Because the Croatia men’s handball team did not transfer any points to the next phase of the competition and lost to Montenegro 32:26 in the first game of the second round, their chances of reaching the European Handball Championship semifinals are slim. However, there is a glimmer of hope, reports T.portal.
So, how can Croatia move to the knockout stage of the competition?
1) The first condition is that Croatia can no longer lose and needs to win the next three games: Denmark (Saturday), Iceland (Monday), and the Netherlands (Wednesday). If they lose to Denmark, they have no shot.
2) The second condition comes down to the other results, of which the key one is for France to beat Denmark in the group derby. In that case, France would be first in the group with ten points, Croatia and Denmark would have six points each, and Montenegro and Iceland four points each.
3) In addition, some other results must coincide, so it is so important that Montenegro beats the Netherlands on Saturday, and France beats Iceland.
4) Furthermore, Denmark should be expected to win against the Netherlands and France against Montenegro. It is also important that Iceland outplays Montenegro.
Thus, Croatia does not depend on themselves, and needing to secure three consecutive victories, including against powerhouses Denmark and Iceland, is not totally realistic.
However, with so much at stake, coach Hrvoje Horvat decided to make several changes in the team in order to present the best possible players at the European Championship.
Against Denmark tomorrow, Kristian Pilipović will be part of the team, who today (January 21, 2022), acquired the right to play for Croatia, in addition to Lovro Mihić and Mateo Maraš.
“We go game by game, defeat hurts and we are not happy that we lost. We are in a specific situation where we need to constantly revise, always start all over again. It will be very difficult to play, we will need to be maximally concentrated and provide the best possible game,” said Horvat.
Croatia and Denmark meet on Saturday at 20:30.
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