07 Dec. 2023
Poland delivered a superb comeback in the second half of their debut match against Serbia in the main round at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, taking a hard-fought 22:21 win, which sees their European counterparts virtually eliminated for a quarter-finals berth.
Serbia vs Poland 21:22 (13:10)
There was no room for error for both Serbia and Poland, as any mistake from the two teams in the main round would have rendered their chances to zero for progressing to the quarter-finals, after their mishaps in the preliminary round.
Therefore, the pressure was big on both sides, but especially for Serbia, which lost against both Romania and Denmark, as they started on zero points, having their chances of progression out of their hands.
That translated into their start of the match, with Uros Bregar’s side starting with an outstanding 4:0 unanswered run, powered by left wing Sanja Radosavljević, who made the most of her chances to keep Serbia alive at the 2023 IHF Women’s World Championship.
Coming from a devastating 19:33 loss against Germany, Poland’s morale took another serious blow, as coach Arne Senstad was forced to take an early team time-out, to weather the storm, a move which proved immediate dividends, as they went on a 4:1 run themselves to cut the gap to only one goal, 5:4.
But Radosavljević was flawless, scoring five times in the first half, being assisted by Marija Laništanin and Katarina Bojičić, who scored three goals each, with Serbia never relenting the lead they took early.
In fact, it was their most complete performance so far at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, adding more pressure on Poland, whose goalkeeper disappointed again, as Barbara Zima and Adrianna Placzek could only boast a 19% saving efficiency, which hampered any chance of a comeback in the first 30 minutes.
However, the second half saw the game turn on its head, especially as misses started to pile up for both sides, with Serbia and Poland combining for only one goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half. It was more about the turnovers for both sides, not because of goalkeeper saves, as the pace fell, with Poland eventually tying the game for the first time since the first whistle, 15:15, with 15 minutes to go on the clock.
Once again, Bregar was forced to call a team time-out, as his team could only muster two goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half, as the efficiency dropped sharply, with Poland being on the rise and having all of the momentum, with centre back Karolina Kochaniak-Sala dictating the rhythm, with six goals.
Serbia only had little in the tank and that was to be seen in the end, when Poland not only took the lead, but goals from captain Monika Kobylinska and left wing Dagmara Nocun helped Arne Senstad’s side to take a 22:20 lead, as their opponents looked down and dusted, failing to get anything meaningful out of their attack, with only seven goals scored in the first 26 minutes of the second half.
It was the defence which stood tall for Poland until the end, as Serbia failed to score with their last attack, as three consecutive shots were blocked by the tall Poland defence, with the last attack confirming their win, 22:21.
With four points after the first match of the first round, Poland improved their chances of progression to the next phase of the competition, while Serbia are virtually out of the picture for the quarter-finals, irrespective of the last results, after conceding three losses against Romania, Denmark and Poland.
hummel Player of the Match: Karolina Kochaniak-Sala (Poland)