January 17, 2019 – The Croatia handball team met Spain for the decisive game of Group B on Thursday evening, which ultimately decided the winner of their group.
After four impressive wins at the World Men’s Handball Championship against Iceland, Japan, Macedonia, and Bahrain, Croatia met Spain for the highly anticipated match of Group B. Some 10,000 Croatian fans were said to be in the stands on Thursday night.
While Spain started the scoring in the game with a goal in the first minute for 0:1, Luka Stepančić scored to equalize in the 2nd.
Spain, unfortunately, kept their momentum, scoring for 1:3 in the third minute, though Željko Musa scored for 2:3 in the 4th.
Marin Šego showed his brilliance in goal again, saving what could have been two goals, and Musa scored again for Croatia to equalize in the 7th! Spain scored for 3:4 in the 9th, though Croatia’s captain Domagoj Duvnjak equalized in the 10th for 4:4.
In the 11th minute, Croatia took the lead for the first time in the game with a goal by Luka Cindrić – 5:4!
Zlatko Horvat scored from 7-meters in the 14th minute for the Croatia lead – 6:4! And Horvat scored again in the 16th for 7:5.
Spain equalized for 7:7 in the 17th.
Croatia was granted another shot from 7-meters, and Horvat scored again for the Croatia lead – 8:7… and again for 9:7!
Croatia achieved their biggest lead yet in the 22nd, and Musa scored for 10:7 and again for 11:7, which was his fourth goal of the game.
It was 12:7 for Croatia in the 25th minute thanks to another stunner by . Zlatko Horvat! What a game for Horvat and Musa, who scored for +5 advantage in the 26th (13:8).
The first half ended 13:10 for Croatia.
Šego made an incredible save to start off the second half, though it was Spain to score first to come back 13:11.
Duvnjak hit a rocket for 14:11 just moments later, though Spain took advantage of an open goal for 14:12. Stepančić scored another stunner in the 33rd for 15:12, and a Croatian counterattack was unlucky.
Spain scored for 15:13 in the 35th and Duvnjak received a two-minute suspension. Fortunately, Zlatko Horvat secured another shot from 7-meters, and it was 16:13 for Croatia in the 36th.
Musa scored his first goal of the second half in the 38th minute for 17:14, and Šego’s incredible save moments later kept Croatia in the lead by 4.
Another goal for Zlatko Horvat from 7-meters brought Croatia up by 3 again – 18:5 Croatia in the 42nd!
Mandić scored for 19:16 in the 44th and Stepančić scored for 20:16 in the 45th.
With 12 minutes to go, Spain’s attack resulted in no goal – as did another… and another.
Less than 10 minutes to go, Spain came back for 20:17. Spain hit the post in the 54th and ended up scoring again one minute later for 20:18. Croatia was only up by two points with four minutes to go.
Mandić, fortunately, got a goal for Croatia in the 56th (21:18), though Spain got one immediately after (21:19).
Croatia was given a 7-meter shot in the 57th minute – which was a massive opportunity for the team. Zlatko Horvat scored for 22:19!
Two minutes to go, and Šego continued to be brilliant in goal – Spain didn’t have a chance.
One minute to go and Šipić nailed one for Croatia for 23:19! The final whistle blew, and Croatia not only beat Spain, but they won first in Group B!
Željko Musa was named the player of the match.
Croatia and Brazil will meet on Sunday at 6 pm.
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