Croatia Vs. Norway In The Battle For The Finals Tonight

By 27 January 2017

French team secured the place in the finals, beating Slovenia last night, and their opponent will be the winner of the tonight’s Croatia - Norway match

After the fantastic victory in the quarter-final against Spain, the “Cowboys” are facing Norway on January 27. 2017, in the battle for the finals of the World Handball Championship.

Croatian team is facing significant injury problems, mainly in the right back position. It is more than in question, whether Luka Šebetić will play anymore at the tournament after his severe Achilles tendon injury in the quarters. Luka Stepančić is in doubt also. Croatian coach Željko Babić told the press: “I truly cannot say, which players will be able to play on Friday.”

Croatia arrives at Paris with a balance of six victories from seven matches, only defeated by Germany – and winning both knock-out matches against Egypt and Spain with only a one-goal difference each.

Croatia played Norway twice in the last year, and both were significant wins. Željko Babić took his first ever medal as a coach – after beating Friday’s opponent in the bronze medal match of the 2016 EURO in Poland in January. And only two months later, Croatians eliminated Norway in the qualification tournament for the Rio Olympic Games.

The Croatian players have big respect for the Scandinavians: “They play so fast, so we must also try to beat them with their weapons, like using counter attacks,” said counter attack specialist Manuel Štrlek. “But we are full of confidence now. We have proved our abilities; we can make it to the final. It is a 50/50 encounter with Norway,” added the winger.

Defense specialists Jakov Gojun shares this optimism: “Norway fly over the court, this is even more than just running what they do. But it is one game. 60 minutes separate us from the final. We will fight, fight and fight. Everything is possible.”

Four years ago, the Croatians were eliminated by Denmark in the semi-final. Eight years ago, on home ground, they made it to the final after beating Poland – and later one faced France in the final, which they lost. This could be the pairing for Sunday too. Only three players in the current Croatian line-up had been part of this 2009 final: Team captain Domagoj Duvnjak, wing Zlatko Horvat and Jakov Gojun, plus today’s assistant coach Petar Metličić.

On a personal note, we are glad to inform you that TCN’s reporter will be reporting for you straight from Paris, that is if the Croatia Airlines gets him there on time.