The Croatia women’s handball team lost to Spain 25:29 in the Mediterranean Games final in Oran. It is the second silver medal in the history of this Croatia national team. In addition, they have one gold and two bronze medals.
Spain opened the match brilliantly. After less than 6 minutes, they led 0:4. Croatia was also further depleted by the injuries of Lucija Bešen and Andrea Šimara during the tournament.
Little by little, Croatia came to -1 (5:6) in the 11th minute. It was also Croatia’s biggest series of three consecutive goals in the first 30 minutes. Spain responded even stronger, and their streak ended at four straight goals. In the 18th minute, they had a double advantage (6:12).
Spain’s biggest advantage was six goals about seven minutes before halftime. However, Croatia reduced it to -4 (13:17), leaving the game open for the second half.
Croatia kicked off the second half with a 6:3 series and managed to get to -1 (20:19). Unfortunately, they couldn’t get back ahead. Spain brought in fresh legs from the bench, and Croatia felt a lot of fatigue. Entering the last ten minutes, Spain again led by four goals.
It was goal for goal at the very end, and Spain wisely stayed ahead and deservedly celebrated 25:29. With nine goals from 19 attempts, the best for Croatia was Katarina Pavlović, while Stela Posavec scored four goals. The best for Spain was captain Carmen Campos Costa with nine goals.
“The final match against Spain started worse for us. We conceded three or four goals in the first few minutes, so we were immediately forced to call a time-out. Nevertheless, we played one brave game, one good game that was decided by the details related to physical preparation. We should not forget that Spain had 18 days of preparation for these Mediterranean Games, and we had only five days of preparation, and well, in some details, that was the deciding factor.
I can only say that I am incredibly proud of these girls for all that they endured in these 20 days, from Prelog to Algeria. We didn’t have the slightest problem; the girls behaved the way players representing Croatia should. They did their best and achieved what few expected. We reached the final, and we did not embarrass ourselves in that final. We played a very, very good game. Those couple of foul shots and technical mistakes put us in a situation to lose, which means nothing. We showed at this tournament that Croatia has a future, that Croatia has a heart, and that these are still the majority of players who usually do not have a chance to play for Croatia. Still, each of them showed a heart and a huge desire to be a part of what is called Croatia in the future national team,” said coach Nenad Šoštarić.
In the bronze match, Serbia beat Portugal 26:22.
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