New Cycle, New Era: Červar Announces List for World Handball Championship Qualifiers

Daniela Rogulj

The Croatia men’s handball team coach, Lino Červar, has released a list of players for the ‘new era’ of Croatian handball.

Croatia handball coach Lino Červar announced a list of players for the World Championship qualifying matches against Montenegro. Croatia will host the Montenegrins first at the Osijek’s City Garden on June 9 at 20:00. The return game will be played on June 14 in Podgorica at 20:00. The national team will gather on June 4 in Zagreb, after which they will head to Osijek, reports on May 23, 2018. 

Lino Červar, at the beginning of the press conference, highlighted what has happened with the team since the European Championship which took place in January in Croatia:

“After the European Championship and after the first two games in Sweden, we have three important tasks ahead. The first task is to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, and our opponent is Montenegro. Another task is the Mediterranean Games in Spain, while in October we await qualifications for the 2020 Euros.”

For placement into the 2019 World Championships, Croatia must overcome Montenegro, with the first match scheduled on June 9 in Osijek. Červar is happy that the team is finally going to Slavonia:

“We have the first match at home, in Osijek, on June 9, and I’m glad that after Split and Zagreb we will finally visit Slavonia. I know that we will have great support and we will be happy because Slavonia has always had an excellent relationship with the team.” 

”Montenegro is not an easy opponent. It will be a tough match, though some may not agree. Montenegro has coach Dragan Đukić, and they have gained a lot – and regardless of their placement in the Euros, they showed a good game. They have proved to be an uncomfortable opponent with good individuals. At home, they were victorious over Sweden, Germany, and Russia and therefore we have to be careful in the return match. We have to be serious and motivated in these games if we want to go to the World Championship. Several of their team members play in prestigious European games,” said the Croatian strategist of their upcoming opponent.

For the end of the qualifying session, Červar stressed that it is most important that all players be healthy and that the final list of 18 players who will compete for qualifying matches will be announced at the end of the month. 

“In Osijek, we need to take care of our players and make sure everyone is healthy. The Final Four is still ahead in Cologne. We have until the end of the month to choose our players. We submitted a list of 30; then it will go down to 28 and 18 for preparations. We have a broader list in case of injuries. 

We need to give young people the opportunity to play, and we will show that in the Mediterranean Games in Spain, where we will take many young players to develop them through these games. We have four younger generations, starting in 1996, who played last summer in Algeria, and in front of us is 1998, 2000 and 2002. We have to get more players out of these generations,” said Červar. 

Former captain of the national team and now director, Igor Vori, spoke about technical details in the preparations and matches and stressed that the ticket revenues from the qualifier in Osijek would go to handball development in Slavonia:

“All ticket revenues from the match against Montenegro in Osijek will be invested in handball development in Slavonia, which is another beautiful gesture of the Croatian Handball Federation. And I hope we will be able to fill the hall to help handball in the region, but also to have support in qualifying for the World Championship.”

Tickets for the game in Osijek are sold through for 70 and 100 kuna. All sales proceeds will be donated for handball development in Slavonia.

Here is the current Croatia handball lineup:

1. Ivan Stevanović – Kadetten Schaffhausen

2. Marin Šego – MOL-Pick Szeged

3. Mate Šunjić – CSM Bucuresti

4. Matej Ašanin – Sporting CP

5. Manuel Štrlek – PGE Vive Kielce

6. Lovro Mihić – SPR Wisla Plock

7. Valentino Ravnić – RK PPD Zagreb

8. Zlatko Horvat – RK PPD Zagreb

9. Josip Božić Pavletić – RK PPD Zagreb

10. Josip Ereš – RK PPD Zagreb

11. Marino Marić – MT Melsungen

12. Krešimir Kozina – Frisch Auf Göppingen

13. Leon Šušnja – RK PPD Zagreb

14. Tin Kontrec – RK PPD Zagreb

15. Marin Šipić – RK Nexe

16. Marko Mamić – PGE Vive Kielce

17. Damir Bičanić – RK PPD Zagreb

18. Halil Jaganjac – RK Metalurg

19. Ivan Slišković – RK Celje Pivovarna Laško

20. Stipe Mandalinić – Füchse Berlin

21. Domagoj Duvnjak – THW Kiel

22. Luka Cindrić – RK Vardar

23. Domagoj Pavlović – RK PPD Zagreb

24. Igor Karačić – RK Vardar

25. Lovro Jotić – Aalborg Handbold

26. Luka Stepančić – Paris Saint-Germain Handball

27. Jakov Vranković – Grundfos Tatabanya KC

28. Ivan Sršen – MOL-Pick Szeged

29. Luka Šebetić – Tremblay en France Handball

30. Alen Blažević – MOL-Pick Szeged


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