HEP Croatia Cup: Croatia Handball Defeats Italy, Wins Tournament

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

After defeating Montenegro 34:22 on Friday, Croatia overcame Italy in their second match of the HEP Croatia Cup 28:20.

The Croatia handball team took first place in the HEP Croatia Cup in Poreč, which served as the team’s last check-up before the upcoming World Cup in Germany and Denmark, reports Gol.hr on January 5, 2019. 

Croatia started the game brilliantly and quickly lead 3:0 – and then fell, without explanation. Croatia was left without real solutions and allowed Italy to equalize in the 12th minute at 6:6. Croatia managed to secure a two-goal advantage, though their edge was due mostly to Marin Šego who collected seven saves for as much as 50 percent of the defense in the first 20 minutes. 

However, Šego did not manage to defend everything, and in the 26th minute, Italy equalized at 9:9. In the end, Croatia could at least be happy they had the advantage, albeit a small one, at the half (11:10).

The continuation of the match in the second half brought forth a slightly better Croatia. After the first ten minutes, Croatia secured a +5 advantage (18:13), but a new low in Croatia’s game allowed Italy to come back in the last 10 minutes of the match to just two points behind (20:18). The end of the game, fortunately, was in Croatia’s favor. With four consecutive goals, Croatia managed +6 (24:18) and ended the game 28:20.

“I was not worried, we controlled this game. We go to Germany in two days, and everyone was careful so that no one got hurt,” coach Lino Červar said, who will cut five players before the team heads to Germany.

Červar emphasized that he had made his decision on the final list of players for the World Cup. 

“I made the decision, but I respect the players, and they will find out first,” the Croatian strategist stressed.

The best player for Croatia was Luka Stepančić who scored seven goals, though Croatia’s goalkeepers were also top – Filip Ivić collected 11 saves and Marin Šego seven. Damir Mandić added five goals, and Domagoj Duvnjak and Marin Šipić each had three goals. Andrea Carolo Parisini was best for Italy with six goals, and Alessio Moretti had four goals, while Domenico Ebner had ten defenses.

Before this match, the Croatia team was joined by Damir Bičanić, the silver medalist at the Mediterranean Games in Almeria in 2005 and the European Championship finalist in Austria five years later.

“Before the meeting with Italy, the coach had a conversation with Bičanić and explained his expectations and the need for him to join the team in Poreč,” said HRS.

Croatia’s first encounter at the World Cup is on Friday, January 11 in Munich against Iceland. The following day Croatia will rest, then face Japan (January 13), Macedonia (January 14), and Bahrain (January 16). The last match of Group B will be against Spain on January 17.

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


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment