Thursday, 13 January 2022

EHF Euro 2022: Croatia Falls to France 22:27 in First Match of Group C

January 13, 2022 - The Croatia men's handball team fell to France 22:27 in the first match of Group C at the EHF Euro 2022 in Szeged.

The Croatia men's handball team met France in its first match in Group C at the European Championship, which is being held in Hungary and Slovakia. Coach Hrvoje Horvat led the team in Szeged, Hungary, where they had Croatian support from the stands.

Croatia entered this championship with many changes caused by the coronavirus. Luka Cindrić and Marino Marić did not play in tonight's match as their negative COVID-19 tests did not arrive in time. They are expected to be ready against Serbia in two days.

Croatia started with Mandić and Čupić on the wings, Šipić as the pivot, Jaganjac on the left, Gadža in the center, and Martinović on the right. Pesic started in goal. 

Recap

France scored the first goal to lead in the 50th second of the match. Martinovic scored Croatia's first goal for 1:1 in the 2nd minute. 

France led 1:3 in the 4th minute and it was 1:4 for France in the 5th. Mandic came back for 2:4 moments later. It was 2:5 for France in the 7th and 2:6 for France a minute later. 

After Croatia's missed opportunities, France led 2:7 in the 9th. Cupic finally scored for 3:7 Croatia in the 11th minute. 

A brilliant save by Pesic in the 12th minute kept Croatia in the game. Gadza scored for 4:7 in the 15th minute. 

It was 4:9 for France before Croatia made it 5:9 in the 19th. Pesic made an incredible save for a Croatia counter in the 20th for 6:9. 

Cupic scored from 7-meters for 7:10 in the 22nd minute. Croatia picked up the momentum as the first half came to a close, taking advantage of France's mistakes. Martinovic scored for 8:10 in the 23rd. 

It was 8:12 for France with 4 minutes to go. Cupic scored from 7 meters again for -3 (9:12). 

Mandic made it 10:12 with less than two minutes left in the first half.  Sipic scored for 11:13 going into halftime. 

France opened the second half with a goal in the 31st for 11:14, and it was 11:15 in the 32nd.

Sipic scored for 12:15 which was followed by a France penalty for 12:16. Martinovic scored for 13:16 in the 36th. Susnja scored for 14:17 a minute later. 

Sipic scored for 15:18 in the 40th. Susnja scored his second goal for 16:19 in the 42nd. Cupic scored for 7 meters for 17:20 a minute later. 

Lucin scored on a counter for -2 (18:20) and again for 19:21 in the 46th minute. Mandic was excluded with a red and blue card in the 46th minute which changed the dynamic of the game.

France scored from 7 meters for 19:22. Cupic scored from 7 meters for 20:23 with 7 minutes to go. Cupic scored again for 21:25 with 4 minutes on the clock.

Lucin made it 22:25 with two minutes left.  The match ended 22:27 for France. 

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

Friday, 12 March 2021

Olympic Handball Qualifiers: France Defeats Croatia 30:26 in Thrilling Game 1

March 12, 2021 - France defeats Croatia 30:26 in the thrilling first game of the Olympic Qualifiers in Montpellier, France. 

Croatia and France met on Friday night to open their Olympic qualifying campaign in Montpellier. Portugal and Tunisia are also in their group, and the two first-placed national teams will compete in Tokyo this summer. 

Recall, after a desperate performance at the World Championship in January, Lino Červar left the Croatia national team bench and was replaced by Hrvoje Horvat.

Horvat took 20 players to Montpellier, though the official record can include 16. Horvat thus left goalkeeper Mate Šunjić, Ilija Brozović, Luka Šebetić, and Halil Jaganjac out of the lineup for this match. 

The game against France was Horvat's debut as the Croatia coach. 

Croatia v. France Recap

Duvnjak scored the first goal of the game in the 4th minute for 1:0 Croatia. Cupic made it 2:0 for Croatia five minutes later for 2:1. 

France took the lead for the first time in the match in the 11th minute - 2:3. 

Cupic scored from a 7-meter throw in the 13th minute to equalize. Karacic made it 4:4 moments later and Cupic for 5:5 from 7 meters again. 

Cindric gave Croatia the lead for 7:6 in the 17th minute. Martinovic scored for 8:7 two minutes later. Croatia was up by 2 goals thanks to Karacic in the 20th.

It was 10:7 for Croatia one minute later! 

Karacic made it 11:8 in the 23rd, and it was 12:9 a minute after that. Martinovic made it 13:10 in the 25th - and Cindric for Croatia's biggest lead of the game - 14:10 in the 27th!

Fifteen seconds before the half, Cupic scored for +4 (15:12). 

Croatia opened the second half with a quick goal by Cupic for 16:12. Cindric nailed the goal in the 32nd minute for 17:12! 

Cupic scored from 7-meters for 18:15 in the 37th minute and it was 19:15 one minute later. 

Martinovic showed his class again for 20:16 in the 39th. France came back to -2 just two minutes later (20:18). 

A stunner from Duvnjak made it 21:18. Martinovic scored again for 22:19 in the 43rd. Cupic scored for 23:20 one minute later. 

Pesic and Sego were brilliant in goal for Croatia all game. 

However, France started making their comeback and was behind by just one goal in the 47th minute. They equalized for 23:23 in the 49th. 

Croatia failed to score with an extra player in the attack and France retook the lead for 23:24 in the 51st minute. 

Cupic made it 24:24 moments later, and 25:25 from 7 meters with seven minutes left. 

But France was up by two goals with just over five minutes left. 

Cupic scored from 7 meters for 26:28 Croatia with three minutes to go. Strlek missed a one-on-one with the keeper moments later to keep France up by two goals. 

The game ended 30:26 for France.  

Croatia will play against Portugal tomorrow at 18:30, and against Tunisia at the same time on Sunday. Portugal beat Tunisia 34:27 in the first game and thus took the first step towards Tokyo.

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

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Olympic Qualifiers: Croatia Water Polo Defeats France, Records Third Win

February 16, 2021 - In game three of the Olympic Qualifiers in Rotterdam, Croatia water polo defeats France for their third win of the tournament. 

Behind Croatia are two rounds and two victories at the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Rotterdam. Recall, Croatia won their first match against Romania at 16:6, and on Monday against the Netherlands 25:8

Before their meeting with France on Tuesday, Croatia counted by far the most goals (41), with the best goal difference (+27), and is among the teams with the fewest goals conceded.

However, Croatia still has a long road ahead and played only their third match of eight in Rotterdam on Tuesday, this time against France. France lost to Russia in their first match and topped Germany in their second. 

France took the lead first on Tuesday, scoring the opening goal of the game with 5:47 to go in the first quarter. France scored for 2:0 a minute later. 

Maro Jokovic missed a 5-meter penalty moments later, keeping France in the lead. Luka Bukic scored Croatia's first goal of the game after only 4 minutes - 2:1. 

Josip Vrlic scored the equalizer with 1:39 to go in the first quarter (2:2). Loren Fatovic scored for the Croatia lead to end the first quarter at 2:3.

Loren Fatovic opened the second quarter with a goal for Croatia (3:4). Andro Buslje scored for 5:5 with 49 seconds left to end the second quarter.

Buslje opened the third quarter for 5:6 Croatia, though France came back to equalize with five minutes to go (6:6). Milos put Croatia back in the lead at 6:7. Jokovic scored for +2 with 3:42 to go in the third. 

Bukic scored from 5-meters for Croatia's biggest lead yet - 6:9, and Garcia scored for +4 (6:10) to end the third quarter. 

Maro Jokovic opened the final quarter with a goal for 7:11. Fatovic scored a 5-meter penalty to bring Croatia back to +3 (9:12). 

Bukic scored another penalty for Croatia with 3:26 to go in the match (10:13), which was the final score of the match. 

Croatia will meet Russia (Wednesday, February 17, at 2:30 pm) and Germany (Thursday, February 18, at 8:30 pm) in the final two group stage games. 

Following the group stage, the quarterfinal stage will commence on Friday, February 19, in which the four best teams from each group will meet.  The pairs will be determined by their positions in the standings (A1 - B4, A2 - B3, A3 - B2, and A4 - B1). 

The four winning teams will play in the semifinals on February 20. The finalists of the qualifying tournament, as well as the national team that wins the match for third place on February 21, will qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are scheduled from July 24 to August 8, 2021. 

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

Friday, 18 December 2020

Croatia Women's Handball Team Falls to France in Euros Semi-final (19:30), Fight for Bronze Next

December 18, 2020 - The Croatia women's handball team met the current European champion France in the semi-final of the 2020 European Championships in Herning, Denmark on Friday evening. 

By entering the semi-final, Croatia achieved the best result in the history of Croatian women's handball, and thus secured a place in next year's World Cup, where Croatia has not played since 2011.

Croatia traveled to Denmark as complete underdogs, building great form from game to game. On Tuesday, they played a fantastic match against Germany and advanced to the semi-final with a 23:20 victory.

Unfortunately, mighty France was too powerful for Croatia tonight.

France v. Croatia Recap

Croatia opened the game with a goal by Kalaus in the first minute of play. France equalized moments later for 1:1. Debelic made it 1:2 for Croatia in the 3rd.

Stellar saves by Pijevic in the 6th and 7th minute kept the score at 2:2. Micijevic scored for the Croatia lead in the 8th minute - 2:3.

France took the lead for the first time in the 10th minute - 4:3, and scored again for 5:3. France was up by three goals in the 12th minute and four in the 14th. 

At this point, Croatia hadn't scored a goal for seven minutes. 

By the 17th minute, it was 10:3 for France. By the 18th minute, Croatia hadn't scored for over 10 minutes. Croatia finally scored for 11:4

Croatia hit the post twice in the minutes that followed. France called a team timeout. 

Vidak finally scored to slightly reduce France's lead to 13:5, but France scored again in the 28th for 14:5. The match ended at 15:5 at half. 

Croatia defended France's first attack of the second half and Simara scored for 15:6, bringing Croatia 9 goals behind France. Valentina Blazevic made it -8 in the 32nd minute (15:7). A Krsnik penalty made it 16:8 in the 34th.

Pijevic saved France's next attack, and Jezic scored for -7 - 16:9. Blazevic scored for 17:10, and Micijevic for 18:11. Croatia was still behind by 7 goals. 

Croatia was behind by 8 goals in the 43rd minute - 21:13. In the 46th minute, it was 23:13 for France.

With 10 minutes to go, Croatia was behind by 11 goals - 25:14. With five minutes to go, France was up 27:17.

With a minute to go, it was 30:18 for France. With 10 seconds to go, Croatia scored a penalty for 30:19, which was the final score of the match. 

Denmark and Norway will play the second semi-final tonight at 20:30.

Croatia will play in the match for 3rd place on Sunday at 15:30.

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

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Croatia and France to Meet in Euros Handball Semi-final: What Can We Expect?

December 16, 2020 - The Croatian women's handball team advanced to the semi-final of the European Championships with a victory against Germany on Tuesday. The semi-final duel between Croatia and France will be played on Friday at 6 pm.

Gol.hr reports that France and Norway are the biggest favorites for gold at the Euros. France came to the Championship as the current European champion, and this will be no easy task for Nenad Šoštarić's team.

Reputable Lequipe presented the Croatia national team, and the journalists of the most widely read French sports newspaper pointed out the advantages of Croatia in the clash for the final.

"France, as first in the group, will meet Croatia in the semi-final, unexpectedly, as this is Croatia's first semifinal in history," begins Lequipe about Croatia.

"Croatia has never played a semi-final in its history, and since 2013, it has been known as a second-class handball team. They were constantly eliminated in the first round of big competitions, even at home in 2014," the French journalist points out.

"Ćamila Mičijević, a left-winger from Metz, is the fourth-best scorer of the competition with 30 goals, five on average. Goalkeeper Tea Pijević reigns in front of the goal, defending 37% on average. Her catching the ball with one hand will be remembered as one of the cult scenes of the Euro."

Lequipe points out that France is a big favorite but says they have to be careful because Croatia is experiencing euphoria, and there is no pressure for the medal. 

The last match between Croatia and France was back in 2007, and France celebrated 28:26.

France did not record a single defeat in the Euros, and only Russia managed to snatch a point from them.

In the first group stage, they defeated the host and the second semifinalist, Denmark, then Montenegro, and Slovenia. In the second round, apart from drawing against Russia, they defeated Spain and Sweden. Although this part of the draw was stronger, it should be noted that France recorded two victories only by one goal, against Montenegro and Spain, which gives Croatia hope. 

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

Friday, 16 October 2020

Puma Football Boots Draw Inspiration from Croatian Rimac Automobili

October the 16th, 2020 - When it comes to successful Croatian companies, Rimac Automobili is undoubtedly the first one that comes to people's minds. It isn't only the likes of Porsche and others from the world of cars that Mate Rimac's company is impressing as the new Puma football boots draw their inspiration from this very company.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 15th of October, 2020, the French national team player Antoine Griezmann did his thing at Maksimir in Zagreb recently wearing the new Puma football boots, and the inspiration for the new boots was no less than the Croatian company Rimac Automobili, but it's important to point out that the Croatian company wasn't in any way actually involved in the designing of the new Pula football boots, it was merely the source of inspiration for them.

''Mate Rimac and Rimac Automobili didn't participate in the design and creation of the ''Ultra SL football boot'', which was worn for the first time on Wednesday at Maksimir Stadium by Antoine Griezmann,'' it is claimed and reported by the media.

Puma did the whole job itsself, they just found ''inspiration'' in this remarkable Croatian company, it’s otherwise entirely their design and their whole philosophy.

Puma made it clear once this story reached the attention of the Croatian media that the sports company didn't ‘borrow’ technology or anything else from Croatia or more specifically from Rimac Automobili.

''As far as our company is concerned, we don't want to make a fuss and inflate a big story,'' said Marta Longin, head of Marketing and Communications at Rimac Automobili.

Regardless, it is amazing to see that Rimac Automobili is succeeding in impressing companies from around the world who don't necessarily have anything to do with the automotive field.

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Thursday, 15 October 2020

Zlatko Dalic After France: I Need to Put Together a Competitive National Team by March

October 15, 2020 - Croatia Coach Zlatko Dalic spoke to the press after the loss against France in the 4th-round Nations League match in Zagreb on Wednesday. 

Coach Zlatko Dalic was satisfied with most of what was shown against France, but he pointed out that Croatia again made mistakes that France always knows how to punish.

"Hats off to the team, especially for the second half, but we lost again, and we didn't deserve it; that's why we are upset," said the coach at the beginning of the press conference.

"We played well, but a mistake happened. We didn’t play against anyone but against world champions. They punish every mistake, and we must avoid mistakes. Against a team like this, which is worth a billion, you can't avoid it. But the second half was excellent. We started very badly, in the first 15 minutes we could have conceded another goal. We settled down afterward, and it tuned in," he added.

He denied that Pasalic played on the left-wing: "Pasalic was not a winger, but a midfielder. It may have seemed to you because he was a bit on the wing in defense, but he is a midfielder and should be in that position."

Dalic was also asked if he had made a mistake in choosing Vida instead of Caleta-Car.

"I wasn't wrong with Vida. He is our standard stopper. You have to look at the second goal again because Vida was not to blame for it. See who Mbappe was with and how he reacted. We have three more games where we can try some things. After that, I have to have a clear picture before the qualifications for the World Cup. We have to be objective. Croatia is putting together a new national team; there are no more Juventus and Bayern players here. I am satisfied with this, and my task is to put together a competitive team for March. Everything is important, and I am sorry that we did not win. Everyone should be given a chance. I am worried that we are receiving goals, and we need to work on that," believes Dalic.

He has a generally good opinion of this three-game mini-cycle.

"I can be satisfied with this mini-cycle. We got Switzerland who played 3:3 against Germany. With that match, we secured a top seed status in the World Cup qualifiers, and Sweden is our competitor to stay in the Nations League. We played a good second half against France, and I am glad that the fans applauded the players. I am very pleased, and I told that to the players in the dressing room. I am a great optimist because I see that we have players coming," the coach concluded.

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

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

UEFA Nations League: France Better than Croatia in Zagreb

October 14, 2020 - France was better than Croatia in Zagreb in the 4th round match of the UEFA Nations League. 

The Croatia national team met France in the 4th round of the Nations League on Wednesday at Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb. Seven thousand fans (30% of the stadium) were there to cheer on Croatia.

Croatia beat Sweden 2:1 at the same stadium on Sunday and took third place in the group. With a victory against France, they would join the fight to win the group. 

Coach Zlatko Dalic changed the starting formation a bit from Sunday's match against Sweden. While Livakovic stayed in goal, the backline included Borna Barisic, Domagoj Vida, Dejan Lovren, and Filip Uremovic. The midfield featured Luka Modric and Milan Badelj, with Nikola Vlasic as the attacking midfielder. Ivan Perisic and Mario Pasalic were on the wings, with Bruno Petkovic up top. Marcelo Brozovic had to sit this game out due to cards. 

France coach Didier Deschamps, on the other hand, sent his strongest players in the attack, and decided to rotate the midfield - Lloris; Mendy, Varane, Lenglet, Digne; Tolisso, N'Zonzi, Rabiot; Mbappé, Griezmann, Martial.

The first five minutes of the match was even, and Croatia even had a chance to attack thanks to a quick run by Bruno Petkovic. However, it was France to find the back of the net first after Griezmann nailed the upper corner of the goal in the 8th minute for 0:1. 

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Slobodan Kadic

France danced around Croatia's defense and had what seemed like another sure chance in the 15th minute though Mbappe luckily hit wide. 

Five minutes later, Lovren had a chance with a header off a Croatia corner kick which went over the goal. 

A foul on Petkovic awarded Croatia a free-kick just outside the box in the 24th minute. Perisic hit just over the crossbar.

Vlasic took the France midfield in a quick counter-attack that found Barisic in the box, though Croatia was unable to capitalize. They certainly picked their momentum. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia spent the better part of the next ten minutes in France's half. Perisic and Petkovic called for a handball in the box in the 35th minute after a brilliant play by Vlasic and Pasalic, but the ref let them play on.

Petkovic capitalized on a Mendy mistake in the 42nd minute and proceeded to get fouled again outside of the box, though there was no whistle to be heard. 

A header from a France free-kick in the 44th minute made it close to being 0:2 but the match ended 0:1 at the half.  

The second half began with some changes by Dalic. Kovacic and Brekalo were subbed on for Badelj and Pasalic.

Within the first two minutes, Perisic had a great attack on goal, though no one was in the box in time to receive his cross. Nikola Vlasic hit a rocket in the 52nd minute which just missed the goal. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia was aggressive at the start of the second half and gave France little chance of moving their attacking game. Modric and Petkovic worked their way into the box often but the France defense held their backline. 

Petkovic came out for Ante Budimir in the 60th minute.

After continued pressing from Croatia, it finally happened. Split wunderkind Nikola Vlasic did it again and scored the equalizer for 1:1 in the 64th minute! 

The Croatia crowd found new energy to cheer and chant in the minutes that followed, which gave Croatia the strength to carry on. 

France was awarded a corner that shouldn't have been which resulted in a crowd in front of Croatia's goal and quick reaction from the defense to clear the ball. Croatia was lucky France didn't retake the lead. 

Bradaric came on for Perisic in the 78th minute.

Unfortunately, a long ball from Pogba found Mbappe who caught the Croatian defense off guard to score for 1:2 in the 79th minute. Dalic subbed Kramaric on for Vlasic one minute later. 

Brekalo hit a rocket from just outside the box in the 85th minute which gave Lloris a tough time to save. Croatia was not giving up hope. 

Modric found Kramaric for a chance in the 89th minute which Lloris saved again. More chances for Croatia in the final minutes of added time also proved unsuccessful. The match ended 1:2 for France.

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia's Nations League campaign continues next month against Sweden away and Portugal at Poljud Stadium in Split. 

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

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

UEFA Nations League: France Tops Croatia 4:2 at Stade de France

September 8, 2020 - Croatia and France met in Paris on Tuesday evening for the second round of the Nations League A group. In the 2018 World Cup rematch, France tops Croatia 4:2.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic changed half of the starting lineup from the match against Portugal. Melnjak was thus moved to left-back and debutant Uremovic to the right. Lovren played in the heart of the defense, accompanied by Duje Caleta-Car, while Perisic and Brozovic returned to the first 11. Modric and Rakitic were not included in this Nations League campaign. 

France coach Deschamps also changed his starting eleven, and Lloris, Upamecano, Kante, and Griezmann remained from the first round against Sweden. 

Recall, in the first round on Saturday, Croatia suffered a heavy defeat against Portugal, ending 4:1 for the current European champion and the first winner of the Nations League. 

Croatia started the match much better than against Portugal and hungrier for the win. In the first five minutes, they attacked France's backline, while the defense was solid in denying Griezmann any chances. France had their first corner in the 11th minute, which was headed out by the Croatian defense. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia had their first real chance in the 13th minute, though Kovacic missed the shot after Kramaric attacked to get the ball into the box. A few minutes later, Brozovic playing a beautiful through ball to Rebic which ended in Croatia's first corner. Brozovic played a high ball in which found the foot of Lovren who brilliantly scored far post for 1:0 Croatia!

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia saw their second corner of the match in the 18th minute, which was played short and didn't make it into the box.

France picked up their game by the 20th minute, though their second corner was headed out by the Croatian defense. Griezmann was dangerous moments later but the backline remained solid in the block. 

Perisic and Melnjak played a beautiful one-two up the left line which forced a free-kick for Croatia outside the box. An unlucky ball resulted in another Croatia corner.  

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia continued playing calm and collected, a much better performance than the team we saw just a few days ago. 

They unraveled, however, for the first time in the 32nd minute - Griezmann had a chance to score but Brozovic and Livakovic were stellar to stop the dangerous play. 

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Slobodan Kadic

A France free-kick in the 34th minute, much like what we saw in the World Cup final, was worrying, but Griezmann shot over to keep the score 1:0 for Croatia.  

Croatia was combining brilliantly for the remainder of the half, playing quick passes up the pitch to press the France defense. Perisic shot in the 42nd which was saved by Lloris. 

Unfortunately, a quick France counter resulted in a goal in the 43rd minute. Griezmann scored for 1:1. Two minutes later, another quick counter saw France lead 2:1 with 30 seconds to go in the first half. Croatia held 57% of the possession in the first half. 

At the start of the second half, Josip Brekalo was substituted in for Ante Rebic. France made no changes.

Croatia saw their first corner of the second half already in the 46th minute, though Vlasic called for a handball. Without VAR in the Nations League, there was no review. 

Croatia continued pressing at the start of the second half and created good scoring opportunities, which were short of goals. France had their first corner of the second half in the 51st minute, which went over the post for a Croatia goal kick.

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Slobodan Kadic

But then it happened, and Croatia could not have equalized any better. An incredible Kovacic ball from the halfway line found the foot of Brekalo who moved through three players in the French defense for 2:2!

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Slobodan Kadic

A free kick in the 61st minute deflected to Vlasic who crossed the ball back into Perisic, though he volleyed over the crossbar.

France had a corner in the 64th minute which finished in a goal to put them back in the lead at 3:2.

Livakovic and Brozovic once again saved a dangerous Greizmann counter. Croatia's tempo had died down in the second half, though they continued to push the ball up France's half when they could. 

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Slobodan Kadic

The game changed once France was awarded a penalty in the 75th minute due to a Croatia handball in the box. Giroud scored for 4:2, the same result as the 2018 World Cup final. 

Croatia tried finding the momentum and rhythm they had in the first half, but France was solid in denying any chances. 

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Slobodan Kadic

A Vlasic shot in the last two minutes of regulation time hit the side post, while Lloris saved another seconds later. The ref added four minutes, in which neither team was able to score.

The match ended 4:2 for France.  

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Slobodan Kadic

Conceding eight goals in two games is not the way Croatia wanted to start the Nations League. Up next, Croatia will meet Sweden and France at home in October.

Slobodan Kadic Facebook

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Sunday, 28 July 2019

Junior World Championship: Croatia Handball in Final for First Time!

The Under-21 Croatia handball team is in the final of the Men's Junior World Handball Championship! 

In Pontevedra, Spain on Saturday, Croatia topped Portugal 31:28 (12:9) and advanced to their first-ever final against France, to be held on Sunday at 4:30 pm, reports Gol.hr on July 27, 2019.

Portugal was Croatia’s most dangerous rival at this tournament, though Croatia led by four and five goals on two occasions during the game. Portugal finally woke up and played much stronger in the second half.

Between the 47th and 52nd minute, Croatia went from a goal behind (20:21) to up by three goals (25:22). It was a tense match until the very end, when Croatia found that extra energy, focus, and motivation to finally lead by 4 for the 31:28 victory. 

While many worried it would be the end of Croatia’s perfect showing in Spain, Croatia can thank Sarač, Martinović and Mileta, as well as their brilliant defense, for turning the game to their advantage.

Martinović was named the best player of the match with eight goals scored, while Mileta scored seven goals and Sarač six goas. Diogo Silva was unstoppable for Portugal with nine goals, while Fernandes had six on the wings.

Croatia will play in the final against France, who defeated Egypt on Saturday 35:33. Croatia and France will meet on Sunday at 16.30.

This is the first World Championship final for the young Croatian side. So far, they have played twice in the semi-final and lost the next two matches to win 4th place.

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

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