Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Duvnjak and Cindrić COVID-19 Positive Ahead of European Handball Championship

January 5, 2022 - Captain Duvnjak and Cindrić tested positive nine days before Croatia begins their European Handball Championship campaign. 

The Croatian Handball Federation released a statement that revealed that Domagoj Duvnjak and Luka Cindrić had tested positive for coronavirus nine days before the European Handball Championship, reports

Duvnjak only joined the national team on January 1 due to his obligations in Kiel, while Cindrić has been preparing with Croatia for longer. It is not known where they became infected. Duvnjak complained of back problems from day one and missed training.

"Although the preparations of the Croatian men's senior national team for the Croatia Cup and the European Championship are taking place with the strictest epidemiological measures, the coronavirus has, unfortunately, penetrated our ranks, like many other national teams and clubs.

This morning's PCR tests, which are part of the commitment to the European Handball Federation before coming to the competition, revealed that two Croatian handball players are positive. They are Domagoj Duvnjak and Luka Cindrić. They are feeling well so far and have milder symptoms. Of course, according to the prescribed protocol, they were placed in isolation. All other players and professional staff members are negative and continue with regular training. Just in case, tomorrow morning, January 5, everyone will have PCR testing again," HRS reported on Tuesday. 

"We have no luck with that. We are implementing the measures envisaged in this situation. We conducted antigen testing, today a PCR test. The two players are positive, and the tests have justified their purpose.

Interestingly, these antigen tests were negative, we thought we were sure of that, but still, positive results arrived. Therefore, we will isolate the players and test ourselves later. Fortunately, there are milder symptoms, and I hope that they will get out of it quickly, but we can never be sure that they will be able to play," said the doctor of the national team Tomislav Kukina.

There is no need to waste words on how important the duo is for Croatia's game, especially Domagoj Duvnjak, who has led the national team for years. At the same time, the excellent performance by Barcelona player Luka Cindrić was expected at this Euro after injuries kept him out of Croatia' squad in the last year. However, they may both miss the competition. In the best-case scenario, they could return by the start of the championship if they receive the prescribed isolation of fewer than ten days and, in addition, must have a negative test. Both are vaccinated because players who have not received both doses cannot play in the Euro according to EHF rules.

Coach Hrvoje Horvat can call Igor Karačić or Domagoj Pavlović instead of Luka Cindrić.

As Duvnjak was planned to be used on the left outside, coach Horvat will have to think carefully about who to call if Duvnjak cannot play. The ideal options are Stipe Mandalinić and Ivan Slišković, who play very well at their clubs.

France and Serbia have also been affected by the coronavirus. As a result, both national teams canceled friendly matches ahead of the Euros. 

Due to injuries, France is deprived of three Olympic champions (Timothey N'Guessan, Nedim Remili, and Luka Karabatic). In addition, they may be without a fourth, goalkeeper Vincent Gérard, due to family issues, while Elohim Prandi was violently attacked on December 31, 2021. 

A total of nine positive cases among the invited players, including pivot Théa Monara, was revealed on Sunday.

The only good news for France is the return of four infected players, including Nikola Karabatic, who started training separately on Sunday.

Serbia also received positive tests on Tuesday. Infected players Vladimir Cupara and Bogdan Radiojevic and coach Toni Gerona, goalkeeper coach Dimitrija Pejanovic, physio Petar Radulovic and head of the delegation Milorad Krivokapic are in isolation and have milder symptoms.

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

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Captain Domagoj Duvnjak Becomes Top Scorer in Croatia Handball History

November 9, 2021 - Captain Domagoj Duvnjak has surpassed Mirza Džomba to become the top scorer in Croatia handball history! 

Two days ago, Croatia handball player Domagoj Duvnjak scored five goals in Croatia's 34:31 victory against Slovenia in a friendly match played in Novigrad. Ivan Martinović led the Croatia national team with seven goals, Halil Jaganjac with six goals, and captain Duvnjak with five.

However, Duvnjak's goals were the only ones to write Croatia handball history, reports 24 Sata.

By scoring five goals against Slovenia, Duvnjak became the top scorer in Croatia handball history. He reached a total of 720 goals and replaced Mirza Džomba, the legendary winger who held the record for years - since 2008!

The legendary Mirza Džomba said goodbye to the national team in 2008, scoring 719 goals in 185 games. While Džomba held the record for more than 13 years, it was inevitable that Domagoj Duvnjak would surpass it eventually. And now he has, after 223 games in the Croatia jersey.

Duvnjak made his debut for the Croatia national team in 2006 at 18 years old, played his first big tournament the following year, and in those 14 years, did not miss a single big competition. 

He won eight medals with Croatia, still hoping for the gold, which is the only medal he does not have, and with which he would complete his brilliant national team story.

"My first appearance for the national team in a big competition? Of course, I remember. It was the World Cup in Germany in 2007. I entered the game against Spain and scored one goal. I played in the previous European qualifiers, but I will remember my first appearance at the World Cup for the rest of my life."

While his age is against him, only the best can boast 12 years in the Bundesliga. Duvnjak also recently signed a new contract with Kiel until 2024, which will make it an impressive 15 in the German league. Duvnjak endeavors to play until 2025, when Croatia will host the World Cup with Denmark and Norway. Then, Duvnjak can say goodbye to his celebrated career, hopefully with a gold medal. 

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

Friday, 7 May 2021

Croatia Handball against Serbia, France, and Ukraine at Men's EHF EURO 2022

May 7, 2021 - A tough draw - Croatia handball against Serbia, France, and Ukraine at the Men's EHF EURO 2022, to be played from January 13 to 30 next year. 

The Croatia handball team will play the first part of the 2022 European Championship in Group C, hosted by Szeged, against the national teams of Serbia, France, and Ukraine, the draw revealed in Budapest on Thursday.

The hosts of the handball Euro, which is scheduled for January 13-30 next year, are Hungary and Slovakia. Twenty-four national teams will compete for medals, divided into six groups, played in Szeged, Debrecen, Budapest, Bratislava, and Košice.

The Pick Arena in Szeged, where Croatia will play their first-round matches, has a capacity of 8,143 spectators, and the Budapest Arena in the Hungarian capital, where second-round matches and the final part of the tournament will be played, can accommodate 20,000 spectators.

The Croatia national team will play the first game in the group on January 13 against France. Two days later, Croatia will meet Serbia. The last game of the first round will be played on January 17 against Ukraine.

The two best national teams from each of the six groups in the first round will advance to the second round, in which the teams from A, B, and C groups will merge into one group, and the other from D, E, and F. The second-round matches will be played in Budapest and Bratislava.

The first two national teams from each group will advance to the semifinals, while the third-placed teams will play a match for fifth place.

The semifinals are scheduled for January 28, and the final and third-place match on January 30.

"We have an exciting group ahead of us. As always, what we repeat is that we hope to be healthy and ready. We have seen many times that there is no weak opponent at the European Championship, and every game will be interesting and difficult. Of course, we have to think only of ourselves, we have to prepare well, and we must not be relaxed at any point. As always, we will go from game to game and do our best," said captain Domagoj Duvnjak.

“Of course, I watched the draw. For me, it’s an excellent group. There is no need to waste words on France because we all know how strong they are. Serbia has great players on paper, and with the new coach, we saw in the qualifications that they have become a serious team. Ukraine only seems the easiest at first glance, but let's not forget that Motor, from which most players come, is practically a permanent participant in the Champions League. I can't wait for the championship to start, and I hope with fans!" added Marin Šipić. 

2022 European Championship groups:
Group A (Debrecen): Slovenia, Denmark, Sj. Macedonia, Montenegro
Group B (Budapest): Portugal, Hungary, Iceland, Netherlands
Group C (Szeged): CROATIA, Serbia, France, Ukraine
Group D (Bratislava): Germany, Austria, Belarus, Poland
Group E (Bratislava): Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Bosnia, and Herzegovina
Group F (Košice): Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Lithuania

Source: HRS

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Sunday, 27 December 2020

Barbara Matic and Domagoj Duvnjak Named Best Croatian Athletes of 2020

December 27, 2020 - The best Croatian athletes of the year in Sportske Novosti's traditional selection are judoka Barbara Matic and handball player Domagoj Duvnjak!

HRT reports that judoka Barbara Matic became the first martial arts athlete to win the Sportske Novosti trophy, in the competition of her national teammate Karla Prodan, a bronze medalist from the European Championships in Prague, the best Croatian tennis player Petra Martic, and world diving record holder Mirela Kardasevic.

Domagoj Duvnjak, the second handball player after Ivan Balic (2007) to be named the best athlete of the year, won his first Sportske Novosti trophy as the best player of the European Championships in Austria, Norway, and Sweden. His competitors for the award were national football team member Ivan Perisic, the winner of the triple crown with Bayern, the best Croatian skier Filip Zubcic, bronze medalist at the World Laser Sailing Championship Tonci Stipanovic and three European finalists in gymnastics Tin Srbic, Filip Ude and Aurel Benovic.

"I am honored to receive this award," said Barbara Matic and explained how she chose judo:

"At Pujanke Elementary School, I could choose between ballet and judo, and I chose judo," said Matic, who in 2020 won a gold medal at the Grand Slam Judo Tournament in Budapest, and on the way to the gold, defeated World and Olympic champions.

"Barbara, with her sporting success, became a master of mechanical engineering and shipbuilding; she used the time of the pandemic in the best possible way, to finish college," says the president of HJS Hrvoje Lindi.

Domagoj Duvnjak was the best player at the European Handball Championships held in January, where Croatia won the silver medal. This is his first Sportske Novosti award.

"An exceptional honor; I am proud of this award. Of all the accolades I have ever received, this award is my favorite. Being the best athlete in his country sounds like a dream," said Duvnjak, who received 150 votes.

Sportske Novosti adds that the Croatia women's handball team is the best team of the year, collecting as many as 231 votes. They shocked the nation and won the European bronze and deservedly the epithet of the best women's sports team in 2020. 

The men's handball team also won the Sportske Novosti award after becoming European finalists in January, receiving 245 votes.

267 sports journalists from 52 newsrooms voted in the Sportske Novosti awards this year. 

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

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Career First: Domagoj Duvnjak Named European Handball Federation Player of Month

February 6, 2020 - Croatia handball team captain Domagoj Duvnjak received the European Handball Federation award for 'Player of the Month' for the first time in his career.

HRT reports that the award, given by journalists of the European handball organization, was won by 18-year-old Elena Mikhaylichenko in the women's competition, while Domagoj Duvnjak’s superb play at the European Championship made the EHF’s decision easy for the men's side.

Recall, Duvnjak not only led Croatia to the silver medal at the European Championship, but he was also named the MVP of the tournament. 

“It's always nice to get this kind of award. Thanks to everyone who voted for me. Of course, I would trade all of these awards for a gold medal,” Duvnjak said after learning that he had received the award.

Before him, only Luka Cindric received the EHF ‘Player of the Month’ award twice, in June 2017 and April 2019.

Duvnjak won the award in front of Norwegian Sander Sagosen and Spaniard Alex Dushebaev.

The Croatia captain has returned to Germany, where he will chase the Champions League title with his club, THW Kiel.

"We have a good base, but everything is still open. We have to keep in mind the difficult weeks in the Bundesliga, and then with the national team. My biggest dream is to win the Champions League with Kiel. It's been seven years since I won it with Hamburg. and I want to get back on the podium,” Duvnjak said on the office EHF website.

The Cowboys, in addition to their club duties, are also awaiting qualifications for the Tokyo Olympics. Although the disappointment of not winning the Euro gold remains, they are proud of the silver medal that few expected.

"We won silver, we did not lose gold, but that defeat still hurts. We wanted to give our coach a gift for everything he has done for Croatian handball and our country. I hope we will qualify for the Olympics and make him proud there," concluded Duvnjak.

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

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Domagoj Duvnjak, Croatian Handball Hero and European Championship MVP

January 26, 2020 - Domagoj Duvnjak was named the player of the match in the European Championship final on Sunday, as well as the MVP of the entire competition. 

Croatia handball team captain Domagoj Duvnjak may not have led his team to the gold medal this time around, but he’s won the hearts of European handball fans thanks to his brilliant play in the 2020 European Championship. 

The THW Kiel player and Dakovo native was named the best player of the European Handball Championship before Sunday’s final between Croatia and Spain. Duvnjak not only carried Croatia to the final, but he was brilliant in the defense and attack in doing so. 

Namely, Duvnjak’s 5-1 defensive play was nearly perfect, and later in the tournament, as a true captain and leader, he carried the national team in the offense to earn the MVP title.

“The Croatian captain dragged his team kicking and screaming into their first EHF EURO final since 2010 with a string of commanding and heroic performances throughout the tournament. The THW Kiel back court ace’s display in Croatia’s marathon semi-final win over Norway, which included eight goals and the crucial penalty at the end of normal time, inspired Lino Cervar’s side to the gold medal match. The heartbeat and leader of the team, Duvnjak’s overall game of breaking up play and motivating his teammates have played an instrumental role in Croatia’s success,” said the European Handball Federation.

With this recognition, Duvnjak became the only Croat, alongside Ivan Balic, who was named the European Championship MVP. Balic won it twice - in 2004 in Slovenia and 2006 in Switzerland. 

It was Spain to win the final 22:20 on Sunday in Stockholm, which left the captain reasonably defeated, but also full of pride.

“This is one of the more difficult losses of my career. I am sad but proud of the wonderful guys who deserved this medal. We missed a little to win the European Championship. This was our first defeat at the Championship. We led in the finals, but Spain punished our mistakes in the final. But the character of this team is incredible,” Duvnjak said after receiving the silver medal.

Domagoj Duvnjak joined the Croatia national team for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and was part of the team to win the Olympic bronze in 2012, the silver at the World Championship in 2009 and the bronze in 2013, and three silver and two bronze medals from the European Championship. 

Duvnjak was named the IHF World Player in 2013, and in 2009, was the most expensive handball player in the history of the sport.

We tip our hats to the Croatian handball legend for a job well done. 

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

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Croatia Handball Team Heads to Sweden Without Duvnjak; Červar Announces New System?

The Croatia men's handball team, led by Lino Červar, gathered in Zagreb on Monday. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Domagoj Duvnjak’s Thoughts Before The Quarter-finals

Domagoj Duvnjak, the best Croatian handball player, spoke to the official website of the 2017 World Championships. Here are his thoughts

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Domagoj Duvnjak Candidate For The Best Player Of the Year

This is the third nomination for the Croatian handball star, and in 2013, he won the title. You too can cast your vote.