Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Team Opens Tournament with Win Against Montenegro

Daniela Rogulj

January 9, 2020 – The Croatia handball team opened the European Championship in Graz with a win against Montenegro 27-21 (12-13) in Group A.

Croatia and Montenegro met in front of 5,000 spectators on Thursday at the Stadthalle Hall in Graz, Austria, to begin their European Championship campaign.

Croatia showed a lot of weaknesses in the first half, especially in the defense, but the persistent Montenegrin team was broken at the beginning of the second half thanks to a 9-3 series. Croatia was phenomenal in the second half and overcame any weaknesses shown in the first.

Croatia started the match with two missed shots by Cindric, and their first goal came only in the 5th minute. Montenegro led 3-1. By the 19th minute, Croatia came to an advantage for the first time and was up by two goals (9-7).

However, Lino Cervar’s side failed to reach a more significant advantage by the end of the first half. Moreover, Montenegrin goalkeeper Simic defended well, and with a mini-series of 4-0, Montenegro led 13-11 at the end of the half. Maric scored in the last second of the first half for 12-13.

At the beginning of the second half, and namely in the first five minutes, Croatia had a 5-1 series to lead 17-14. Croatia then increased their lead to 21-16 in the 46th minute. With a Mandic goal, Croatia increased their lead by six goals (23-17) and the Cowboys secured a peaceful ending to the game, with debutants Sarac, Ravnic, Matanovic and Hrstic entering the court. 

Luka Cindric was the most efficient for Croatia with six goals, followed by Marino Maric and Zlatko Horvat, who scored four each and Marin Sipic, who scored three goals. Montenegro was led by Nemanja Grbovic (6) and Vladan Lipovina (4).

In round 2 on Saturday, Croatia plays against Belarus at 4 pm, and Serbia-Montenegro will meet at 6.15 pm.

The two first-ranked teams from the group move to the second round in Vienna.

Source: HRT

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