Croatia Handball Edges Out Belgium in Dramatic 2024 EURO Qualifying Match

Daniela Rogulj

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After beating Greece in the 1st EHF EURO 2024 qualification round, a new challenge awaited the Croatia men’s handball team. On Sunday, Croatia played in Hasselt against Belgium, a national team that has made great strides in the last few years and is rapidly approaching major competitions.

Hrvoje Horvat took 18 players to Belgium. He decided to spare Ivan Pešić, Veron Načinović, and Vlada Matanović. The first two missed the first match, and instead of Vlado Matanović, Horvat took Luka Lovre Klarica to Belgium. 

Qualifications for EURO 2024 began for Croatia on October 12 against Greece. The 2024 EHF European Men’s Handball Championship will be hosted in Germany from  January 10 to 28, 2024. This will be the 16th handball Euros and the third to feature 24 national teams. 


Belgium: Lettens, Brixhe, Serras, Braun, S. Spooren, Colman, Vandebeeck, Vancosen, Kedziora, Danesi, Glorieux, Qerimi, Gille, De Beule, R. Spooren, Deekens

Croatia: Marić, Duvnjak, Šarac, Karačić, Musa, Cindrić, Mandić, Lučin, Jaganjac, Kuzmanović, Martinović, Šipić, Šego, Glavaš, Klarica, Jelinić

Match report

FULL-TIME Croatia managed to beat Belgium in a tough match – 27:30

59′ Lučin brings Croatia back to a two-goal lead with less than a minute left in the match

58′ Croatia goes back up to two goals. Lučin and Duvnjak lead Croatia. Belgium calls a time-out

57′ Qerimi continues brilliantly, finds the pivot with an excellent ball behind Croatia’s defense. Glavaš misses a chance to score, and Belgium equalizes

53′ Tin Lučin manages to bring Croatia to a two-goal lead, but Belgium immediately responds 

50′ The game is goal for goal; Jelinić keeps Croatia level with two goals, while we have no solution for Belgium’s attacks

46′ After Cindrić’s goal, Qerimi returns. Croatia fails to stop Belgium’s attacks

43′ Kuzmanović is excellent in goal with his seventh save, preventing Belgium’s new lead. Jelinić brings Croatia back to one goal behind

39′ Horvat loses patience and calls a time-out. Belgium takes its first lead in the match

38′ Belgium equalized, Croatia started to struggle in the attack 

36′ Croatia’s defense suffered. Belgium failed to equalize only because of two great reactions from Kuzmanović

33′ Martinović continues brilliantly, but Qerim responds on the other side. Marino Marić enters the pivot position for the first time in today’s game

31′ The second half begins in Hasselt, Croatia has a two-goal advantage, and Belgium has the first attack

HALFTIME: Croatia leads 15:13 in Hasselt, Belgium, but it is far from what was expected against Belgium

30′ Martinović and Lučin bring Croatia back to a two-goal advantage

28′ After an excellent defense, Kuzmanović passes the ball to Belgium, who returns to one goal behind 

25′ Croatia plays on the outside line; the defense is still the biggest problem; Karačić, Lučin, and Martinović keep Croatia at three goals ahead 

22′ Croatia does not capitalize on three attacks in a row, Belgium returns to just a goal behind, time-out called by Hrvoje Horvat

15′ The first time-out of the match was called by Belgium. Croatia is good in the attack but allows too much in the defense

12 ‘Driving from the outside line and with David Mandić’s goal, Croatia reached a comfortable three-goal lead

9′ Croatia does not manage to break away; the game is goal for goal

4′ Two consecutive goals by Belgium and a short lead before Luka Cindrić’s goal to equalize

2′ Domagoj Duvnjak scored the first goal of the match

1′ Croatia went for its second victory against Belgium in the 2024 European Championship qualifiers

Source: Jutarnji List

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