Croatia Qualifies for 2023 World Handball Championships!

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

© Jozo Cabraja / kolektiff
© Jozo Cabraja / kolektiff

Croatia defeated Finland 21:34 in the first match of the 2nd round of qualifications for the 2023 World Championships and played the return match in Varaždin on Saturday, winning 36:22. The most efficient player was Marino Marić with 7 goals. Filip Glavaš added 6, Marin Jelinić 4, Halil Jaganjac and Tin Lučin 3 each, and Domagoj Duvnjak, Igor Karačić, Veron Načinović, Luka Cindrić, Davor Ćavar and Luka Lovre Klarica 2 each. Leon Šušnja scored one goal. Matej Mandić recorded 8 saves and Marin Šego recorded 5 in goal. 

With another convincing victory, Croatia sends a message to the handball world that it is back on track and ready for new challenges. Coach Hrvoje Horvat had another opportunity to test out some of the young forces that have had to jump in after a series of injuries. Thus, Luka Lovre Klarica, Mateo Maraš, Veron Načinović, Dominik Kuzmanović, or Matej Mandić will get playing time with Croatia again.

Croatia has never missed the World Championships. Croatia’s first appearance was 22 years ago in Iceland in 1995, when they won the silver medal. Croatia went on to win four medals after that – one gold (Portugal 2003), two silver (Tunisia 2005, Croatia 2009), and one bronze (Spain 2013). The 2023 World Championships in Sweden and Poland will be their 15th appearance, and as Croatia, Denmark, and Norway will host the 2025 World Championships, Croatia has already qualified for their 16th tournament. 

Interestingly, Croatia has also never lost at the Varaždin Arena. They played in the 2012 Olympic qualifiers there for the first time and recorded three victories: Japan 36:22, Chile 35:15, Iceland 31:28. The last performance was in the qualifications for the European Championship 2016 against Norway when Željko Babić was on the bench. Croatia celebrated 31:25. 

The World Championships are scheduled for January 11 to 29, 2023, and will feature 32 national teams. Hosts Poland and Sweden, world champions Denmark and France, Spain, Norway, Belgium, Bahrain, Qatar. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, and South Korea have already qualified. 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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