Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Moves into Second Round after Win against Belarus

Daniela Rogulj

January 11, 2020 – The Croatia handball team defeated Belarus in Graz 31:23 (15:10) in the second match of Group A at the European Championship. After an initial victory against Montenegro (27:21), and with Montenegro’s win against Serbia, the ‘Cowboys’ secured first place in the group and the second round of the tournament in Vienna.

Igor Karacic scored six goals for Croatia, while Luka Stepancic scored five, Domagoj Duvnjak scored four, and Luka Cindric and David Mandic scored three goals. Goalkeeper Marin Sego recorded seven saves. For Belarus, Mikita Vajlopau scored eight goals.

Lino Cervar’s side opened the match excellently against Belarus. After the initial score of 1:1, they only increased their lead. After 11 minutes of play, Croatia led 6:2, and in the next minute came a five-goal advantage (7:2). Belarus managed to reduce the gap to two for 7:5. After Belarus came just a goal behind (7:6), Cervar called for a timeout. 

With two Karacic goals, Croatia was up by 3 for 11:8 in the 25th minute of the match. Cindric scored for 13:10 with two minutes remaining and Karacic’s new goal put Croatia up by 4 for 14:10. At 113 kilometers per hour, Cindric scored for 15:10. Croatia was then a player up. 

Duvnjak scored to open the second half and Croatia led 16:10. A Sego save was followed by Mandic’s goal for 17:10. Stepancic increased the lead to +8 (18:10). Two more Stepancic goals followed, first for 20:11, then for 21:12. In the 44th minute, Croatia was up by10 for 24:14. Cervar finished the match by trying new combinations and rested the most important players. Josip Sarac scored two goals and Matej Asanin came in for Sego. 

The Montenegro handball team defeated Serbia 22:21 (11:10) in the second game of Group A. With this outcome, Croatia secured first place in the group and will move on to the second round in Vienna, where they will transfer a maximum of two points. Thus,  the Croatia-Serbia meeting on Monday is irrelevant.

Group A (Graz):

CROATIA – Belarus 31:23 (15:10)

Montenegro – Serbia 22:21 (11:10)

1. CROATIA 2 2 0 0 58:44 4

2. Belarus 2 1 0 1 58:61 2

3. Montenegro 2 1 0 1 43:48 2

4. Serbia 2 0 0 2 51:57 0

Source: HRT

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