MCH Arena, Herning (DEN)
Montenegro - France
Montenegro proved a small hurdle to overcome for France in the 5/6th placement match at the MCH Arena in Herning today as they ran out 23:19 (12:5) winners.
After a really weak start in their EHF EURO 2010 campaign with two early defeats against Norway and Hungary, which meant missing out on any chance of semi-final qualification, the French team finished in fifth place at EHF EURO 2010 after winning their fifth consecutive match.
The victory today followed victories in their remaining Preliminary Round matches and subsequent games in the Main Round and Final Round.
Top scorers on court today were Mariama Signate (seven goals for France) and Bojana Popovic (five goals for Montenegro), who increased her lead in the top scorers chart at EHF EURO 2010 with 46 goals in seven matches.
France took control of the opening period and for the whole of the first half were much more serious than their opponents, as Montenegro missed too many shots, France, who were 2009 Silver medallists at the world championships, extended their lead quickly and easily to 4:1 in the eighth minute.
French goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud made some brilliant saves as Montenegro could not stop the outstanding and powerful French shooter Mariama Signate who hit the back of the net five times in the first 20 minutes.
Thanks to her, the French team kept the lead even as Montenegro improved for a short time.
The Balkan team resigned very early, as their top star Bojana Popovic was far away from her normal efficiency in attack, this, and the lack of speed of returning to defensive duties, meant that France found little resistance to break down in their hunt for goals.
Two minutes before the end of the first half the French lead was already seven goals (12:5), as Montenegrin coach Dragan Adzic took his time-out to avoid an early disaster and succeeded as the score stayed the same going into the break.
But the match did not change in the second half as Montenegro scored only their fourth field goal in the 34th minute to make it 14:6 to their opponents.
This lack of goals from Popovic and her teammates was highlighted on the scoreboard as France extended their lead to 10 goals in the 36th minute to make it 16:6.
Maybe this was the wake-up call the Adzic´s team needed as his side suddenly arose from their lethargy and scored four straight goals which forced French coach Olivier Krumbholz to take his time-out in the 41st minute.
Folllowing the pause in proceedings Montenegro defended with much more power and this, combined with an improved performance from their goalkeeper Mirjana Milenkovic and France suffering some bad luck with their shots their lead looked precarious as Montenegro reduced the gap to five goals at 20:15 in the 54th minute.
France had lost their rhythm completely in defence and attack as their rollercoaster ride at EHF EURO 2010 was threatening to go off the rails very quickly, but they were able to find the brakes as Mariama Signate scored to make it 20:13 with eight minutes remaining and the game was decided.
Find the statistics by clicking on the Schedule & Results tab.