Thursday, 17 December 2020

Two Croatia Women's Handball Players Make Best Team of Euros Second Round!

December 17, 2020 - Two Croatia women's handball players have been included in the ideal team of the main round of the European Handball Championships!

Namely, Tea Pijević was named the best goalkeeper of the second round, while Ana Debelić is the best pivot in this phase of the competition. Both are totally deserved.

Pijević's brilliant defense in goal destroyed rivals in both of Croatia's victories in the second round. She was especially impressive in the decisive clash against Germany when she had as many as 16 saves with an almost unrealistic 50 percent.

Ana Debelić was brilliant in that match and finished as the most efficient player for the Croatia national team with a perfect shot ratio (6/6).

The rest of the ideal team of the second round includes two players from Norway, one from Denmark, one from Montenegro, and one player from France.

On Friday at 18:00, Croatia and France will meet in the first semi-final of the European Championships, and Denmark and Norway will play later that evening. The last match between Croatia and France was back in 2007, and France celebrated 28:26.

Croatia entered the Euros as the ultimate underdog, and coach Šoštarić had many problems with injuries and the selection of players before they left for Denmark. However, even with a weakened squad, Croatia shocked favorite Hungary in the first round, then the world champions the Netherlands and Serbia in the remaining group stage games.

Croatia opened the second round with a victory against another favorite, Romania, and then suffered their first defeat against a mighty Norway before defeating Germany for a spot in their first-ever semi-final. Croatia’s best result at the Euros thus far is fifth place in 1994.

France, on the other hand, has not recorded 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, 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.

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.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Moves into Second Round after Win against Belarus

January 11, 2020 - The Croatia handball team defeated Belarus in Graz 31:23 (15:10) in the second match of Group A at the European Championship. After an initial victory against Montenegro (27:21), and with Montenegro’s win against Serbia, the ‘Cowboys’ secured first place in the group and the second round of the tournament in Vienna.

Igor Karacic scored six goals for Croatia, while Luka Stepancic scored five, Domagoj Duvnjak scored four, and Luka Cindric and David Mandic scored three goals. Goalkeeper Marin Sego recorded seven saves. For Belarus, Mikita Vajlopau scored eight goals.

Lino Cervar's side opened the match excellently against Belarus. After the initial score of 1:1, they only increased their lead. After 11 minutes of play, Croatia led 6:2, and in the next minute came a five-goal advantage (7:2). Belarus managed to reduce the gap to two for 7:5. After Belarus came just a goal behind (7:6), Cervar called for a timeout. 

With two Karacic goals, Croatia was up by 3 for 11:8 in the 25th minute of the match. Cindric scored for 13:10 with two minutes remaining and Karacic’s new goal put Croatia up by 4 for 14:10. At 113 kilometers per hour, Cindric scored for 15:10. Croatia was then a player up. 

Duvnjak scored to open the second half and Croatia led 16:10. A Sego save was followed by Mandic's goal for 17:10. Stepancic increased the lead to +8 (18:10). Two more Stepancic goals followed, first for 20:11, then for 21:12. In the 44th minute, Croatia was up by10 for 24:14. Cervar finished the match by trying new combinations and rested the most important players. Josip Sarac scored two goals and Matej Asanin came in for Sego. 

The Montenegro handball team defeated Serbia 22:21 (11:10) in the second game of Group A. With this outcome, Croatia secured first place in the group and will move on to the second round in Vienna, where they will transfer a maximum of two points. Thus,  the Croatia-Serbia meeting on Monday is irrelevant.

Group A (Graz):

CROATIA - Belarus 31:23 (15:10)

Montenegro - Serbia 22:21 (11:10)

1. CROATIA 2 2 0 0 58:44 4

2. Belarus 2 1 0 1 58:61 2

3. Montenegro 2 1 0 1 43:48 2

4. Serbia 2 0 0 2 51:57 0

Source: HRT

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

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Team Opens Tournament with Win Against Montenegro

January 9, 2020 - The Croatia handball team opened the European Championship in Graz with a win against Montenegro 27-21 (12-13) in Group A.

Croatia and Montenegro met in front of 5,000 spectators on Thursday at the Stadthalle Hall in Graz, Austria, to begin their European Championship campaign.

Croatia showed a lot of weaknesses in the first half, especially in the defense, but the persistent Montenegrin team was broken at the beginning of the second half thanks to a 9-3 series. Croatia was phenomenal in the second half and overcame any weaknesses shown in the first.

Croatia started the match with two missed shots by Cindric, and their first goal came only in the 5th minute. Montenegro led 3-1. By the 19th minute, Croatia came to an advantage for the first time and was up by two goals (9-7).

However, Lino Cervar's side failed to reach a more significant advantage by the end of the first half. Moreover, Montenegrin goalkeeper Simic defended well, and with a mini-series of 4-0, Montenegro led 13-11 at the end of the half. Maric scored in the last second of the first half for 12-13.

At the beginning of the second half, and namely in the first five minutes, Croatia had a 5-1 series to lead 17-14. Croatia then increased their lead to 21-16 in the 46th minute. With a Mandic goal, Croatia increased their lead by six goals (23-17) and the Cowboys secured a peaceful ending to the game, with debutants Sarac, Ravnic, Matanovic and Hrstic entering the court. 

Luka Cindric was the most efficient for Croatia with six goals, followed by Marino Maric and Zlatko Horvat, who scored four each and Marin Sipic, who scored three goals. Montenegro was led by Nemanja Grbovic (6) and Vladan Lipovina (4).

In round 2 on Saturday, Croatia plays against Belarus at 4 pm, and Serbia-Montenegro will meet at 6.15 pm.

The two first-ranked teams from the group move to the second round in Vienna.

Source: HRT

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

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Croatia Cup: Croatia Handball Tops Qatar, Wins Tournament in Porec

January. 5, 2019 - In the final match of the Croatia Cup 2020 on Sunday, the Croatia handball team defeated Qatar 33:28 and thus won the tournament in Porec.

HRT reports that Qatar beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 30:27 on Friday, and because Croatia played 33:33 against BiH on Saturday, this was a direct fight for first place.

Again, there were many ups and downs in Croatia’s game, but the victory was still great encouragement ahead of the start of the European Championship. 

“We played a lot harder, more responsible, and it was definitely a better show and that is the path we should actually follow. In the first half, our defense was not very good, at 5-1, we received some easy goals, so the weaker part of the game was in the first half. We created chances in the attack but missed a lot of shots. There was a major change in the second half in the sense that our defense became much more solid. Fifteen minutes later, we found the key to the defense and that was decisive in this match,” said coach Lino Cervar after the match.

The best for Croatia was certainly Luka Cindric, who scored eight goals from nine shots. Luka Stepancic was also among the top scorers with five goals, while Frankis Marzo was the best for Qatar with eight goals.

“We expected a tough match, a fight, but on the other hand, they also have a Spanish coach, so they could also outsmart us tactically. However, I think that the coach saw what he could do better in these two games, what was good, what else we should work on and I am pleased that we won this Cup again and that we are going with that win to the Euros, so there will be a positive atmosphere,” said Luka Stepancic.

The European Championship is scheduled for January 9-26, and Croatia will play in Graz with Montenegro, Belarus and Serbia in the first round.

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