Croatia Handball Fiasco: Worst Placement in World Champs History, Will Coach Cervar Stay?

Daniela Rogulj

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After losing to Denmark, the Croatia national handball team said goodbye to the World Championship in Egypt. Apart from the debacle in the decisive match for the quarterfinals, Croatia has achieved its worst placement in the World Championship history.

The Cowboys thus finished in 15th place, behind Russia and ahead of Switzerland.

Before this World Championship in Egypt, the worst Croatian ranking at the World Championship was 13th place from the Japan tournament in 1997.

At that tournament in Japan, Croatia lost to Russia 31:20, which was the heaviest defeat for Croatia at the World Championships until now. Croatia lost by 12 goals (38:26) to Denmark on Monday. 

Recall, after the defeat by Argentina, which seriously complicated Croatia’s quarterfinal path, coach Lino Cervar resigned in a heated post-match interview. But will he stick to his resignation? Cervar revealed his plans after the Denmark defeat, as reported

“I said they were the favorites; they are world champions, especially without our core players who are not here. It was difficult for players who play less to resist Denmark. We played well in the first half, and later we ran out of strength. I want to congratulate our players on their wishes and will,” said Lino Cervar and continued:

“I want to say something. When I love someone who loves us, it’s not some merit. We should love those who do not love us. These are people who want to humiliate and minimize us, but I don’t think that’s good. I’ve loved people in my life who hated me, and that’s why I got better. We cannot be better off without mercy; it is important for our future.

In this situation, Denmark was stronger. This is not a failure for me; this is a real situation. I am a little sorry that I hurried with that statement,” pointed out Cervar about his resignation and continued:

“You cannot forget about the Croatia that played handball in 2020. You watched the Euro matches where we were the best national team; then we were very prepared. Duvnjak is the best player in Europe; he was sick, he had corona, and the other day he had a fever. Karacic still has that pain, but he wanted to help. Stepancic and Cindric are not there; what did you expect, that the young player from Nexe will be the one to solve it? Martinovic is a great talent, but he is not ready to overthrow Denmark yet; he has to train for a long time. I thought it was better that we went with the younger players to this championship; many national teams have rejuvenated their national team, they were in decline, and today they are moving towards the top. Let’s have a little understanding.

I would say to all our clubs and the federation that we have to help the clubs. People think we will win gold here, we have to have a lot of strong clubs that produce new players, new Duvnjaks… It will take a long time for new ones to come; we have a small base,” said Lino and ended in a positive tone:

“I will not completely leave handball while my head is working. I look older, but my head is working, sometimes I wish I would play better in defense,” said Cervar.

Croatia will gather in March for the Olympic qualifying tournament in France. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.  


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