In the fourth round of the 2020 European Championship qualifiers, the Croatia handball team achieved their third victory.
The Croatia handball team topped Serbia 27:23 in Zadar on Sunday and secured a spot in the European Championship, which will be played in Austria, Norway and Sweden in 2020, reports HRT on April 14, 2019.
With a great atmosphere in front of around 7,000 spectators at the Krešimir Ćosić hall in Zadar, the Cowboys demonstrated that they are a much better team than the one we saw draw to Serbia in Belgrade last Thursday.
Croatia’s victory was led by Manuel Štrlek who hit eight goals and Domagoj Duvnjak who had four goals and four assists. Josip Božić-Pavletić and Marko Mamić scored three goals each. Serbia was led by Pušica, Pešić, Nemanja Ilić and Zelenović who each scored three goals.
Serbia’s initial advantage (0-2) was reversed by Croatia thanks to the favorite Manuel Štrlek, who scored five of the first seven goals for Croatia. Croatia captain Domagoj Duvnjak became the primary playmaker, and with his assists, Croatia was up by six goals in the 20th minute (13-7), which was the result going into the second half.
Eight minutes into the second half, Serbia was just three goals behind (18-15). However, this was the closest they were able to get, thanks to Croatia’s strong defense and the well-versed goalkeeper Filip Ivić. Croatia ended the game up by four points (27-23).
In the second game of Group 2, Switzerland convincingly defeated Belgium 36-22 (16-11) in Schaffhausen.
Croatia has seven points in Group 2 which are enough to secure a spot in the European Championship. Switzerland is in second with six. Croatia will play Switzerland away on June 12 and end their qualifications against Belgium at the Žatika hall in Poreč.
In addition to the first two teams from all eight groups, the four best third-placed teams will play in the European Championship, hosted by Austria, Sweden and Norway in January 2020.
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