Handball is one of the most popular sports in Croatia and since independence, amongthe sports that has brought the country the most trophies. And over the past few years the women’s team has started to step out of the shadow of the successful men’s team that won, among other medals, gold at the Olympic Games 1996 and 2004 as well as at the World Championship 2003.
The women's team best result to date at an EHF EURO was a sixth place in 2008. But they reached the quarter-final at the World Championship 2011 as well as at the 2012 Olympic Games at which they only narrowly lost to eventual bronze medallists, Spain. And they are for sure a force to reckon with, when they play their first EHF EURO event on home court in December. One of Croatia’s key players is 28-year-old left back Andrea Penezic who plays for WHC Vardar SCBT in FYR Macedonia.
The 28-year-old left back is the focal point of the Croatian game. If she missing, it proves critical to the team, as it was witnessed after she suffered an injury in the Olympic quarter-final against Spain in London. Penezic was born in Zagreb and started her career in her hometown club of Lokomotiva. She also played for Krim Mercator in Ljubljana for two years.
In her home country, she has been named ‘handball player of the year’ on three occasions. Penezic is a threat to any goalkeeper, but she always keeps her eye on her teammates, making it difficult for the opposing team to get her measure. At the beginning of the 2014/15 season she transferred to Macedonian club WHC Vardar SCBT.
31-year-old centre back Miranda Tatari is the Croatian team captain. She started her handball career with HC Podravka in the Croatian town of Koprivnica, and it has become the club for which she has played almost her entire career.
After a very brief stint in Russia in the 2013/14 season with Astrakhanochka, she is now back with Podravka where she is getting ready for a successful season in the domestic league as well as in the Women’s EHF Champions League.
THE COACH - Vladimir Canjuga
The rise of Croatian women’s handball began with Vladimir Canjuga as he focused on developing the team. Having coached the men’s youth and junior teams for many years, he made the switch to the women’s national team in 2010. Canjuga has implemented his concepts with strong back court players and fast wing players - and thanks to the individual class of players trained in Croatia, he has managed to shorten the distance between the top world class teams.
His tactics are based on a strong defence, which are aimed at bringing about many counter attacks. If this does not work, then Canjuga will focus on goals from the back court.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events
|2008||FYR Macedonia||6th place|