Thursday, 29 April 2021

EHF EURO Cup: Croatia Handball Winning Streak Continues with Win against Slovakia

April 29, 2021 - The Croatia handball winning streak continued on Wednesday night after defeating Slovakia in Varaždin.

After Hungary and Spain, the Croatia men's senior national team also beat Slovakia in the EHF EURO Cup (32:24) and continued their winning streak. In three competition games, Croatia has recorded three victories. There will be a rematch in Varaždin tonight. 

SLOVAKIA: T. Paul 4/12, M. Žernovič 7/31, P. Hruščak - / -, T. Rečičar - / -, M. Briatka 1/2, J. Prokop 3/6, T. Urban 6/7, L. Duriš 2/4, L. Pechy 1/4, M. Kovačech 1/3, T. Bornar 1/1, L. Urban 2/2, D. Calafut 4/6, M. Slaninka 2/2, M. Jakub 1/4 Coach: Peter Kukučka

CROATIA: I. Pešić 8/38, M. Mandić 2/8, L. Mihić 5/5, A, Gadža 4/4, V. Načinović - / -, T. Kušan 2/2, I. Čupić 2/4, L. Šebetić 4/5, V. Matanović 1/2, D. Mandić 5/6, N. Grahovac 1/1, T. Lučin 2/6, M. Maraš 4/6, L. Šušnja 1/2, F. Grubisic 1/2, D. Pavlović 1/2 Coach: Hrvoje Horvat

Of the 18 players available, coach Hrvoje Horvat decided to send Karel Godec and Fran Mile to the stands. The new extremely young Croatia, with as many as seven debutants, and without a whole series of their stars, started the match with Pešić in goal, D. Mandić on the left, I. Čupić as the captain on the right, L. Šušnja as the pivot, and Domagoj Pavlović, Tin Lučin and Luka Šebetić on the outside positions.

Both teams started with a 6:0 defense. Croatia's defense reacted brilliantly in the opening. They stole three balls from Slovakia and, in less than five minutes, went to 5:1. Ivan Pešić had several saves, and in the 13th minute, it was 7:3.

Slovakia was saved from a complete flood of goals in that period thanks to the excellent Marian Žernovič, who collected six saves in the 15th minute. Slovakia also changed the defense and reached a 7:7 draw. 

Horvat rotated a lot in the first half. Given the huge number of players who found themselves on the court together for the first time, the game was not as fluid and beautiful as expected. However, Croatia did not allow Slovakia to take the lead for a single moment. In fact, at the end of the first half, Croatia scored a 6:0 series and left Slovakia without a goal for eight minutes. Croatia calmly went to the break with a six-goal difference (16:10).

It took Croatia a full three minutes to score the first goal in the second half. Admittedly, even more for Slovakia. Croatia's net finally shook for the 11th time after four and a half minutes of play. Croatia's defense was very mobile and aggressive, and Slovakia called a timeout after only seven minutes of play because Croatia was already nine goals ahead (20:11). Croatia's biggest advantage was +11. Debut goals were scored by Kušan, Maraš, Grubišić, Lučin. 

Croatia's best scorers were David Mandić and Lovro Mihić, with five goals each. Tomas Urban was best for Slovakia with six goals.


Source: HRS

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Monday, 26 April 2021

EHF EURO Cup: Croatia Handball and Ivano Balić Together Again!

April 26, 2021 - Croatia handball and Ivano Balić are together again as the new assistant coach will guide the national team to new victories this week at the EHF EURO Cup. 

The Croatia handball team gathered this morning in Zagreb ahead of the EHF EURO Cup matches against Slovakia and Hungary.

On April 28 (Wednesday) and April 29 (Thursday) in Varaždin, the national team will play two matches against Slovakia and then travel to play Hungary in Veszprem.

There are many new names on coach Hrvoje Horvat's list, and the most resounding is the reinforcement in his coaching staff. Ivano Balić is back, who will be the right hand of the new coach. The new goalkeeper coach is Ninoslav Pavletić.

The national team has had a turbulent year: for the first time in 21 years, they failed to qualify for the Olympics, and in January, they experienced a debacle at the World Cup in Egypt.

Croatia has won the two matches they've played in the EURO Cup so far. In Osijek, Croatia celebrated against Hungary 31:27, and then in January, just before the World Cup, they defeated Spain 31:28.

Captain Domagoj Duvnjak, Željko Musa and Igor Karačić have been spared.

"This is a new role. The coach and I speak the same language. There are a lot of young players; we will need more time and more work. I think everything will come on its own. I came back because handball is my life. The goal is to improve the overall game. Croatia has potential, and we can do it. I have always helped young people throughout my career, and it is a challenge for me; it fulfills me, and I think I can help. I have no ambitions to be a coach; I am here to help Horvat. The goal is for the national team to progress, day by day," said Ivano Balić. 

"So far, I've watched the games as a fan. We were better in France than in Egypt, but I wouldn't go back in time. We need to look to the future."

"Due to the situation with COVID-19, Martinović, Cindrić, Mamić, and Ivanković dropped out of the list. We stopped there. Our first goal is to select players who can play in both directions to reduce the substitutions. That has been a problem for us so far. We have a lot of new faces, especially in the pivot position. Every coach has time, and then when he loses the national team, he has very little time. We must not wander; we must not waste time on it. We have to work patiently and find players who will follow my and Balić's vision for Euro 2022 in Slovakia and Hungary. I also worked with Ivan when he was an assistant to Željko Babić, and I led the young national team. We clicked. The coaching staff must blow in the same sail."

Player list:




Coaching staff: 


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Saturday, 17 April 2021

Croatia Women's Handball Win HEP Croatia Cup in Poreč!

April 17, 2021 - The Croatia women's handball team is the winner of the HEP Croatia Cup in Poreč!

After defeating the current world champions, the Netherlands, the Croatia women's senior national team also defeated the former world champions Brazil and became the winner of the HEP Croatia Cup. In a tough match with a lot of equal play, Croatia did better at the end of the second half and celebrated 24:21.

Croatia only made one change compared to the match against the Netherlands, and instead of Nataša Miočinović, the young Ema Guskić entered the game. Marijeta Vidak remained in the stands as in the first match. On the other hand, Brazil included Gabriela Moreschi in the team instead of their official first goalkeeper Barbara Arenhat. Croatia opened the match with Tea Pijević, Andrea Šimar, Nikolina Zadravec, Ana Debelić, Dora Krsnik, Valentina Blažević, and Ćamila Mičijević.

Croatia took the lead first, then Brazil went to +1. After 10 minutes, it was 3:3, and in the final five minutes, it was 8:10 for Brazil with goals by Anastacio and Amorim.

Milosavljević helped return Croatia's lead from the seven-meter throw. The battle continued in the second half. Brazil was powerful and physical, but Croatia matched them well. The defense worked, Pijević was solid in goal, and in the 49th minute, Mičijević scored for 18:16, Croatia's first +2 lead.

Milosavljević's made it +3. Croatia kept that advantage until a minute and a half before the end when Mičijević was excluded. Brazil scored from the penalty spot. Croatia lost the ball in the attack, but Vieira missed, and Krsnik solved all doubts in the last seconds with a goal for the final 24:21.

The most efficient players for Croatia were Dejana Milosavljević with seven goals and Ćamila Mičijević with six goals. Tea Pijević recorded 10 saves. Bruno de Paula was the best for Brazil with five goals.

Croatia: Bešen (0+1), Pijević (10); Zadravec 1, Plahinek, Krsnik 1, S. Posavec 1, Mičijević 6, Milosavljević 7 (4), D. Kalaus, Ježić 2, Japundža, Franušić, Šimara 2, Debelić 3, Guskić, Blažević 1. TRENERICA: Snježana Petika.

Brazil: Moreschi (5), Arruda (5); De Paula 5, Arujo 1, Amorim 3, Barbosa, Araujo 2, Cardoso 5(3), Vieira 2, Guarieiro, Bitolo, Anastacio 2, Matieli, Da Rocha, Costa 1, Ventura. IZBORNIK: Jorge Duenas.

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Wednesday, 14 April 2021

HEP Croatia Cup: Croatia Women's Handball Tops World Champion Netherlands, Again!

April 15, 2021 - At the opening of the HEP Croatia Cup in Poreč, the Croatia women's handball team defeated the Netherlands 24:23, showing that their magic from the European Championships in Denmark is still there.

They delighted us at the European Championships in Denmark, told the most beautiful story, and won the bronze medal, proving that there is hope in Croatia women's handball as well. The 'Queens of Shock' again surprised the current world champion, the Netherlands, to open the never stronger HEP Croatia Cup in Poreč.

In the first match after the Euros, Croatia again met the Netherlands, a team they beat 27:25 in the preliminary group in Denmark. Both national teams came with different lineups, and the Netherlands were without a couple of players due to COVID-19. Croatia was led for the first time by coach Snježana Petika, the first assistant coach to Nenad Šoštarić, who is in quarantine.

Croatia opened the match with Pijević, Šimar, Zadravec, Debelić, Mićijević, Blažević and Krsnik. 

Croatia took the 5:3 lead, followed by a 5:0 series by the Netherlands. Petika called a time-out at 5:8, and Croatia's turnaround followed. The defense was strengthened, the goals and counters were no longer missed. Wester defended well, but Pijević was even better. Dora Kalaus played an important role, and Croatia was up 13:10.

It was 20:15 for Croatia in the 46th minute, and just when everything seemed to be settled, the world champions did not give up so easily. In a dramatic ending, the Netherlands returned at 24:23 in the last minute, Rompen then defended the 7-meter throw of Blažević, but Croatia managed to defend, and in the end, celebrated the deserved victory.

Camila Mičijević was again Croatia's top scorer with seven goals. In addition to goalkeeper Pijević, Krsnik should also be praised, who scored five goals, while Zadravec, D. Kalaus, Ježić, Šimara, Debelić, and Blažević added two goals each.

Brazil and the Netherlands will play in Poreč from 6 pm on Thursday (Planet Sport), while Croatia and Brazil will close the HEP Croatia cup on Friday (8 pm, RTL2).

Source: Jutarnji, HRS

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Friday, 9 April 2021

Ivano Balić Officially Named Men's Croatia Handball Assistant Coach!

April 9, 2021 - Legendary former Croatia handball player Ivano Balić is Hrvoje Horvat's new assistant coach of the men's national team!

The decision on his inclusion in the Croatia national handball team staff was made on Thursday during the regular session of the Croatian Handball Federation Management Board.

Balić was added to the staff at the suggestion of the current coach, and at the same time, Nino Pavelić, who worked at RK Nexe for years, was appointed goalkeeper coach.

The session confirmed that the competition in the Premier League Package 24, 1st HRL for women, two first men's leagues, and three second women's leagues was put on hold until mid-May, and almost four months after winning the European bronze, the handball players achievement was honored with 150,000 euro! 

Tomislav Grahovac, President of the Croatian Handball Federation:
"We made a decision to award our girls for winning the bronze medal at the European Championships. It is an amount of 150 thousand euro, which is the gross amount. Another important decision is that we have completed the staffs for all age groups of men's handball. What is certainly important to us in the future is that Ivano Balić has been appointed as an assistant to the coach Hrvoje Horvat. The third decision that was made is to put on hold the leagues that are currently being played: Package 24 Premier League, 1st HRL - Women, two men's first leagues and three women's second leagues, until all players, staff members, referees' organizations, and club members, i.e., those who are participants in constant physical contact with players, are vaccinated. The plan is to stop the competition until May 19, and all matches will be played by the end of June."

Source: HRS

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Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Ivano Balić Likely Returning to Croatia Handball Bench

March 23, 2021 - Celebrated former Croatia national handball team player Ivano Balić should soon join the national team staff to assist coach Hrvoje Horvat in the coming period.

24 Sata reports that Balić should act as Horvat's first assistant, and Igor Vori, who has played a double role so far, should remain only the national team's sports director in the future.

While the news about Ivano Balić's engagement is still unofficial, sources close to the Croatian Handball Federation have revealed that Balić agreed to accept the offered position of an assistant coach. The formality of the appointment and official announcement will be at the HRS Board meeting and then at the Assembly, in the second week of April, immediately after the Easter holidays.

The first next action of the Croatia national handball team is the EHF EURO Cup, a competition in which the teams that directly qualified for the European Championship in 2022 will compete: Spain and Croatia as finalists of the last European Championship and Slovakia and Hungary, which as hosts do not have to play qualifiers. The EHF has organized a special competition for these four national teams, which continues on April 26.

As it is usual to send invitations to players two weeks in advance, it is expected that the association will complete the procedure of appointing Ivano Balić as soon as possible. Given the current epidemiological situation, it is not yet known where all the matches will be played, but Croatia should play in Varaždin. The possibility remains to play two matches with the same opponent on the same court if it is easier to organize it due to other countries' epidemiological situation.

At the end of January, Lino Červar proposed Ivano Balić as a candidate for the new coach after Červar resigned from the post but retained the coordinator position for men's handball. The unnatural and illogical position in which the former coach proposes his successor should also be discussed in the Board and the Assembly.

After the debacle at the World Champs in Egypt, Lino Červar was succeeded by Hrvoje Horvat, who had the advantage over the other two candidates: Slavko Goluža and Ivano Balić. At that time, the board of directors did not even consider Balić as a candidate, with the explanation that he did not have the necessary license.

"After an exhaustive discussion and detailed analysis of each of the offered candidates, it was determined that Ivano Balić, unfortunately, does not have the required credentials to perform the function of the coach. Of the two remaining candidates, the Board of Directors member, who is busy with work obligations, decided to maintain continuity in the work of the national team and decided to appoint Hrvoje Horvat as the coach of the Croatia men's senior national team," HRS announced at the time.

In the meantime, the handball team was left without the Olympic Games at the qualifying tournament in Montpellier, France. Still, the HRS leadership stood behind the Croatia coach and entrusted him with leading the team in the coming period. Ivano Balić's engagement should give him additional strength and authority in his attempt to return Croatia to the top of European and world handball.

Until now, Ivano Balić has worked as a coach of the junior national team. He has a coaching license but not a "master coach," which is necessary for the coaches who lead the national teams in the biggest competitions. However, Balić regularly attends lectures and should get a license this year so that he could sit on the bench as the national team coach in the future.

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Sunday, 21 March 2021

National Team Coach Hrvoje Horvat Reveals Croatia Handball Future

March 21, 2021 - National team coach Hrvoje Horvat reveals the future of Croatia handball. 

In its 26 years on the world stage, Croatia handball has participated in 35 of 37 major competitions and won 14 medals. The Olympic handball tournament in Tokyo is the second big competition without Croatia, 21 years after Croatia failed to qualify for Sydney. 

Hrvoje Horvat took over the team after Lino Červar resigned after the World Championship in Egypt. A month and a half later, with only three days of preparation, Croatia failed to turn the story around and missed out on the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

Hrvoje Horvat is only now starting his representative career, and only now will he show why he was elected to the top position.

In an interview with Jutarnji List, national team coach Hrvoje Horvat looks into Croatia's future. 

Have you gotten over Montpellier?
"We hurt. Of course, we wanted better, and it is not pleasant, especially not in this way where you have achieved part of the goal and plan. I’m talking about the game against France, something we could have influenced where we didn’t last. It will haunt us all for a while longer. The wounds are deep, the older guys to whom it was supposed to be the crown of their careers found it hard to accept and survive, but we have to move on. It's a sport. Sport does not allow for long celebrations after victories, nor long mourning after defeats."

Was three days too little time to change anything from Egypt?
"We knew we didn't have time to do big things. We tried to speed up the game as much as possible to score an easier goal, and I would say that we succeeded, but with two rotations, which are our biggest problem, we did not succeed much. The game fell hard on us because of that, and it is a matter that we have to solve urgently in the future. We will do that with a new selection of players."

What is your vision for a new Croatia?
"You should be very careful here because the best should play in the national team. We again have to look long-term and forward. The primary selection has to change; we have to speed up the game. 60 minutes to attack the full zone, where you spend a lot of energy. Without transition, it’s hard to endure an entire game. I want us to be variable in defense, like in the game against France from 5-1 to 6-0. While we had the strength, there were also results. Goalkeepers definitely need to support us more. That is the second biggest problem we have at the moment.

A shot from outside is a cancer of our wounds, and these are the most respected players in handball. Our priority in that sense must be the younger categories; we have to hone our talents and build players. This may not be a key segment of our game in the future, but it is a segment without which high-level handball cannot be played. The crucial problem is the change of defense - attack. My philosophy is that with the defense we try to close the central part of the zone; we have to work the density to avoid being attacked from the middle where the goal is the biggest and widest. We have to ask our goalkeepers to defend us well from wide positions. We have to do that by working with smaller categories all the way to seniors. I see the future. OK, we have potential, but the situation needs to be resolved quickly."

Does Croatia have the potential to do that?

"The luxury of big clubs are rotations; the players are used to that. Before, the coach had a problem getting the player out because he was angry, and now the players are asking you to put them on the bench to take a break. We have to adapt to that because the preparations are very short. There will therefore be situations where we will have to compromise, but with one good selection, we can significantly reduce that risk."

Is Croatia's defense the problem?

"In my opinion, the defense was very good, but when the opponent's goalkeeper has 14 saves, and ours 5, it significantly changes things. If it was the other way around, we would talk differently. Secondly, I said a bigger problem than the defense was because we changed two players who significantly slowed down our game. We won't do that anymore."

How do we resolve the goalkeeper issue?

"We need to draw the line and start solving problems. We will have to be fast first hand, but we also have to count in the long run. In general, already at the next gathering, we will have a picture of how I imagine it from the wings, goalkeepers, attacks because we do not have much time, the Euro is in just six months, and there we want to be good and competitive in a different way."

Horvat believes there will be a lot of changes.  

"All the guys understand the situation. We may have had drama in history, but healthy and open communication solves everything. I don't mean to brandish a sword. A player plays in the national team because he deserves to play in the club and fulfills what we want.

In the first selection, we will introduce two or three new names by positions. And that will be it; we don’t have time to change constantly. We have to go to the European Championships with a vision of what we can build by 2025 and the World Championship we are hosting. We should know that the World Championship is important to us two years before qualifying for the Paris Olympics in 2024. The backbone must be known already at the Euros. Here, one should consider the problems with form, injuries; this cannot be avoided. But the backbone will be known.

I'm looking forward to the challenge; I'm ready for it. I think I did a good job in Dubrava, Našice, so I will do it on the national team."

You can read the full interview on Jutarnji List.

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Monday, 15 March 2021

No Olympic Games for Croatia Handball for First Time in 21 Years

March 15, 2021 - There will be no Olympic Games for Croatia handball in Tokyo this summer for the first time since 2000. With Portugal's win against France on Sunday, Croatia failed to qualify for the Games. 

Croatia was left without the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo after the qualifying tournament in Montpellier came to an end. This means that Croatia will not participate in the Olympic Games for the first time in the last 21 years. This last happened to Croatia in 2000 when they missed the Sydney Games.

Croatia, unfortunately, did not only rely on themselves to qualify for the Games. Even after beating Tunisia on Sunday, they had to wait for the result between France and Portugal.

The one scenario that would keep Croatia out of the Games unraveled and Portugal celebrated in a dramatic match against France with a score of 29:28. With this victory, France and Portugal qualify for the Olympic Games. 

Croatia would have secured a spot in Tokyo with France's victory against Portugal and a draw. If France lost by up to seven points, Portugal and Croatia would have gone to the Games.

France will advance from qualifying group 2, Norway and Brazil from group 1, and Sweden and Germany from group 3.

Japan as the host, Denmark as the 2019 world champion, Spain as the current European champion, Egypt as the African champions, Argentina as the Pan-American champions, and Bahrain as the winner of the Asian qualifiers have already secured their place in Tokyo this summer. 

The handball tournament groups at the Olympic Games in Tokyo are also known.

The four best national teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games.

Olympic Groups
Group 1: Denmark, Spain, Argentina, France, Sweden, Brazil

Group 2: Egypt, Bahrain, Japan, Portugal, Germany, Norway


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Sunday, 14 March 2021

Olympic Handball Qualifiers: Croatia Tops Tunisia 30:27 in Last Match

March 14, 2021 - Croatia tops Tunisia in their final Olympic qualifying match in Montpellier, France on Sunday, though they will not participate in the Olympics this summer as Portugal ultimately beat France. 

Croatia and Tunisia met in Montpellier for the final game of the Olympic qualifiers on Sunday evening. 

After a thrilling match and an incredible victory against Portugal, Hrvoje Horvat's Croatia played against an opponent who had very little chance of qualifying for Tokyo. Recall, France beat Tunisia 40:29 and Portugal 34:27. While a victory was necessary for Croatia to go to Tokyo, they do not depend only on themselves. In order to qualify for the Olympic Games, Croatia must beat Tunisia, and then wait for the outcome of the match between France and Portugal. 

Croatia qualifies for Tokyo with France's victory against Portugal (then Portugal is eliminated). If Portugal wins, Croatia is out. 

Croatia v. Tunisia Recap

Horvat scored for 1:0 in the 3rd minute to open the scoring for Croatia, and Musa scored for 2:0 seconds later. 

By the 4th minute, Sego had 3 saves on three attacking plays. 

Horvat scored from 7 meters for 3:1 in the 5th minute. Horvat scored again for 4:1 in the 8th minute. 

Tunisia took the lead in the 12th minute for 4:5 and scored again for 4:6 in the 13th minute. 

Pavlovic scored for 5:6 in the 14th minute. Cindric equalized for 6:6 in the 15th.

Horvat scored for 7:7 in the 16th. Tunisia led by 2 goals in the 19th - 7:9. 

Horvat scored from 7 meters for 9:9 in the 21st minute.  

Pesic saved Tunisia's 7-meter throw to keep the score even. 

Mandic put Croatia back in the lead moments later for 10:9 in the 22nd. Maric scored for 11:9 two minutes later. 

Mandic made it +3 with five minutes to go in the first half. Tunisia equalized at 12:12 with a minute to go in the first half. Maric scored for 13:12 with 20 seconds to go, and again for 14:13 to end the first half.

Horvat scored his 6th goal of the match for 15:13 to open the second half. Mandic made it +3 for 16:13 one minute later and 17:13, Croatia's biggest lead of the match, in the 33rd. 

Horvat scored for 18:14 in the 35th and Mandic for 19:14 a minute later. 

Duvnjak scored for 20:14 in the 37th for +6! Cindric made it 21:15 in the 39th and Mandic for 22:15. 

Duvnjak scored for 23:17 in the 42nd minute and Mandic against for 24:17 with just over 15 minutes to go. 

Cupic made it 25:18 with 12 to go. It was 27:20 with 9 minutes to go. 

Pavlovic made it +4 with less than five minutes to go - 28:24, and Maric made it 29:25 with minutes left. 

It was 30:25 for Croatia in the final two minutes. 

The match ended at 30:27 for Croatia! 

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Saturday, 13 March 2021

Olympic Handball Qualifiers: Croatia Narrowly Defeats Portugal 25:24 in Dramatic Finish!

March 13, 2021 - Croatia narrowly defeats Portugal 25:24 in a dramatic finish to stay alive in the Olympic qualifiers! 

The Croatia handball national team met Portugal in the second round of the Olympic qualifying tournament in Montpellier, France on Saturday. 

As France defeated Croatia yesterday (30:26) and Portugal defeated Tunisia (34:27), Croatia's victory in this match was imperative.

However, even with a victory in the remaining two games (Portugal and Tunisia), Croatia was not guaranteed Tokyo. If Croatia beats Portugal and Tunisia, and Portugal beats France tomorrow (and if France celebrates tonight against Tunisia), a round of three national teams with the same number of points can be created, in which case the one with the worst goal difference in the mutual matches of these three teams would be eliminated.

If Croatia does not want to depend on the outcome of the France and Portugal match (Sunday, 9 pm), they would have to go for the best possible goal difference. A win of at least five goals against Portugal, along with any win against Tunisia on Sunday, would have taken Croatia to Tokyo no matter how the clash between France and Portugal ends.

If Croatia drew against Portugal, they would have to win against Tunisia by more than seven points and wait for France's victory against Portugal.

Croatia v. Portugal Recap

Maric scored the opening goal of the game for 1:0 Croatia. Martinovic scored a rocket from the outside for 2:2 in the 7th minute and again for 3:4. 

Portugal led by 3 goals in the 10th minute. Cupic scored for 4:6 two minutes later. Croatia had only scored 4 goals in the first 15 minutes of the match. 

Cupic scored his second goal for 5:6. Cindric scored for 6:7 in the 16th.

Cupic scored again, this time from a 7-meter throw, for 7:8. Mandic made it 8:9 in the 19th minute. 

Portugal led by 3 goals in the 23rd minute (8:11).

Cupic scored from 7 meters for 9:12 with two minutes to go in the first half. 

Duvnjak scored Croatia's first goal of the second half for 10:13. Croatia was down by 4 goals in the 34th minute. 

Cupic scored his gift goal of the game in the 36th minute from 7 metes (11:16).  

Mandic made it -4 moments later for 12:16.  Cupic was 6/6 in the 40th minute for -3 (13:16). 

Mandic made it 14:16 one minute later. Musa scored for 15:17 in the 42nd. Cupic scored for -1 in the 43rd (16:17)!

Mandic scored for 17:18 with 15 minutes to go. It was 18:19 thanks to Maric with just over 10 to go, and 19:20 thanks to Cindric a minute later. 

Strlek scored for 20:21 in the 52nd minute. The brilliant Cupic scored yet again, this time for the critical equalizer for 21:21! 

Cindric scored for 22:22 with five minutes to go and Cupic for 23:23 with three minutes left. 

Croatia finally retook the lead at 24:23 thanks to captain Duvnjak! A dramatic ending it would be. 

Portugal equalized at 24:24 in the final minute. Cindric made it 25:24 with 15 seconds left, which was the final score of the game! 

Croatia plays Tunisia on Sunday at 18:30. 

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