PHOTO: Jozo Čabraja/kolektiff


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The Croatian women’s handball team opened the World Cup against Senegal

CROATIA – SENEGAL 22:22 (9:11)
CROATIA: Pijević (3), Bešen (4); Zadravec 2, P. Posavec 1, Šenvald, S. Posavec, Mičijević 2, Milosavljević 3, Ježić 4, Pavlović 1, Burić, Šimara, Barišić 8 (2), Birtić, Blažević 1, Prkačin
SENEGAL: Sall, Elbeco (9+2); D. Camara 10, Cissokho 1, Sagna 6 (1), Keita 1, N’diae 3, Seck, Diawara, Sy 1, Kamdop, Fall, Dapina, Sene, Kebe, C. Camara

The opening of the IHF World Handball Championship did not go well for Croatia. Croatia opened the World Cup against the African team – Senegal. As this championship started, it wouldn’t be easy because with this tied result, the plans were spoiled. And Pijević saved the point in the last seconds of the game.

Of course, it is tragic that this Women’s World Handball Cup is broadcast on RTL Kockica. Croatia had a bad start at the most important World Cup. Why is it bad? The goal of this championship is to win the qualifications for the Olympic Games held in Paris next summer.

Goalkeeper Kapitanović, round forward Brkić, and outfield players the Kalaus sisters watched the game from the stands. Before the game, it seemed justified. After all, it was the start of the World Cup, and Croatia was the favorite in this match. Senegal missed Niombla, who missed the game due to injury. By the way, Niombla is a great reinforcement for the African national team, because she arrived from the French national team selection.

Certainly a tough match. We expected to win, but we conceded goals where we hoped, so we have to be happy with the point we won. We reacted well at the end, we will try to be better in the rest of the championship.

Ivica Obrvan, Croatian national team coach

Any opening of any competition of this type is very difficult. This could be seen against Senegal. Croatia played quickly, but there were no results, and the defense was not up to the task. Let’s add to that that the match was refereed by the Danes, which does not suit Croatia. The result of all this is that the Senegal players had a two-goal advantage at halftime.

Croatian defense was catastrophic. The game “one on one” was permeable to all sides. Dongoue Camara has had his day. She had a day when she did a show program and broke through the Croatian defense with her game, and with devastating shots she broke and broke through Pijević and then Bešen. Bešen even had two defenses, but that didn’t mean anything because the defense was still bad.

Croatia was losing itself in the attack. Counters and semi-counters were poorly organized, balls were lost, and then Senegal started to play a 5-1 defense. This was the trigger for the complete loss of Croatian players who had no solution for this defense. Croatia did not even take advantage of the exclusion of Keita, who committed a foul on Klara Birtić. There was a suspension, but there was no red card.

The offense was not any better compared to the defense. Instead of dynamic attacks, the Croatian women were quite static. We needed more running and width to score easy goals, but that was lacking. A nervous first half saw Senegal lead at half-time.

In the second half, Croatia continued where it left off in the first half. Camara continued to play superbly, and Croatia had a hard time playing against the 5-1 defense. Croatia was waiting for their opponents to start making mistakes. But time was passing.

Croatia’s answer was the defense 5-1. And then something started happening. The defense rose up a bit, and the Senegalese fell with their attacking play. Five minutes before the end of the game, Croatia came within a goal, and with three minutes to go, Croatia had the game tied. It was a real game-breaker and saving his head.

By the end of the game, both teams had scored one goal. But Senegal had the final attack. And they had a minute’s break. Croatia had to get involved in the drama, save itself in the last seconds. Pijević was on goal, while Camara shot. Pijević saved the shot and thus saved the match and brought Croatia one point. I guess we should be satisfied with this point from this game, because they couldn’t have done better. Let’s hope that in the continuation of the championship, Croatia will be better.

We need to watch the game a little and learn from it, we will need it later. There is still a long way to go, this is only the first game, and we are known to always take the difficult route.

Dejana Milosavljević, Croatia national team player

I guess we call them the “Queens of Shock” because of such matches and situations. For Senegal, Camara scored 10 goals, and for Croatia, Tina Barišić was the best with eight goals. Ježić added four goals, Milosavljević three goals, and Mičijević and Zdravec scored two goals each. In the second group meeting, Sweden easily dealt with China. Maybe not as easy as they expected, but victory is being written.

Three teams from each group advance. Teams from groups A-B, C-D, E-F, and G-H will cross each other in the next round of the competition. Mutual points from the first round are transferred to the next round of the competition. It remains to be seen how Croatia will play against Sweden and China, and how many points will be transferred to the next competition.

Could Croatia do better? Can do better. The girls have quality, it can be seen that they are a team and that they can act in the right way if they want and can. And they can and they have to. Especially against Sweden, regardless of them hosting the competition. Let the “Queens of shock” shock us further. At least until the end of the second round.

GROUP A (Göteborg):
Croatia – Senegal 22:22
Sweden – China 36:24

  1. Sweden 2 (+12)
  2. Croatia 1 (0)
  3. Senegal 1 (0)
  4. China 0 (-12).

GROUP B (Helsinborg):
Montenegro – Cameroon 25:11
Hungary – Paraguay 35:12.

  1. Hungary 2 (+23)
  2. Montenegro 2 (+14)
  3. Cameroon 0 (-14)
  4. Paraguay 0 (-23).

GROUP C (Stavanger):
Austria – Korea 30:29
Norway – Greenland 43:11
Korea – Greenland 27:16
Austria – Norway 28:45

  1. Norway 4 (+49)
  2. Korea 2 (+10)
  3. Austria 2 (-16)
  4. Greenland 0 (-43).

GROUP D (Stavanger):
Slovenia – Iceland 30:24
France – Angola 30:29.

  1. Slovenia 2 (+6)
  2. France 2 (+1)
  3. Angola 0 (-1)
  4. Iceland 0 (-6).

GROUP E (Herning):
Romania – Chile 44:19
Denmark – Serbia 25:21

  1. Romania 2 (+25)
  2. Denmark 2 (+4)
  3. Serbia 0 (-4)
  4. Chile 0 (-25).

GROUP F (Herning):
Germany – Japan 31:30
Poland – Iran 35:15.

  1. Poland 2 (+20)
  2. Germany 2 (+1)
  3. Japan 0 (-1)
  4. Iran 0 (-20).

GROUP G (Frederikshaven):
Brazil – Ukraine 35:20
Spain – Kazakhstan 34:17
Kazakhstan – Brazil 15:46
Ukraine – Spain 20:32

  1. Brazil 4 (+46)
  2. Spain 4 (+29)
  3. Ukraine 0 (-27)
  4. Kazakhstan 0 (-48).

GROUP H (Frederikshaven):
Netherlands – Argentina 41:26
Czech Republic – Congo 32:22.

  1. Netherlands 2 (+15)
  2. Czech Republic 2 (+10)
  3. Congo 0 (-10)
  4. Argentina 0 (-15).

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