Friday, 3 July 2020

Luka Cindric Nominated for World's Best Handball Player

July 3, 2020 - Croatia national team player Luka Cindric has been included among the five candidates for the best handball player in the world in 2019, the International Handball Federation (IHF) announced. writes that among the candidates for this prestigious award are the Danes Mikkel Hansen (PSG), Rasmus Lauge Schmidt (Flensburg / Veszprem) and Niklas Landin Jacobsen (Kiel), and the Norwegian Sander Sagosen (PSG).

The IHF also announced five candidates for the best female handball players of the year, namely Dutch Estavana Polman (Team Esbjerg), Lois Abbingh (Rostov-Don) and Tess Wester (Odense), Russian Anna Vjakhireva (Rostov-Don) and Norwegian Stine Bredal Oftedal (Gyori Audi ETO KC).

"Cindric started 2019 with a sixth-place finish with Croatia at the 2019 IHF Men’s World Championship. The centre back went on to reach the Champions League finals, the VELUX EHF FINAL4, with his club PGE Vive Kielce, ultimately ranking fourth. He contributed 59 goals towards the club’s Champions League effort during the season and was also part of Kielce claiming their 16th Polish championship title. He was voted best centre back of the Polish championship 2018/19. 

Over the summer of 2019, Cindric transferred to Barcelona. With Barça, the Croatian playmaker celebrated titles immediately, including the 2019 IHF Super Globe trophy. Cindric was instrumental in Barça taking their record fifth Super Globe title, leading the Spanish side with 22 goals in the competition, including 11 in the final," the IHF explained.

Interestingly, Cindric won as many as six trophies in the first season with Barcelona, and he also hopes for the European Champions Cup. But there are more than five months left until the Champions League Final Four.

In addition to the Club World Cup, he also won the Spanish Championship, the Copa del Rey, the ASOBAL Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, and the Super Cup of Catalonia.

The fans will decide on the best handball players in 2019, and the voting lasts until July 18 on the IHF website.

Ivano Balic (2003, 2006) and Domagoj Duvnjak (2013) have already won the award for the best handball player in the world.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Croatia to Host 2025 Handball World Championships with Norway and Denmark!

February 28, 2020 - The International Handball Federation has announced that Croatia, Norway, and Denmark will host the 2025 Handball World Championships!

This exciting news was confirmed on Friday by the International Handball Federation (IHF), which has allocated hosts for all major championships over the next five years. reports that for the fourth time in history, Croatia will host one major handball competition. Namely, they will host the four groups of the first round, two groups of the second round, two quarterfinals and one semifinal. Everything else will be played in northern Europe with the Norwegian capital Oslo as the venue for the third-place game and final.

The need for so many cities (Copenhagen and Herning in Denmark, Trondheim, Stavanger, Drammen and Oslo in Norway) is because this will be the third World Championship in a row with 32 national teams.

This is the first time since 2009 that the World Championships will be played in Croatia. At that time, Lino Cervar's squad lost in the final to France, but the championship was marked by a great atmosphere in Croatian arenas.

Croatia has already organized Euro 2000 and 2018 as far as major competitions are concerned, but the Croatia handball team was not able to win a medal (fifth and sixth place).

In addition to the Senior World Cup, this year, Croatia will host the Women's Under-19 Handball World Championships and the 2023 Handball World Championships for the same year. 

The Croatia men's team played a fantastic European Championship earlier this year, where they finished second.

The next challenge for the Croatia handball team is the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, to be held in France from April 17 to 19 this year in the famous Bercy Hall. In order for Croatia to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, they will open against France, at 9 pm on April 17.  A day later, they will play against Portugal from 6:30 pm and then, on April 19, against Tunisia at 6:30 pm.

The games against France and Portugal are marked as crucial, in which the ‘Cowboys’ must record at least one victory.

The top two teams in each group will go to Tokyo.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Crazy Year for Cowboys Ahead: What Awaits Croatia Handball Team after Euros?

January 28, 2020 - The European Handball Championship may be over, but because it is an Olympic year, we won’t have to wait long to see the Croatia handball team in action again.

Namely, two tournaments of paramount importance have already been secured for the Croatia handball team over the next 365 days, and if all goes well, there will be a third. reports that the Cowboys will now return to their clubs after a few days of rest, then reunite in April ahead of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will take place from April 17 to 19 in Paris. The qualifiers will be attended by 12 teams divided into three groups of four, and the first two teams from each group will be issued a visa for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Croatia will play in perhaps the toughest group, along with France, Portugal, and Tunisia. 

Despite its failure at the Euros, France is still a handball force, Portugal was one of the most pleasant surprises at the recent European Championship, while Tunisia is the African finalist.

If all goes to plan, and Croatia finishes either first or second in their group, then in the middle of the summer, we will follow the Cowboys on their way to a new Olympic medal.

The Tokyo Olympics take place from July 24 to August 9, and the handball tournament will be in the same format: a total of 12 teams will be split into two groups of six each, with the first four from each group winning a spot in the quarterfinal.

Handball at the Tokyo Olympics begins on July 25, and all matches will be played every two days. The quarterfinals are in the program from Tuesday, August 4, the semifinal games on Thursday, August 6, and the bronze-medal match and final on Saturday, August 8.

When the Olympic Games come to an end, the players will return to their clubs to begin a new season  -  though it won't be long before another major challenge. The World Handball Championship will be held in Egypt from January 14 to January 31, 2021.

Since Croatia won second place in the 2020 European Championship, they will not have play qualifications for the World Championship next year.

Otherwise, the 2021 World Championship in Egypt will be the first in an expanded edition and will feature as many as 32 national teams. With the expansion, the International Handball Federation (IHF) wants to popularize handball in a number of countries, and as part of this initiative, teams such as Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uruguay will participate. 

It will be a busy year for the Croatia handball team; be sure to follow TCN for the latest.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Monday, 27 January 2020

VIDEO: 500 Fans Greet Croatia Handball Team at Zagreb Airport, Reception Planned at Ban Jelacic Square

January 27, 2020 - The Croatia handball team arrived in Zagreb early Monday morning as the European Championship silver medalists.

The Cowboys have landed!

24.Sata reports that around 1 am on Monday morning, the Croatia handball team returned to Croatia with a silver medal around their necks. The flight arrived later than scheduled, but the cheerful Croatian fans in attendance didn't seem to mind.

Namely, fans started gathering at the airport around 11:30 pm, and by the time the Cowboys landed, as many as 500 had arrived at the airport. The fact that Monday is a working day didn’t bother those up past their bedtime - and the team was truly elated to have such a warm welcome home.

“Phenomenal, I thank these wonderful people. It's 1 am and I thank you on behalf of the whole team. These images will remain with us for a lifetime,” said Euro MVP Domagoj Duvnjak upon leaving the plane, adding:

“We were very sad, we felt like we were close to gold. But when you come here and see so many people, you know you've done a great thing.”

The Croatian fans welcomed the handball players with song and dance. One group of young men even brought a loudspeaker to warm up the atmosphere with patriotic songs.

“It was difficult after the defeat, but when we see how many people came to greet us at 1 am, we thank them. The reception will not only be at Ban Jelacic Square, but there will be a lot of parties, and in my Mostar. There will be a lot of work tomorrow, but most importantly, we are proud, and especially for the fans we played for. What this team did at this championship… I tip my hat,” said the best midfielder Igor Karacic.

The Cowboys, accompanied by fans, boarded their bus, waved goodbye, and headed to the hotel. The European Championship silver medalists will stay in Zagreb where a big reception will be organized at Ban Jelacic Square on Monday at 12.30 pm.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Croatia Handball Takes Silver at European Championship in Stockholm

January 26, 2020 - The Croatia handball team met Spain for the European Championship final in Stockholm on Sunday.

After meeting in the second round on Wednesday for a tie game, Croatia met Spain again for their eighth major final ever and third European Championship final on Sunday. The team was after the gold, which is the only color missing from their collection of European medals so far.

Recall, Croatia has two Olympic gold medals and one gold medal from the World Championship in 2003, though only two silver medals and three bronze from the Euros. 

The game against Spain was their chance - and there were 10,000 Croatian fans in the stands to help them do it.

Croatia had the first attack of the game, which resulted in a foul on Karacic. Maric scored for the Croatia lead and 0:1 in the 1st minute. Spain missed on their first attack, and Duvnjak scored for 0:2. Stepancic made it 1:3 in the 4th minute. Spain equalized for 3:3 in the 6th minute. 

A foul on Maric resulted in a 7-meter shot, which Duvnjak scored for 3:4. In the 9th minute, Duvnjak scored another for 4:5.

Mandic put Croatia back in the lead for 5:6 in the 11th minute and Karacic scored for 6:7 in the 13th minute.

Duvnjak scored yet another 7-meter shot for 6:8. Karacic made it 7:9 in the 16th!

Maric gave Croatia the biggest lead yet -  7:10 in the 18th minute.

Spain equalized for 10:10 in the 24th minute - and Croatia hadn’t scored for six minutes. 

Sego made a stellar save in the 27th minute, which gave Croatia the attack and a 7-meter shot. Duvnjak missed, keeping the game 10:10.

Spain took the lead for the first time in the game in the 27th minute for 11:10.

Thirty seconds before the half, Mandic scored to equalize for 11:11, though Spain retook the lead for 12:11 at the half. 

Sego opened the second half with a brilliant save in Spain’s first attack. Stepancic equalized for 12:12 in the 32nd minute.

Spain retook the lead for 13:12 in the 33rd minute - and they were up 16:12 in the 35th minute.

Horvat scored a 7-meter shot for 16:13. 

Duvnak nailed the net for 16:14 in the 38th minute.

Spain had gone seven minutes without scoring a goal.

Horvat scored for 16:15 in the 44th minute.

Mamic made it 17:16 in the 45th minute, and Horvat scored for 18:17 in the 47th.

Duvnjak equalized for 18:18 in the 48th minute. 

Stepancic put Croatia back in the lead for 18:19 in the 53rd minute. 

The game was 20:20 with three minutes to go.

With 25 seconds to go, Spain scored for 22:20, which was the final score of the game.

Domagoj Duvnjak was named the player of the game.

Before the start of the final, the European Handball Federation and fans voted Domagoj Duvnjak as the Euro MVP, and Igor Karacic is on the ideal team of the competition.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Are Croatian Fans the Best in the World: Winners on the Court, Winners in the Stands

January 25, 2020 - The Croatia handball team will play its 100th game ever in the European Championship on Sunday in Stockholm, which also happens to be final. A look at the celebrations of Croatian fans who have carried the team this far. 

It’s fair to say that Croatian fans are emotionally exhausted after that semifinal match between Croatia and Norway on Friday night. And for the .01% of you who missed the thriller in Stockholm, Croatia defeated Norway in the final 8 seconds of the 2nd overtime to win 29:28 and secured a spot in the European Championship final on Sunday against Spain. 


Duvnjak was the player of the game, with eight goals scored for Croatia on Friday. 

"First of all, I would like to congratulate my teammates and the professional staff in an epic fight. I have never played a match like this in my life. We showed Croatian character, we continued to play when we lost our footing. I think we deserved to win," Duvnjak said, adding:

"There were cramps, but at that moment, you don't think about it. I don't remember half of what happened in the overtime. You only look at the traffic light and shut off. We lost to them in France and now we're back. I want to congratulate Zeljko, he has a good national team spirit, and that comes back to us,” Duvnjak said.

The “Zeljko” Duvnjak is talking about is Zeljko Musa, the other Croatian hero of the game who scored in the final seconds for the victory. 

“'We have to take responsibility, carry on to the end. We will sleep with a medal tomorrow, but we are not happy. We came to win every next game. And this next one is for gold. Domagoj is a national hero. The whole team needs to tip their hats. It was for Croatia, the fans, for all of us, it is certain that we will not stop there. This is one great success,” Musa said immediately after the game.

The Croatian fans in the stands have been particularly exceptional during this championship - and we’ve seen them go through every emotion thus far. Even tears during the nail biter on Friday. 

Screenshot 2020-01-25 at 08.55.55.png

They celebrated in the Arena after the game.

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Along the streets of Stockholm.

They celebrated in Belek, Turkey.

And back in Split.

The team deservedly celebrated in the dressing room after the game.

And on the bus ride home.

Today, we are especially proud to be Croatian. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Tops Norway in Thrilling Overtime for Spot in Final!

January 24, 2020 - The Croatia handball team met Norway in the semifinal of the European Championship in Stockholm on Friday. 

Lino Cervar’s side was after the gold on Friday night - the only color missing from their collection of medals thus far.

Before the semifinal, Croatia and Norway had played 15 matches. Croatia was better with nine wins, while they had drawn once, and Norway had won five. The last match between Croatia and Norway was played at the last European Championship, where the Cowboys celebrated 32:28.

Croatia scored the first goal of the game for 0:1. 

Norway took the lead in the 3rd minute for 2:1. 

Stepancic equalized for 2:2 in the 4th minute, and again for 3:3 in the 6th minute. 

Horvat made it 4:4 in the 8th minute. 

Mandic gave Croatia the lead for the second time in the game for 4:5 and it was 5:6 in the 11th minute.

Stepancic made it 5:7 for Croatia in the 12th minute - and Maric made it 6:8 in the 16th minute. Sego was brilliant in goal to keep Croatia in the lead.

Horvat put Croatia up +3 in the 19th minute for 6:9. 

Croatia was up 9:11 in the 25th minute. Norway reduced the score to 10:11 one minute before the half. Karacic scored for +2 at the half, which ended at 10:12. 

Karacic opened the second half with a goal and a +3 advantage for Croatia at 10:13, and scored again for 12:14 in the 34th minute. 

Mandic made 12:15 in the 35th minute. In the 39th minute, Norway equalized for 15:15.

Croatia was back in the lead for 15:16, though Norway was quick to equalize for 16:16. 

Matanovic made it 17:18 in the 44th minute, and a stellar save by Sego prevented Norway from coming back.

Duvnjak scored a 7-meter shot for 17:19 in the 45th minute, but it was 19:19 in the 48th minute.

Matanovic scored to put Croatia back in the lead for 19:20, and Horvat made it 20:21 in the 51st minute. Norway, however, was back in the lead for 22:21 with five minutes to go. 

Maric equalized with five to go for 22:22, and Duvnjak put Croatia back in the lead for 22:23 with three minutes to go. Asanin scored his second 7-meter shot to keep Croatia in the lead. A brilliant performance by the substitute goalie. 

At 23:23, the game went to extra time.

Croatia was the first to score for 23:24, though Norway quickly equalized for 24:24. Stepancic put Croatia back in the lead for 24:25, though Norway equalized immediately. 

Norway took the lead in the 67th minute for 26:25. Croatia was awarded a 7-meter shot in the 70th minute to stay in the game - Duvnjak scored for 26:26!

The game moved into 2nd overtime.

Sego made a save at the start to give Croatia the attack, though Stepancic was unlucky. Norway scored for 27:26.

Maric scored a brilliant goal around his back to equalize for 27:27. Horvat scored to give Croatia the lead for 27:28 and Sego made a crucial save for another Croatia attack!

Norway equalized - it was 28:28 at the half.

The final five minute half began with a Croatia attack, which Stepancic missed.

In the final 15 seconds, Musa saved the day to score for 28:29 - and secured Croatia's spot in the final!  

Domagoj Duvnjak was named the player of the game. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Big Day for Croatian Sport: Back-to-Back Euro Semifinals for Water Polo and Handball

January 23, 2020 - Friday is a great day for Croatian sport, as Croatia’s water polo and handball teams will play in the semifinals of the European Championships.

Namely, the Croatia water polo team will play the semifinal of the European Championship against Spain at 5:30 pm in Budapest, and half an hour later, the handball team will play against Norway in the semifinal of the European Championship in Stockholm. 

Originally, Croatia water polo was supposed to play at 7 pm, while handball was to play from 8:30 pm, but due to the demands of the hosts of both tournaments, it turned out that both matches will be played earlier.

For both teams, this will be the ninth semifinal in 14 appearances at the European Championship, while the Croatia water polo team has been more successful thus far.

The "Barracudas" made it to the final three times and won the European throne in 2010 in Croatia, while the "Cowboys" advanced from the semi-finals twice, but lost in the finals both times, in 2008 and 2010. In the first final in 2008, Croatia lost to Denmark (20-24), and two years later, Croatia lost to France (21-25).

The Croatia water polo team has won a total of 14 medals at the Olympics, World and European Championships, with gold medals in all three major competitions. Recall, they won the Olympic gold in 2012 in London, have two gold medals from the World Championships in 2017 (Budapest) and 2007 (Melbourne), and one gold medal from the European Championship 10 years ago.

The Croatia handball team has 13 Olympic, World, and European Championship medals, with two Olympic (2004, 1996) and world gold medals (2003), and two silver and three bronze medals at the Euros. 

Croatia water polo results in Euro semifinals:

1995 (Vienna): Croatia - Hungary 8-11 (4th place)

1997 (Seville): Croatia - Yugoslavia 7-8 (4th place)

1999 (Florence): Croatia - Greece 10-7 (2nd place)

2001 (Budapest): Croatia - Yugoslavia 6-8 (4th place)

2003 (Kranj): Croatia - Hungary 10-9 (2nd place)

2008 (Malaga): Croatia - Montenegro 7-9 (4th place)

2010 (Zagreb): Croatia - Serbia 10-9 (1st place)

2018 (Barcelona): Croatia - Serbia 7-9 (3rd place)

2020 (Budapest): Croatia - Spain (?)

Croatia handball results in Euro semifinals:

1994 (Porto): Croatia - Sweden 21-24 (3rd place)

2004 (Ljubljana): Croatia - 25-27 (4th place)

2006 (Zurich): Croatia - France 23-29 (4th place)

2008 (Lillehammer): Croatia - France 24-23 (2nd place)

2010 (Vienna): Croatia - Poland 24-21 (2nd place)

2012 (Belgrade): Croatia - Serbia 22-26 (3rd place)

2014 (Copenhagen): Croatia - Denmark 27-29 (4th place)

2016 (Krakow): Croatia - Spain 29-33 (3rd place)

2020 (Stockholm): Croatia - Norway (?)

Source: HRT

Tp read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Team 2nd in Group after Draw with Spain

January 22, 2020 - The Croatia handball team met Spain for their final game of the second round in the European Championships in Vienna. The meeting was crucial to determine first place in the group, and thus Croatia’s semifinal opponent. 

Croatia could not count on Luka Cindric for this game, who has been one of their best players of the tournament thus far.

Spain had the first attack of the game, which they scored for 0:1 in the 38th second. Croatia was unsuccessful in its first attack. 

Stepancic, however, equalized in the 2nd minute for 1:1. Karacic made it 2:2 in the 3rd minute, scored again for 3:3 in the 5th minute, and made it 4:4 in the 6th. 

Karacic continued with his brilliance to make it 5:5 in the 9th minute. Croatia and Spain were going-for-goal. 

Croatia took the lead for the first time in the game thanks to a Mamic goal in the 12th minute for 6:5.

Stepancic made it 7:6 in the 17th minute, and Sipic scored to increase Croatia’s lead to 8:6 in the 19th minute. Sego was brilliant in goal.

At this point in the game, there hadn’t been a goal for over three minutes.

Karacic scored his fifth goal of the game for 9:7 in the 23rd minute. 

Horvat scored a 7-meter shot for 10:8 in the 24th minute.

Spain equalized in the 25th minute for 10:10.

Croatia retook the lead in the 26th minute for 11:10 thanks to Karacic once again, though it was Spain to regain their lead one minute before the half for 11:12. 

Spain increased its lead at the start of the second half for 11:13, and they were up by three goals in the 33rd minute (11:14). It was 11:15 for Spain in the 35th.

Karacic scored his seventh goal of the game to make it 12:15 - but in the 37th minute, it was 12:17... and in the 39th, 12:18.

Duvnjak scored a 7-meter shot for 13:18 and Brozovic scored in the 41st for 14:19.

Karacic reduced Croatia's deficit back to -5 for 15:20 in the 46th minute. Sipic made it 16:20 in the 47th minute, and 17:21 in the 48th.

Karacic scored for -3 and 18:21 in the 50th minute, and scored his 10th goal of the game in the 52nd for 19:21!

Croatia was well on its way to a comeback and Horvat scored for 20:21 in the 53rd minute.  

Mamic scored the equalizer for 21:21 with five minutes to go!

Duvnjak scored a rocket in the 58th minute to give Croatia the lead (22:21).

Spain was given a 7-meter shot in the 58th minute, though Asanin was unable to make the save. Spain equalized for 22:22, which was the final score of the game.

Igor Karacic was named the man of the match.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Team Tops Czech Republic 22:21

January 20, 2020 - The Croatia handball team met the Czech Republic for the third game of the second round of the European Championship.

Croatia secured the semifinal of the Euros on Saturday after a thriller against Germany, though every game was still crucial to determine their place in the group.

Luka Cindric, Croatia’s best player in this championship, did not play against the Czech Republic due to a wrist injury. It is not yet known if he will play against Spain, but should be ready for the semifinal match. 

Kasparek scored the first goal of the match in the 2nd minute, though Matej Hrstic returned on the other side for 1:1. 

Marko Mamic scores a great goal for 2:1.

In the 6th minute, Sarac scored to put Croatia in the lead, though the Czech Republic came back to equalize.

Mamic scored his second goal of the game in the 8th minute. 

Asanin made his first save of the game in the 9th minute, and Croatia went up by two goals for 5:3.

The Czech Republic scored a quick two goals in the 11th minute to equalize.

The Czech Republic retook the lead in the 14th minute, though Horak came back to equalize. 

In the 17th minute, Mandic used a counter-attack to equalize. Neither team had a significant advantage yet. 

In the 19th minute, Hrstic found Maric, who scored Croatia’s 8th goal of the game. 

In the 20th minute, Sarac put Croatia back in the lead, and in the 23rd minute, Croatia was up by two goals. 

Mamić scored his third goal of the match and Croatia went into halftime up 11:9. 

Croatia opened the second half with a goal by Mandic for 12:9 in the 32nd minute. 

Brozovic scored for 13:9 in the 36th minute. 

The Czech Republic reduced the score to 13:12 in the 40th minute, though Mamic made it 14:12 seconds later.

Maric scored for 15:13 in the 42nd minute, and Stepancic scored his first goal of the game in the 44th minute for 16:14.

Duvnjak scored a 7-meter shot for 17:16 in the 46th minute. 

Matanovic scored for 18:17 in the 49th minute, and Mamic scored his fifth goal of the game in the 50th minute for 19:17. 

Matanovic scored his second goal of the game for 20:18 with eight minutes to go. 

Stepancic scored his second goal of the game for 21:19 in the 55th minute. 

With seconds to go in the game, Stepancic scored the winning goal of the game. Croatia won 22:21!

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

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