Croatia Handball Euro 2022 Prep: Friendly Loss to Slovenia a Wake-Up Call

By 30 December 2021
Croatia Handball Euro 2022 Prep: Friendly Loss to Slovenia a Wake-Up Call

December 30, 2021 - The Croatia handball Euro 2022 prep continued with a friendly match against Slovenia on Wednesday night in Celje.

On Wednesday, the Croatia men's senior national team suffered a heavy defeat in a friendly match against Slovenia in Celje (33:26). It was the first meeting after three hard training days in the second phase of preparations in Poreč. Nevertheless, Slovenia sent a serious warning to Croatia. The team will have two days off before final preparations in Osijek.

Both national teams were incomplete and missing players from the Bundesliga. In addition, Zvonimir Srna left Zagreb earlier in the day due to an illness (not coronavirus). In any case, Slovenia showed more and deservedly celebrated the win as payback for the defeat they suffered against Croatia in Novigrad / Cittanova in early November.

Neither team was ready for solid, aggressive defense from the very beginning. Luka Cindrić put Croatia ahead for the first eight minutes. Slovenia then took the lead and lost their advantage only once.

Like the first meeting recently in Istria, Slovenia entered Croatia's 6-7 meters when they wanted and scored. In the 12th minute, Slovenia was up by 2 for the first time (8:6). However, Croatia did not give up and was always 1-2 goals behind. Croatia made eight technical errors in the first half and constantly offered Slovenia a new opportunity to stay ahead. 

Croatia failed to equalize in the last minute of the first half, and Jože Baznik brought Slovenia to +2 at halftime (17:15). Croatia conceded 17 goals again in one half, which speaks volumes about the defense.

Slovenia easily went ahead by 5 points at the beginning of the second half. However, Croatia caught up after about ten minutes.

In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Croatia scored only 4 goals. Slovenia was more aggressive, concentrated, and took advantage of Croatia's mistakes. In the last five minutes, Slovenia was up by 7 for 30:23 and managed to maintain that lead almost without much effort until the end.

Slovenia's top scorers were Blaž Janc and Gašper Marguč, with seven goals each. Croatia's top scorers were Luka Cindrić and Luka Šebetić, with five goals each.

Croatia had only 48 percent of the attacks (Slovenia 56 percent). Slovenia scored 7/7 counters (Croatia 4/4). Croatia had 13 technical errors / lost balls to Slovenia's 12. Slovenia played 6 minutes with a player less, and Croatia 14. 


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