Croatian Handball Team Celebrates Win After Thrilling Friendly Against Slovenia in Zagreb

Daniela Rogulj

Croatian handball players defeated Slovenia to a packed Arena Zagreb last night.

Around 10,000 spectators gathered at Arena Zagreb last night to watch the thrilling friendly match between Croatia and Slovenia. After a draw in Ljubljana earlier this week between the two nations, our Croatian “Cowboys” triumphed 21-20 (9-11), reports on October 28, 2017.

Croatian handballers began the match much stronger than Slovenia, leading in the 18th minute 7-4. In the second part of the first half, however, Slovenia began to dominate – achieving two goals in the last three minutes for an 11-9 lead.

Croatia continued the second half with determination, and after the 49th minute with goals by Lovre Mihić and Cindrić, they took back the lead for 19-17. The Cowboys could not hold on for long, and an exquisite display by Slovenia allowed them to equalize for 19-19 in the 55th minute.

A nail-biter until the last minutes, in the very end, the Cowboys pulled out a victory. Igor Vori became the hero in the 57th minute with a goal for 20-19, and Čupić, in the final minute of the match, saved the day with a hit for 21-20. 

Croatia’s most effective player was Ivan Čupić who achieved six goals, and Igor Karačić and Mario Vuglač both celebrated four. Slovenia’s team was led by Jure Dolenec who achieved eight hits, and Miha Zarabec who scored three.

Being that it was the second friendly match between Croatia and Slovenia this week, the game was fueled by fouls and player exclusions. Two of Slovenia’s players received red cards during the game. 

On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the two nations met in Ljubljana for the first leg of this friendly series which ended in a draw (26-26). 

The friendly matches were played as part of the representative preparations, and Croatia’s coach Lino Červar could not count on Domagoj Duvnjak, Mark Kopljar and Luk Šebetić due to injury. 

The national team will reunite again in late December to prepare for the European Championships where Croatia is the host. From January 12 to 28, 2018, the European Championships will be held in Split, Poreč, Varaždin and Zagreb. 

Translated from


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