|Croatia - Poland 29:23. Outstanding right wing Ivan Cupic, who scored 12 goals, as well as 19 saves by keeper Mirko Allilovic paved Croatia's way to the final of their dreams where they met France. France has defeated host Croatia in the final of this year World Handball championship in a thrilling match that saw both sides tied for most of the match.|
In front of the full Zagreb Arena Croatia went for its second gold medal and in its way was a strong France which would not give up so easily. The Croatian handball team was supported by more than 15,000 fans who cheered the team on with all their might.
Croatia-France in Finals of World Championship
Croatian President Stjepan Mesic and Prime Minister Ivo Sanader also arrived to cheer on the Croatian handball team.
The first offence went to France, but the Croatian defence reacted excellently, so Cupic went into a counter-attack, but was stopped with a foul. However, they did not stop his penalty goal.
Alilovic defended the second French attack, but the Danish referees ousted Metlicic and France took the lead 2:1 after only three minutes of the game. But Sprem set everything back to the beginning. In the next offence France took the lead, but Croatia’s Cupic equalised the score to 4:4.
After the referees had two of their goals cancelled, Croatia’s Sprem scored another goal and put Croatia in the lead. Croatia made an excellent defence and went into offence which Fernandez stopped with a foul, but the Danes do not have unified criteria.
Mario Ćužić-.--.-Sprem could have led Croatia to a two-point lead, but he missed a clear counter attack, which helped France to consolidate. They immediately got the third penalty strike which Guigou scored.
After a number of rough fouls by the French, the referees finally decided to oust France’s best player Dinart. Lackovic used this and Croatia took the lead.
The Olympic winners stalled for almost a minute, but that did them no good. Alilovic defended Karabatic’s strike and Croatia got the chance for a two-point lead. But Metlicic forced a strike and the chance was wasted in vain.
During one of the offense, Croatia’s Ivano Balic got injured and stayed lying on the ground. The French equalised the score. And then the Danish referees ousted Metlicic for the second time, but Lackovic, Vori and Alilovic scored for a result of 9:8 in the 23rd minute.
The end of the first half-time passed in the same atmosphere. It was difficult to score and the defence was excellent, especially from France because they felt the support from the Danes. But even with such problems, Croatia managed to take the lead and after Karabatic was ousted, they had a chance to take a two points lead. But they failed because Sprem missed the goal again. Mario Ćužić-.--.-France punish such mistakes, even with a player less.
But while Goran Sprem is making mistakes in situations when mistakes are not allowed, Ivan Cupic is confident and tormented Omeyer, bringing Croatia to the result of 12:11 at the end of the first half-time.
The game was continued with Croatia on the offence, but Omeyer managed to defend Cupic’s strike. Croatia’s defence did not allow France do strike a goal from their first attack, but stole the ball and Lackovic took Croatia to a two points lead.
The Danes felt Croatia could get more of a lead, so they gave a new penalty shot to France, from a situation that was definitely not for seven metres. This brought the French back into the game and equalised the result to 13:13 in the 35th minute.
Just when France took the lead, Ivano Balic woke up and equalised the result with his first goal, but when Losert defended a strike from France, Sprem missed the goal again. He recovered quickly and scored his fourth goal, but the Danish referees literally went crazy. They ousted Valcic, gave a penalty shoot for the French and made everybody in the hall very angry.
But the Croatian players did not give up. Duvnjak scored for a new Croatian lead, as if Croatia decided to win against everybody, the French, the Danes and the whole world. But it is difficult to reach that goal because the so-called referees from Denmark are doing everything they can to prevent Croatia from reaching victory.
How much the Danes mentally beat Croatia’s players was shown by Balic after a provocation by Karabatic. He went after him and they almost got into a fight. In the 47th minute, the result was 18:18.
In the whole chaos on the court, the Croatian team lost their focus, their attacks were disorganised and in the 53th minute France scored for a result of 20:18. Immediately after, Croatia missed its change to score and France has a lead of three points.
Referees aside, Croatia has shown in the end that it has no ideas for France’s strong defence. There was nobody to lead the offence and all this resulted in 24:19 for the French.
Great generation. We built stadiums, now is time to build hospitals, retirement homes, research centers, energy supplies...etc. Venues will still be here.