Junior World Championship: Croatia Handball Star Ivan Martinović Named MVP

Daniela Rogulj

The Under-21 Croatia handball team may have lost in the final of the Junior World Handball Championship, but the young squad brought a historical result to Croatia – the first World Championship medal in this age category.

On Sunday, Croatia lost to France in the final 28:23, though they did boast one victory France could not – the MVP of the competition, announced HVS on July 28, 2019.

Namely, Ivan Martinović was declared the best player of the Junior World Championship in Spain, and Fran Mileta made the tournament’s all-star team!

“Congratulations to France on a deserved victory. They were better. They had some problems in the group stage, but they got better as the tournament went on, as usual. Eventually, they brought in Elohim Prandi, who is the new player for the best team in the world, PSG. It only confirms how much they wanted this gold.

Congratulations to our boys, of course. They were great. There were some tears in the dressing room as they felt they could have done a little better. If it were not for Ivan Martinović, Filip Vistorop or Josip Šarac and the others, we would not have been in the final.

Thank you once again to the whole staff that has worked so intensely for these 40 days to come to this end. This is trainer Dinko Đanković, goalkeeper coach Marko Markiš, who scouted our opponents from Germany and assisted the goalkeepers. And Danijel Brajković, Željko Kercel, and Zdravko Mirilović.

We can be proud because we have the MVP of the World Championship, Ivan Martinović, and right-winger Fran Mileta who made the all-star team of the championship, and he was born in 2000! Our ultimate goal is that from this generation, 5 or 6 of them will play for the A-team.

Ivan Martinović, the tournament’s MVP,  also had a few things to say: 

“I’m so happy with how we played. Many of us were eliminated after the sixth place last year in Slovenia at the Euros. But we knew we were worth it. At every moment, in each game, we gave our best. We used our strengths to their final limits and maybe that even partially decided the final. As for the MVP, I would turn it in for a gold medal without even thinking. In any case, thanks to the teammates who helped me with this feat.”

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