Sweden and Montenegro share the sheer will to win
No matter whether Sweden or Montenegro win the match for third place in Budapest's Papp Laszlo Sportarena on Sunday (15:30 hrs, live on ehfTV.com), bronze will be a new kind of medal in the winning team's trophy cabinet.
While Montenegro can complete their collection of all medal colours after having won EHF EURO gold and Olympic silver in 2012, the only medal of for Swedish women's handball dates back four years ago when they won silver at the EHF EURO 2010.
It has happened in the past that bronze medal matches are emcounters of exhausted and disappointed teams, which simply want to bring the tournament to an end.
However, there are indicators that things might look different on Sunday.
Both sides are absolutely eager to win, even though this time, contrary to previous EHF EURO events, the third place does not grant a spot at the upcoming World Championship 2015 in Denmark.
"If we win this match, bronze will shine like gold for us," says Montenegrin coach Dragan Adzic.
His Swedish counterpart Helle Thomsen even goes further: "This is a match of life or death."
Only four days ago, on Wednesday, both teams met in the main round in Zagreb. Montenegro took a hard-fought 30:29 win which eventually saw them topping Group II.
"We will fight like we did on Wednesday," says Montenegro's star Katarina Bulatovic, who was the key player when her team fought itself back in the Sweden-game after they had been trailing by five goals.
Montenegro can count again on their defence specialist Suzana Lazovic, who was suspended for the semi-final against Spain (18:19) after she had had received a red card against Sweden.
The Swedish women lost their semi-final against Norway 25:29, but they are confident that they are strong enough to bounce back.
"We played a great tournament despite the fact that the defeat against Norway was a deserved one. Nevertheless a medal would be the icing on the cake for this team," said Sweden's team director Stefan Lövgren, himself a four-time EHF EURO champion.
Montenegro's goalkeeper Sonja Barjaktarovic vows to make things far from easy for Sweden.
"Bronze is missing in our cabinet, but on Sunday we will hopefully get it," she says.