The Croatian national handball team has made sure that qualifying for the World Championship is just a formality with their incredible triumph over Montenegro in Osijek on Saturday.
The Croatian handball team defeated Montenegro 32:19 in the first qualifying match for the Handball World Championship, which will be hosted by Denmark and Germany in January 2019. With such a convincing victory, the ‘Cowboys’ have virtually ensured their place in the World Championship, as a 12-goal difference and defeat is enough to take them through. The re-match will be played on Thursday, June 14th in Podgorica, reports Gol.hr on June 9, 2018.
Montenegro held their own until the 19th minute with an 8:8 result, but then Croatia picked up the pace. When Čavor cut Croatia’s advantage at 10:9, in the next six minutes with a 5:0 series, Lino Červar’s team created the first sensible advantage and went into the half up seven goals (17:10).
Nothing changed in the second half. Croatia’s solid defensive line created an opportunity for the speedy counterattack by Manuel Štrlek and Zlatko Horvat. Croatia slowly picked up the advantage, and when they were up by 10, the more than two-digit lead did not end.
Croatia’s biggest advantage in the game was +14 (32:18) which was seen in the 56th minute, though the match ended with a 13-goal difference which will take them to the return match in Podgorica on Thursday.
Croatia’s win can be attributed to six goals by Manuel Štrlek and Zlatko Horvat, five goals by Luka Cindrić, and four by Igor Karačić. Goalie Marin Šego achieved ten saves. Nemanja Grbović scored four goals for the Montenegrin national team, and Stefan Čavor and Miloš Božović scored three.