a team that can endanger any other. After some years finding their feet, Montenegro qualified for their first major international championship: the EHF EURO 2010. The following year they made it to the World Championship for the first time, and in 2012, they debuted at the Olympic Games.
In their very first Olympic Games, Montenegro reached the final, where they were defeated by Norway. 2012 turned out to be a year that belonged to Montenegro, as they won the EHF EURO just months after the Olympic Games, becoming only the fourth nation to take the title. Montenegro have not been able to reproduce those successes, with the best subsequent result their fourth-place finish at the EURO 2014.
There has been severe disappointment, as the team went from second at the London 2012 Games to 11th at Rio 2016 and finished 13th at the EHF EURO 2016. But the appointment of coach Per Johansson seemed to spark a change, as Montenegro achieved their best ever World Championship ranking in 2017 – sixth. They confirmed their rebuilding squad is on the way back up by winning all their EURO 2018 Qualification matches.
Right wing Jovanka Radicevic epitomises all the characteristics of her playing position – she is fast and can always be relied on to score fast-break goals; she has an accurate shot from both the wing and penalty line; and she delivers the spectacle and passion on court handball fans love to see. The 32-year-old was key in all Montenegro’s biggest successes, including the EHF EURO 2012 gold and the 2012 Olympic silver.
Radicevic has played for some of Europe’s most prominent clubs, starting with her home city’s team, Buducnost. She transferred to Györ in 2011 and won the Champions League in 2012/13. The following season she moved to HC Vardar, with whom she reached every edition of the FINAL4. Now, Radicevic is part of CSM Bucuresti’s star-studded squad.
Radicevic was selected as the All-star Team right wing at the EURO 2012, World Championship 2015 and for the Champions League in 2013/14 and 2015/16.
Milena Raicevic is Montenegro’s attacking mastermind, leading the team from centre back and very much living up to the title ‘playmaker’. The creative 28-year-old knows her teammates well, and it is this combined with her vision of the game and her ability to carve her own way through the defence that make Raicevic so effective in her position.
Raicevic has been representing Montenegro for 10 years, contributing to their Olympic silver medal win and their memorable EHF EURO 2012 victory. She scored 10 goals in the EURO 2012 final against Norway and was the third top scorer of the championship with a tally of 41. Raicevic has played for Montenegrin club Buducnost her entire career, winning the Champions League in 2011/12 and 2014/15.
The coach: Per Johansson
Per Johansson has an extensive coaching resume, having started in Sweden’s first division when he was just 22 – making him the youngest head coach in the competition’s history. Johansson coached several Swedish clubs and also worked with the young age Sweden national teams from 1998 to 2003.
Johansson became assistant coach for the Sweden women’s team in 2004, helping the squad reach the Olympic Games for the first time in 2008. He was appointed head coach in 2009 and led Sweden to the EHF EURO 2010 silver medal. In 2017, Johansson made headlines when he was brought in to coach CSM Bucuresti just before the Champions League Quarter-finals and qualified for the FINAL4 – a feat he repeated in 2017/18.
Johansson was appointed Montenegro coach right before the World Championship 2017, leading the team to their best result (sixth). His contract was subsequently extended, and he guided Montenegro through the EURO 2018 Qualification undefeated.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events