Friday, 4 March 2022

EHF EURO 2022 Qualifiers: Croatia Women's Handball Falls to France in Koprivnica

March 4, 2022 - The Croatia women's handball team lost to France (19:21) in the 3rd round match of Group 4 in the EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers on Thursday. 

It was an exciting match in which Croatia did not give up even when they were far behind. However, in the end, Croatia missed two seven-meter throws.

Numerous injuries in the Croatia national team significantly changed the starting lineup compared to the World Champs. Coach Nenad Šoštarić, therefore, started with Ivana Kapitanović in goal, Andrea Šimara and Ana Turk on the wings, Ana Debelić as the pivot, and Valentina Blažević, Dora Krsnik, and Dejana Milosavljević in the outside positions. 

Unusual nervousness plagued both teams at the start. France missed four attacks (with two saves by Croatia's goalkeeper), and Croatia three. The first goal was scored at the beginning of the fifth minute by Andrea Šimara. On the other hand, France reached their first goal in the sixth minute. After that, they scored two more and held their advantage. Croatia played great defense, especially Ana Debelić and Kristina Prkačin, who held the middle.

Olivier Krumbholz was not overly pleased with his team's game and constantly rotated players for the ideal lineup to handle Croatia's defense. However, Croatia struggled in the attack but did not give up. In the 20th minute, it was 7:7.

France then scored two goals in a row for 7:9 in the 23rd minute. After that, Croatia could equalize from two seven-meter throws but missed both. Just 90 seconds before halftime, France went up by three goals for the first time - 8:11. With another goal in the last seconds before halftime, the result was 8:12. 

France opened the second half better. In five minutes, they scored three goals, and Croatia only one, making it +6 - 9:15. Croatia, however, showed character again. With three goals in a row in the 40th minute, they managed to halve the advantage of the Olympic winners and reach 13:16. Five minutes later, they were even closer, at minus two - 16:18. 

At 17:19, Croatia had two attacks to equalize, but France instead scored for 17:20 with seven minutes to go. 

Nevertheless, Croatia rose again. Josipa Mamić's goal just 90 seconds before the end put Croatia behind by only one goal - 19:20. However, France quickly responded on the other side for the final 19:21.

Valentina Blažević scored four goals and Dejana Milosavljević three. 

The return match will be played on Sunday at 17:30 in Toulouse.

Source: HRS

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

Thursday, 20 January 2022

EHF Euro 2022 Main Round: Croatia Falls to Montenegro in First Match of Group I (26:32)

 January 20, 2022 - Croatia falls to Montenegro 26:32 in the first match of Group I in the EHF Euro 2022 main round in Budapest. 

The main round of the European Handball Championship began on Thursday. Croatia met Montenegro in their first match of Group I.

Croatia enters the second round of the competition without points. Denmark, France, and Iceland transferred two points each, while Montenegro and the Netherlands also entered without points.

In Group II, Germany, Spain and Russia have two points each, while Norway, Sweden, and Poland have no points.

Croatia coach Hrvoje Horvat was not able to count on Valentin Ravnić today and invited three new players to the national team as COVID-19 plagued the roster. Thus, Mirko Alilović, Ivan Slišković, and Veron Načinović joined the Croatia squad. 

Recap

Cupic scored the first goal for Croatia for 1:0. Cindric scored for 2:2 in the 5th minute. It was 3:3 in the 8th minute. 

Montenegro was leading by 2 goals in the 12th minute - (3:5). Cupic scored for 4:6. Cindric scored for 5:7 in the 18th - and Cindric made it 6:8 in the 20th. 

Cupic scored his 3rd goal of the game for 7:9. Lucin made it 8:10 in the 24th and 9:11 a minute later. 

Montenegro was leading 13:9 with two minutes to go in the first half. A catastrophic end to the first half - Montenegro was up by 6 goals - 15:9.

Croatia goalkeeper Alilovic saved Montenegro's first attack of the second half. Cupic scored for 10:15 in the 31st minute. 

Alilovic saved Montenegro's next attack and Nacinovic scored for 11:15! 

It was 13:19 for Montenegro in the 38th minute before Cindric scored for 14:19 a minute later.

Gadza brought Croatia back to -5 in the 41st minute - 15:20. Cupic scored from 7 meters for 16:21 in the 43rd. Gadza scored again for 17:21. Mandic scored for 18:22 a minute later. 

Cupic and Martinovic made it 20:25 in the 48th. But Croatia's hope quickly dwindled - they were behind by 6 goals entering the final 10 minutes of the game, and Montenegro was up by 7 goals moments later. It was 28:20 for Montenegro in the 51st minute. 

Lucin scored for 21:28 with 7 minutes to go. Jelinic scored for 23:29 with 4 minutes left. Cupic scored for 24:30 with 3 minutes to go and it was 25:31 with 2 left. Cindric made it 26:31. The match ended 26:32 for Montenegro. 

Croatia plays Denmark next on Saturday. 

For today's remaining matches of Group I, France and the Netherlands play at 6 pm and Denmark and Iceland at 8:30 pm. In Group II, Russia and Sweden also met at 3:30 pm, Germany and Spain (6 pm), and Poland and Norway (8:30 pm).

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

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.  

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 Gol.hr.

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.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Olympic Qualifiers: First Croatia Handball Player List Under Coach Horvat Announced

February 9, 2021 - The first Croatia handball player list under coach Horvat has been released ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers next month. 

The new coach of the Croatia men's senior national team, Hrvoje Horvat, has published a list of 21 players he is counting on for the Olympic Qualifiers to be held in Montpellier from March 12 to 14, 2021. As is already known, Croatia is in a group with France, Portugal, and Tunisia. The two best national teams from each of the three groups will compete in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Apart from Montpellier, qualifying tournaments are also played in Berlin and Trondheim.

The player list also includes two well-known names who were not in Egypt at the World Championship - Luka Stepančić, a member of MOL-Pick Szeged, and Domagoj Pavlović, who plays for Melsungen. Both of these players were injured and could not compete in Egypt.

Croatia handball player list:

1. MARIN ŠEGO – MONTPELLIER HB
2. IVAN PEŠIĆ – HC MESHKOV BREST
3. MATE ŠUNJIĆ – US IVRY HANDBALL
4. IVAN ČUPIĆ – RK VARDAR 1961
5. ZLATKO HORVAT – RK METALURG SKOPJE
6. MANUEL ŠTRLEK – TELEKOM VESZPREM HC
7. DAVID MANDIĆ – RK PPD ZAGREB
8. ŽELJKO MUSA – SC MAGDEBURG
9. MARINO MARIĆ – MT MELSUNGEN
10. ILIJA BROZOVIĆ – TSV HANNOVER -BURGDORF
11. MARIN ŠIPIĆ – RK PPD ZAGREB
12. LUKA CINDRIĆ – BARCA
13. DOMAGOJ DUVNJAK – THW KIEL
14. IGOR KARAČIĆ – HC LOMZA VIVA KIELCE
15. MARKO MAMIĆ – SCDHFK LEIPZIG
16. HALIL JAGANJAC – RK NEXE
17. IVAN MARTINOVIĆ – HC HANNOVER -BURGDORF
18. DOMAGOJ PAVLOVIĆ – MT MELSUNGEN
19. LUKA ŠEBETIĆ – TREMBLAY EN FRANCE HANDBALL
20. LUKA STEPANČIĆ – MOL – PICK SZEGED
21. MATEJ HRSTIĆ – RK PPD ZAGREB

Hrvoje Horvat, the men's senior national team coach, on choosing this lineup:
"The skeleton of the national team is in some form as it was in the last two gatherings. We only hope that all the players on the list will be healthy and able to respond. There are no big surprises as far as players are concerned; there is very little time. My right hand on the bench will be Igor Vori, and I will not have a classic assistant coach. Matija Bilušić will sit on the bench as a goalkeeper coach, and I am happy to strengthen the staff with the goalkeeper coach. Two new physiotherapists, Goran Krušelj and Matija Rajnović will deal with this part of the job. A slightly thinner headquarters, but I believe that this is the right path and that we will show it."

When announcing his list of players, Horvat also announced the composition of the new staff. Thus, for the beginning of his term, Horvat will be without a classic assistant. The goalkeeper's coach remains Matija Bilušić, who also performed this task during the World Championship in Egypt. In the future, he will train goalkeepers and sit on the bench next to the coach. The new physiotherapists of the national team are Goran Kruselj and Matija Rajnovic. The rest of the staff remains unchanged. In other words, there are still Dr. Krešimir Rotim, Dr. Tomislav Kukin, director of all Croatia national teams Ivica Udovičić, sports director of men's national teams Igor Vori, who will continue to be on the bench, spokesperson and team manager Ivica Maraš, and technician Zdravko Mirilović.

Coaching staff:
1. HRVOJE HORVAT, COACH
2. MATIJA BILUŠIĆ, GOALIE COACH
3. MILJENKO RAK, CONDITIONING TRAINER
4. GORAN KRUŠELJ, PHYSIOTHERAPIST
5. MATIJA RAJNOVIĆ, PHYSIOTHERAPIST
6. KREŠIMIR ROTIM, MEDIC
7. TOMISLAV KUKIN, MEDIC
8. IVICA UDOVIČIĆ, DIRECTOR OF ALL NATIONAL TEAMS
9. IGOR VORI, SPORTS DIRECTOR OF MEN'S TEAMS
10. IVICA MARAŠ, SPOKESPERSON AND TEAM MANAGER
11. ZDRAVKO MIRILOVIĆ, TECHNICIAN

 

Source: HRS

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

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Hrvoje Horvat Named New Croatia Men's Handball Coach

January 28, 2021 - Former assistant coach Hrvoje Horvat will lead the Croatia men's handball team as the head coach after Lino Cervar's resignation. 

HRS reports that through a telephone session, the Croatian Handball Federation Board of Directors accepted the resignation of coach Lino Cervar. At the same time, the Board of Directors received a proposal from the Coordinator for Men's Handball, Lino Cervar, for three candidates to lead the Croatia men's senior national team - Hrvoje Horvat, Slavko Goluža, and Ivano Balić.

After an exhaustive discussion and detailed analysis of each of the offered candidates, it was determined that Ivano Balić, unfortunately, does not have the necessary credentials to act as a coach. Of the two remaining candidates, the Board of Directors, by a majority of votes, with one vote against and one abstention, and the non-declaration of a member who is busy with work obligations, decided to maintain continuity in the work of the national team and decided on Hrvoje Horvat as the coach of the Croatia men's senior national team.

Hrvoje Horvat, the new national team coach, commented on his appointment: 
"Thanks to the Board of Directors for trusting me. I am delighted. I would also like to thank the entire Croatian Handball Federation for these eight years of working with younger ages and Lino Cervar's assistant. Through all these years, I have gathered a lot of experience and knowledge, and I believe that it will help me lead the Croatia men's senior national team. Thanks, of course, to Mr. Lino Cervar for proposing me. I am aware of how much responsibility and obligation it is, but I believe that I can respond to all challenges and successfully lead Croatia."

The Croatia handball team will gather this spring for the critical Olympic qualifying tournament, which will take place in France in March. 

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

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Croatia and Denmark: Two Handball Powerhouses Meet in Decisive Monday Match

January 24, 2021 - Croatia and Denmark will meet on Monday in a decisive match for Croatia's fate in the quarterfinals of the World Championship in Egypt. What can we expect? 

Croatia suffered a shocking defeat to Argentina on Saturday night, complicating their path to the quarterfinals of the World Championship in Egypt. While a win would have locked in a spot among the eight best national teams, Croatia must now defeat reigning Olympic and World Champions Denmark and rely on a Qatar victory against Argentina to push them through to the next phase of the tournament. 

Argentina and Qatar play from 6 pm on Monday, and Croatia and Denmark meet two and a half hours later - at 8:30 pm CET.

Denmark is no stranger to Croatia, and behind Spain and France, it is a national team they have met the most times. Namely, Croatia and Denmark have played 18 times, with an even win-loss ratio - both teams have nine wins and nine losses, and they have never drawn. 

At the World Champs, Croatia and Denmark have met a handful of times.

In Portugal in 2003, on the road to the gold, Croatia celebrated 33:27 in a second-round match. Four years later, in Germany, Croatia won 28:26 in the second round in which Ivano Balić excelled with nine goals. In Sweden in 2011, in front of a packed Malmo Arena, Croatia lost 34:29. Kasper Sondergaard led Denmark with ten goals, and Mikkel Hansen scored nine goals. Croatia suffered an even heavier defeat in the 2013 semifinals. After seven consecutive wins, Denmark beat Croatia by 14 goals (34:20) and went on to the final. In the end, Croatia received the bronze medal, which is the last medal from the World Championship.

The two sides have met the most at the Euros, nine times, with four wins to Croatia and five to Denmark. You might remember the especially painful Euro 2008 final when Denmark won 24:20. 

But the European medal is just one of many in Denmark's collection. Namely, they have won the second-most medals won in European Championship history, with a total of six - two gold (2008, 2012), one silver (2014), and three bronze medals (2002, 2004 & 2006). Only Spain has more.

And let's not forget that as of January 2019, they are the reigning Olympic and World Champions. Denmark topped France in Rio and Norway at the World Championship hosted in Denmark and Germany two years ago. 

But when Croatia plays like we know they can, they are a force to be reckoned with, too. 

The Cowboys' shaky World Championship campaign can be attributed to a few things. For starters, captain Domagoj Duvnjak and Luka Cindric had just played in the Champions League final before traveling to Egypt. If they weren't already fatigued, Duvnjak also battled COVID-19 and Cindric an adductor injury, which sent him back home to Barcelona to recover. 

Furthermore, Igor Karacic and Luka Stepancic had to cancel their preparations with Croatia due to injuries, and Marin Sego and Manuel Strlek were still in the process of recovery. Recall, Sego didn't return to the starting lineup until the 19th minute of the Qatar match, thus missing Croatia's first two group stage matches against Japan and Angola. 

To make matters worse, several team members complained of stomach problems the day before Argentina, and Ivan Martinovic and Domagoj Duvnjak were in the worst condition. Martinovic missed training and tested for coronavirus as a precaution, but the result was negative. Other players felt weaker symptoms, which was undoubtedly concerning before the most crucial match of the tournament so far. 

Fortunately, two hours before yesterday's match, the Croatian Handball Federation confirmed that everyone would be ready, though we failed to see that reflected on the court.

Croatia was mostly lost in the attack against Argentina, and the game went down as one of the worst in Croatian handball history.

Coach Lino Cervar even resigned from the bench afterward and said that Croatia must be led by someone else. Cervar's harsh reaction came while Croatia still technically has a chance for the quarterfinals - and one Qatar player could be their hope. 

As mentioned before, Croatia is no longer dependent on itself and must rely on Qatar on Monday in the clash against Argentina.

Namely, Gol.hr reports that Qatar can also make it to the quarterfinals with a win against Argentina and a Croatia defeat against Denmark. 

Qatar will indeed play their best for a victory, especially since the team's top player returned to the squad only yesterday after coming down with COVID-19. Rafel Capote scored nine goals in his first match at the tournament yesterday against Bahrain and showed that he is in great form and ready to overcome Argentina.

Capote is a great shooter, and in addition to the always unpleasant Saric in goal, Qatar has several serious players who can challenge Argentina. 

So, who will it be? Monday is D-Day. Tune in from 6 pm CET! 

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.

Gol.hr 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.

Gol.hr 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.

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