A silver medal at the home EHF EURO in 2012 is the stand-out achievement in recent years for the Serbia team, currently in a rebuilding phase under the guidance of returning coach Jovica Cvetkovic.
Serbia have recorded mixed results through the last 10 years. After missing a place at the final tournament in Norway in 2008, they exited the EURO following the preliminary round in 2010, 2014 and 2016. Serbia did not qualify for the two most recent World Championships, in 2015 and 2017.
“Our main target is making a national team for the future,” says coach Cvetkovic. “This means a combination of current and younger players, who should be the future of Serbian handball.
“We are trying to achieve the best possible result at this first event. This will be an extremely difficult task, as the expected results are only possible if we succeed in changing the system of playing and adjusting to the newest tendencies in handball, including speed and aggression. All this must be incorporated in all parts of the game – in defence and attack, as well as in counter attacks.”
15 January: Right back Nikola Crnoglavac (5 internationals/6 goals) replaces Marko Vujin.
22 January: Left back Darko Stevanovic (5 internationals/5 goals) replaces Dobrivoje Markovic.
24 January: Left wing Vanja Ilic (4 internationals/4 goals) replaces Milan Jovanovic.
Remaining replacements Serbia: 2 (0 in main round)
Following the 1986 generation featuring Nenadic and Sesum, there was something of a gap in brilliant Serbian talents until 1994-born right wing Darko Djukic. Djukic came onto the stage and caught attention with his first professional club, RK Zeleznicar Nis.
From Nis, Djukic soared through the ranks within a period of two years, first joining Macedonian side Metalurg then Turkish club Besiktas. In 2016, he transferred to then VELUX EHF Champions League title holders Kielce, where he shares the right wing position with Slovenian talent Blaz Janc.
As a member of one of the strongest club teams in Europe, the 23-year-old left hander will certainly be one of the biggest aces for Serbia at the EURO 2018.
Captain Zarko Sesum has been the ’golden boy’ of Serbian handball over the last decade and is a very important part of the team, both on and off the court.
Sesum counts the most national team appearances in the Serbia roster, beginning with his debut at the World Championship 2009 in Croatia when Cvetkovic was coach. After finishing eighth at the World Championship 2009, Sesum aims to record a similar result with the same coach at the EURO 2018.
On a club level, Sesum currently plays for Frisch Auf Göppingen. Göppingen is his second German team following Rhein-Neckar Löwen, where he played from 2010 to 2014. Before that, he wore the Veszprém jersey for three seasons.
The coach: Jovica Cvetkovic
Head coach Jovica Cvetkovic came into his role in October 2016, in what was a difficult moment for the Serbia national team as they looked to rebuild for the future. Cvetkovic’s work reshaping the squad has delivered positive results, including three wins and two draws in the EHF EURO 2018 Qualification phase.
Cvetkovic is a former player, who was on court during the golden era of Yugoslavian handball and won the World Championship in 1986. After his successful playing career, he began coaching at a club level in 1990. He became Serbia coach in 2006 before leaving the position in 2009 and resuming it seven years later.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events