The Croatia handball team ended their Euro 2020 qualifiers on Sunday against Belgium in Poreč, though the game meant little as Croatia already secured first place in their group. Thus, coach Lino Červar was able to give the young players in his squad a chance, reports Gol.hr on June 16, 2019.
“The young players who play less have shown strong will, vigor and determination. Of course, I am happy, and I have to congratulate them, they have done their best so that we have endured this difficult cycle,” said the Croatia handball team coach Lino Červar after defeating Belgium (28:19) in the final qualifying round for the 2020 European Championship. Recall, the 2020 Euros will be held in Austria, Sweden, and Norway in January next year.
Croatia also secured the first place in the group and a place in the European Championship in the second to last round against Switzerland.
Thanks to that result, Červar allowed the younger players to show what they are worth against Belgium. Fortunately, their power wasn’t questioned at any moment – Croatia was already up six goals at half-time and ended the game +9.
The most effective players for Croatia were David Mandić and Luka Mrakovčić who scored five goals, Josip Bozic-Pavletić who scored four, and Ivan Sršen and Tin Kontrec who scored three goals, while Filip Ivić had 11 saves.
“For the end of the season, we all got a good chance. We played well in difficult conditions. We have given our best and deserved the victory for Croatia,” said Mandić.
Mrakovčić added: “I think we used the opportunity well. We were well prepared for this encounter, we had a tight defense and worked well in the attack and that was our recipe. I think that we showed a real game and that we did what we came to Poreč to do, and that was a victory.”
“We have given our maximum and we did not underestimate Belgium. For the national team, you always push and give one hundred percent. I congratulate everyone, thank you to the wonderful audience that cheered for us from the first to the last minute,” said Ivić.
Thus, for the second time, Croatia has completed a qualifying round. without a defeat. This has so far only been achieved by Slavko Goluža who finished the qualifying round for the 2012 Euros with all six wins.
Lino Červar recorded a draw against Serbia.
Croatia will play in its 14th European Championship next year. The ‘Cowboys’ are the only national team, along with France and Spain, that has not missed any European Championship.
So far, Croatia has won five medalsat the European Championships – two silver (2010, 2008) and three bronze (2016, 2012, 1994).
The European Championship draw will be held on June 28 in Vienna, and the Croatian national team will be one of the top seeds in the draw.
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