Men's handball in Montenegro and the national team have enjoyed a sharp rise recently. Coach Zoran Kastratovic had developed a team, which has shown the typical Balkan strength in these qualifiers: fighting spirit, back court power and fast break goals.
Montenegro caused the first major surprise, when they eliminated Sweden in the play-offs for the 2013 World Championship. But in Spain they were far below par were the only European team failing to progress from the preliminary round. However, those who thought that this would signal a downturn for the team were very wrong. Montenegro beat Germany twice during qualification, including a sensational 31:27 win in Germany and managed to deal with the pressure at home, after losing at Israel, to clinch a berth in the final tournament with another victory against the Germans in round 5.
Main characters in the Montenegrin team, competing in their second EHF EURO event, are goalkeeper Rade Mijatovic and the back court shooters Sevaljevic and Mrvaljevic, the team even managed to deal with the loss of brilliant wing player Fahrudin Melić, who left the national team in the middle of qualification.
The 33-year-old Drasko Mrvaljevic is the Montenegrin national team's captain. The playmaker impresses by his calmness and patience and his prowess in front of the goal are as big as when it comes to giving assists to better-positioned teammates.
Mrvaljevic started his career in his native town of Cetinje. He played for former Yugoslav clubs as well as in Slovenia and Germany and is currently with Austrian side Bregenz.
In the 2010/11 and the 2011/12 season he won the EHF Cup with German side Frisch Auf Göppingen.
The 32-year-old goalkeeper was one of the key factors for the Montenegrin success in the qualification for the 2014 European Championship in Denmark.
His great saves and his outstanding team spirit helped his team to achieve one of its biggest feats in its history.
After having played in Serbia and Spain before, he reached the last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League with Belarusian team Dinamo Minsk in the 2012/13 season.
Before the start of the current season he joined Ukrainian side HC Motor Zaporozhye with he will again take part in Europe's premier club handball competition.
The strong line player has made his way to Montenegro's senior national team by playing for all different younger age category national teams in either Ex-Yugoslavia or Montenegro.
His career highlights include reaching the quarter-final of the EHF Champions League with Lovcen Cetinje in the 2000/01 season and with HC Metalurg in the 2012/13 season.
He now plays for Greek champions A.E.K. Athens.
THE COACH - Zoran Kastratovic
Zoran Kastratovic took his place on the bench of the Montenegrin national team in the summer of 2009 after Montenegro had failed to qualify for the 2009 World Championship as well as for the EHF EURO 2010 in Austria.
His first big success came some years later when his team beat Sweden in 2012 to qualify for the 2013 World Championship in Spain, at which Montenegro.
Kastratovic was born in 1966 in Berane. He coached FYR Macedonia's women's national team in 2001 and led HC Berane to the national championship in Montenegro.
Besides his job with Montenegro he also coaches VELUX EHF Champions League participants, HC Vardar Skopje.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events