Croatia Set to Battle for World Handball Gold

By , 10 Jan 2017, 14:37 PM Sport
Croatia Set to Battle for World Handball Gold Source: Croatian Handball Federation

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After the last three large tournaments - World Championship in Qatar 2015, European Championship in Poland and Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 - Croatia won only one medal, a bronze from Poland. The national handball team faces a new challenge: World Championship set for 11 to 29 January in France

Interestingly, Croatian handballers were defeated in both Rio de Janeiro and Doha in quarterfinals by Poland. We played Poland at the last European championship, still remembering the "Krakow miracle," a 37-23 Croatian win in one of the most incredible matches in the history of Croatian sport. That win pushed the team into semi-finals and then a bronze medal, Jutarnji list reported on January 10, 2017.

Croatia has a total of five medals - one gold, three silvers and one bronze. The greatest success was made in 2003 in Portugal where they won the only world gold medal. At that tournament the team opened with a shocking defeat by Argentina, followed by eight wins for a great celebration.

Croatia made it three more times to finals (1995, 2005 and 2009), being defeated every time. In Iceland we lost to France, then years later in Tunisia to Spain and in 2009 in Zagreb to France again. The last medal in world championships for Croatian handballers came in 2013 in Spain where they were third. After losing to Denmark in the semi-finals, they defeated Slovenia.

There are 24 nations competing, 14 of them from Europe. Teams are divided into four groups of six teams. There is no second round of competition, with the four best teams in each group moving on to eighth-finals.

Croatia is in group C with Germany, Belarus, Hungary, Chile and Saudi Arabia. Potential opponents in eighth-finals are Qatar, Denmark, Sweden, Egypt, Bahrain and Argentina.

The championship will be played in eight towns (Paris, Lille, Montpellier, Albertville, Metz, Brest, Rouen), with 650.000 tickets on sale.

For the first time in the history of world championships a video system will be used, "Video Proof System," tested at the women's European championship in Sweden. The system will be used in only two cases: checking if the ball crossed the goal line and if a goal was scored before halftime or the game end.

The best candidates for medals are Olympic champions Denmark, European champions Germany and traditionally Spain and Croatia. Surprises may come from Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Hungary.

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  • Due to smoke reducing visibility on the A1 motorway 126th-128th km between Žuta Lokva and Otočac junctions the speed has to be reduced to 60 km/h. Weather conditions are mostly favourable. During the day difficulties can be expected in roadwork areas. Drivers are invited to keep distance and to adjust the speed to road conditions. The headlights have to be on during the day as well. One lane is free only/traffic is flowing in reduced lanes on the following motorways:-A2 Zagreb-Macelj between Zaprešić and Zabok junctions 20th-18th km in both directions; -A3 Bregana-Lipovac between Kutina and Novska junctions 106th-108th km, 118th-121st km in both directions; -A4 Zagreb-Goričan in Hrastovec tunnel in both directions; -A6 Rijeka-Zagreb at Svilno viaduct 78th-80th km between Orehovica and Čavle junctions in each direction till 1 June; -A8 in Istria on the section Lupoglav-Učka tunnel. Roadworks on the A4 Zagreb-Goričan motorway (Zagreb detour road): - till 9 June traffic is suspended in the entrance lane of Kraljevečki Novaki from direction Sesvete and Dugo Selo towards Ivanja Reka junction, there is a local detour; in the roadwork area traffic is flowing in reduced lanes; - till 26 April traffic is suspended in the exit lane of Popovec junction from direction Goričan towards Popovec, detour for direction Vrbovec-Popovec: Sveta Helena junction (A4)-Sveta Helena-DC3 Goričica-Belovar-Žerjavinec-Soblinec-Popovec junction, for direction Goričan (A4)-Sveta Helena: Komin junction (A4)-DC3-Sveti Ivan Zelina-Donja Zelina-Žerjavinec-Soblinec-Popovec. Lepenica rest area (at 57th km) on the A6 Rijeka-Zagreb motorway is closed till 15 June, the previous rest area and petrol station is the one Ravna Gora (at 30th km), the next one Cernik-Čavle (17,8 km away from Lepenica). Due to roadworks traffic is suspended: -on the DC1 state road in Lučko and Stupnik (Zagreb); -on the DC8 Adriatic road at Posedarje till 10 April; -on the DC6 state road, section Glina-Dvor border crossing, detour: Glina (DC37)-Petrinja-Hrvatska Kostajnica-Dvor; -on the DC25 Lički Osik-Karlobag state road (at 40th km) 8am-3pm till 24 March. Traffic is regulated by traffic signals/one road lane is free only:-on the DC1 state road at Tušilović and Mostanje; -on the DC1 Sinj-Klis Grlo state road at Dicmo; -on the DC8 Adriatic road at Poličnik, on the section Kaštel Stari-Kaštel Gomilica, at Podstrana, on the section Zaton Doli-Bistrina, at Srebreno; -on the DC66 Pula-Most Raša state road; -on the DC75 Poreč detour road, section Vrvari-Bijela; -on the DC62 Veliki Prolog-Metković state road at Most Metković. 15 November 2016-15 April 2017 winter equipment is mandatory on the winter sections of the state roads in Croatia (it includes four winter tyres or four summer tyres with chains ready for use).
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  • In both directions passenger traffic is dense at Slavonski Brod. In outbound freight traffic there are delays at Bajakovo - the queue is 3 km long. Due to roadworks at Županja and Slavonski Brod border crossings delays can be expected. At Harmica border crossing traffic is allowed for vehicles up to 7,5 tonnes only.
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