Croatia Qualifies for 2024 European Handball Championship!

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

April 26, 2023 – The Croatia men’s handball team defeated Greece 31-26 (10-10) in Halkida and qualified for the 2024 European Handball Championship in Germany!

Croatia visited Greece on Wednesday and was welcomed in a half-empty hall in Halkida, however a bigger turnout was announced. Until the eighth minute of the game, Croatia had a minimal lead (4-3), followed by a nine-minute period without a goal. Greece then took the 6-4 lead with three consecutive goals, with many missed opportunities to increase their advantage.

At no time did Greece manage to go ahead by more than a two-goal difference, and at the end of the first half, Luka Cindrić and Domagoj Duvnjak brought Croatia to a tie (10-10).

New Croatia representative Mario Šoštarić opened the second half with a goal for 11-10, the first Croatian lead after the eighth minute of the game. Greece held the lead until 14-14, and with goals from Marin Šipić and Cindrić in the 41st minute, Croatia gained a three-goal advantage for the first time (18-15).

By the 16th minute of the second half, the much more playful Croatia attack had already scored 11 goals, one more than in the entire first half. Although Greece was also more efficient than in the first half, they could not keep up with Croatia’s pace driven by Luka Cindrić, who finished the match as the top scorer with nine goals and managed to create opportunities for his teammates as well.

In the 49th minute, Croatia took a four-goal advantage for the first time (23-19). In the end, Croatia maintained that advantage and reached the victory that brought them to first place in the group and a guaranteed spot at the European Championship.

Luka Cindrić led Croatia to victory with nine goals, while Mario Šoštarić and Josip Šarac scored five each. Mateo Maraš and Marin Šipić scored three goals each, and goalkeeper Marin Šego recorded seven saves. Savvas was the best for Greece with six goals, while Liapis scored five. Goalkeeper Boukovinas made eight saves.

Croatia has seven points from five games, one more point than Greece. In third place is the Netherlands with five points, but also with one less game, which they will play tonight against Belgium, at the bottom of the table with no points.

The first two spots guarantee placement in the final tournament in Germany and a better place in the draw, and the four best third-placed national teams from the eight qualifying groups will also advance.

In the last round, scheduled for Sunday, April 30, Croatia will host Belgium in Rijeka, while the Netherlands will host Greece.

Source: HRT

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