Slovenia are on their way back into the scene after many years fighting to qualify for the major international events. In 2016, they returned to the EHF EURO after a six-year wait, playing their fifth campaign and ranking 14th. In 2017, they qualified for the World Championship for the first time since 2005, where they impressed with their strong performances – including an opening win against France, who were then Olympic silver medallists and EHF EURO 2016 bronze medallists. France went on to win the world title, and Slovenia were the only side that beat them on that path.
Playing in competitive qualification Group 5, Slovenia made it to the EHF EURO 2018 as the best third-ranked side overall. Their campaign included draws versus Czech Republic and close games against EHF EURO 2016 semi-finalists Denmark, and saw right back Ana Gros finish as the second top scorer.
Slovenia have showed they can challenge any team and that their main stars are serious threats – now it only seems a question of how fast the squad will develop. Slovenia have never ranked higher than eighth (World Championship 2003) at a major event, so the first goal will be to improve the overall ranking.
Team captain Ana Gros is regarded as one of the best in women's handball at present. Gros makes regular appearances on top scorer lists and was named as the All-star Team right back for the Women's EHF Champions League 2017/18.
Gros started her playing career in Slovenia with her home club Velenje, before joining RK Olimpija, where she played for two seasons. She gained her first Champions League experience with RK Krim in 2009/10 at just 18 and transferred to Györi Audi ETO KC the following season. After participating in the Champions League Final 2011/12, Gros moved to German club Thüringer HC, where she played for two seasons. Since 2014, Gros has played in France – first with Metz Handball until 2018, when she joined Brest Bretagne. She was voted best right back in the French league for four consecutive seasons, from 2014/15 to 2017/18.
Tamara Mavsar has been playing handball since she was a child, moving to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana at the age of nine to join the RK Krim Mercator youth teams. She debuted in the Champions League in 2008/09 and played her first match for Slovenia at the EHF EURO 2010.
The left wing always wished to play outside Slovenia for one year, and made that dream come true when she joined Macedonian side HC Vardar for one season in 2016/17. With Vardar, Mavsar made it to the EHF FINAL4. That same year, after six years off the national team list, she was selected in the Slovenia squad to play the EHF EURO 2016. Unfortunately, Mavsar was injured before the World Championship 2017 and thereby missed out on Slovenia’s return to the competition after a 12-year wait to qualify – but the injury is long forgotten as the EURO 2018 approaches.
The coach: Uros Bregar
After being on court himself, Uros Bregar started coaching at the age of 21. Bregar began as coach of RK Krim Mercator’s youth teams from 2000 to 2005, then became assistant coach for the women’s team for the next five years. He coached a men’s team at RK Grosuplje in 2010/11, before returning to Krim as assistant coach. Bregar ventured abroad to join HC Vardar’s women’s side in January 2014, then moved to Hungary to become head coach for Vac in the summer of 2015. Bregar held that role for half a year, before becoming head coach for Krim in January 2016.
On a national team level, Bregar has worked his way through Slovenia’s women’s teams. He began with the Under 14 squad (2006-2008), then progressed to the Under 19 team (2008-2012). In 2012 he became assistant coach of the women’s senior squad and took the role of head coach in 2015.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events