05 Dec. 2019
The penultimate match in the fourth round of group A matches at the 2019 IHF Women’s World Championship saw Serbia completely dominated by a Netherlands side who confirmed their place in the main round with a 13-goal victory.
The size of victory was completely unexpected by nearly everyone outside of the Dutch camp, but once Serbia had scored their first goal just after the sixth minute (3:1) to make it a difference of two, they never came as close again for the remainder of the match.
Serbia vs Netherlands 23:36 (12:20)
A time out with less than nine minutes on the clock saw Serbia coach Ljubomir Obradovic repeat over and over again “нема” (nema), literally meaning ‘does not have’ in the English language, to his team.
While the rest of what he said was unclear, it was clear that his side appeared to be lacking in every department early on – in goalkeeping, defence and attack as they found themselves five down (7:2, 11th minute), then seven (12:5, 17th minute).
A 5:3 run from Serbia over the next five minutes arrested the decline a little (15:10 – 22nd minute) but the Dutch meant business and a 5:0 run ensured a healthy 20:12 lead after 30 minutes, going 10 clear (20:10) for the first time a minute from the end of the opening period.
The start of the second half was a disaster for Serbia as they failed to score for eight minutes, registering just three goals in nearly the first 15 minutes, but by that time Netherlands were up 26:14 and playing against a Serbian side looking more and more towards that ‘Balkan derby’ tomorrow against Slovenia which will decide their fate.
This was characterised in five unanswered goals from the Dutch in the closing minutes, two each from Lois Abbingh and Larissa Nusser, with a solitary strike from the exciting youngster Dione Housheer in between.
“If we lost today, I think we could have gone home, so it was a very important match – the most important one for us since the beginning of the competition,” said Netherlands coach Emmanuel Mayonnade.
“I am very happy because we played exactly as we wanted to before the game,” he added. “We ran a lot, the team was very strong in defence throughout the match, and I am very happy for them and my staff that we are now sure to play in the main round.
Serbia’s Sladana Pop-Lazic was in no doubt as to what cost her side a chance. “We have not opened the match how we would have liked,” she said. “Against a team like Netherlands this costs you a lot and you are not able to come back.”
hummel Player of the Match: Kelly Dulfer, Netherlands