January 20, 2019 – The Croatia handball team met Brazil in the main round of the World Handball Championship on Sunday.
Croatia and Brazil met at 18:00 at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne for the first game of the main round of the World Handball Championship. Recall, Croatia won first in the Group B preliminary round after winning all five games against Iceland, Japan, Macedonia, Bahrain, and Spain.
In Croatia’s first main round game, Brazil started with the attack and was the first to score for 1:0 in the first minute. Croatia equalized just 40 seconds later as Duvnjak scored for 1:1. Croatia’s hero goalkeeper Šego made incredible saves, though Brazil was up 3:1 in the fourth minute.
Štrlek brought Croatia back to 3:2 in the sixth minute, though Brazil was up 4:2 in the 7th.
Štrlek scored again for Croatia to make it 4:3 moments later, though Brazil quickly made it 6:3 in the ninth, forcing Croatia coach Červar to call a timeout.
Croatia was behind by 5 in the 11th minute and had a 7-meter throw shortly after – though Horvat hit the post and missed.
Croatia’s quick attack after, however, saw Duvnjak get a goal for 8:4 in the 12th minute. And Duvnjak scored again for 8:5.
Brazil took no time to increase their lead again, and by the 16th minute, it was 10:5. Moments later, it was 11:5.
Stepančić scored his first goal of the game in the 17th minute for 11:6. Musa scored his first goal of the game in the 19th minute for 12:7.
Stepančić scored again for 12:8 in the 21st, though Brazil was up by five still moments later.
Luka Cindrić scored in the 22nd for 13:9, and Štrlek scored for 14:10. Croatia was down by 4 with 8 minutes to go in the first half.
Stepančić brought Croatia to minus 3 (14:11), forcing Brazil to take a timeout.
With five minutes to go, Duvnjak scored for 15:12 – and with 3 to go, Štrlek scored for 16:13.
The first half ended with Brazil up 17:13.
The second half started with a Croatia attack and an unsuccessful attempt by Stepančić, though Zlatko Horvat scored for 17:14 in the 32nd minute. Croatia was behind by five again shortly after as Brazil scored for 19:14. And then 20:14 seconds later.
Croatia scored for 20:15 in the 35th and Mandić missed a one-on-one with the keeper for what should have been an easy goal. Stepančić scored for 21:16.
Brazil went up by 6 in the 38th minute, though Croatia went back to behind by 5 in the 39th (22:17). Horvat scored on a counter attack for minus 4 in the 39th (22:18) – and he scored again for 23:19.
Šipić scored for 24:20 in the 42nd.
Zlatko Horvat nailed a 7-meter throw in the 46th for 25:21.
Duvnjak scored for 26:22 in the 49th.
With 10 minutes to go, Stevanović made three incredible saves in goal, and Karačić scored for 26:23. Croatia was picking up their attack.
Horvat scored for 26:24 with 8 minutes to go – and Vranković scored for 26:25 seconds later!
With four minutes to go, it was 28:25 for Brazil. Duvnjak scored for 28:26 in the 57th minute.
Croatia made an incredible comeback, though it wasn’t enough for the win. Brazil won 29:26.
Croatia will also meet Germany in the main round on Monday, followed by France on Wednesday. The semi-finals of the tournament will feature the two first-place teams from each group in the main round, and Croatia will most likely need two wins from these three games to advance further.
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