PHOTO: BJORN LARSSON ROSVALL Afp

CROATIAN WOMEN’S HANDBALL REPRESENTATION DESTROYED CHINA

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After the shock against Senegal, Croatia reached its first victory at the IHS World Cup with total dominance

CROATIA – CHINA 39:13 (19:7)
CROATIA: Pijević (13), Bešen (10); Zadravec 3, P. Posavec 2, Šenvald, S. Posavec, Mičijević 2, Milosavljević 5 (2), Ježić 2, Pavlović 2, Burić 5, Šimara 5, Barišić 2, Brkić 5, Blažević 5 (1), Prkačin 1.
CHINA: 1 Lu Chang (8+1), 17 Hu Yunuo (2); 4 Sun Yukun, 5 Wang Jiayi, 9 Jiang Yishan, 11 Liu Chan 3, 12 Li Xiaoqing 3 (1), 13 Zhao Xinyao, 14 Zhou Mengxue 1, 18 Wei Nana 1 (1), 21 Zhang Guisi, 22 Ma Jie, 23 Zhouang Hongyan, 27 Gong Lei, 28 Liu Xuedan 1 (1), 34 Jin Mengqing 3, 53 Liu Yuting 1.

Croatia beat China in their second appearance at the IHF World Championship, and with three points they await the outcome in the match against the host, against whom they play on Tuesday. The Croatian players dismantled China, but the same China will not return the lost point that they dropped in the first game. Against China, they improved their impression. At least to some extent, because China is not the type of national team against which you measure your strength and power.

It would really be a shame if it didn’t work out against China, and the match had to be played against them too. Croatia played defense 6-0, and it was a more fluid and concentrated game. Thus, Croatia led by 12 points at halftime, and China scored only seven goals. The reason for this is that Croatia’s defense was simply too difficult for China, and Tea Pijević made 13 saves in the first half.

An expected win, anything else would be a surprise. A good game and the first win at the World Championship. We have improved the impression a little and are moving on. There was a much better quality approach here and the opponent was in many places of lower quality than Senegal. I can be satisfied with the approach of all players and performance. We are looking positively at every game, including the one that awaits us against Sweden.

Ivica Obrvan, Croatia coach

Croatia had a very strong rhythm of changes, and in addition to easy defenses by Pijević, there were also easy goals. China called uniform minutes, but that did not help them much. Because there’s always the other side. In the second half, Croatia rotated the players, and the results climbed. At one point, Croatia had a 20-goal advantage. But in the end Croatia wins with a 26 goal difference, and the final score of the match is 39:13.

If this kind of game was also against Senegal at the opening of the World Cup, it would be much easier and simpler. However, with the defeat of China, the blood returned to their cheeks and the hope that they could attack Sweden began to smolder. It will be very hard, but there is no surrender.

It’s not that we didn’t take Senegal lightly, it was just not our day. I always say and think that we can win from anyone, but also lose from anyone. Against China, we knew what we needed, there was a lot of commitment, running, and I believe that this is the beginning of our way to better things. We were ready for that first match as well, but this is sport, we are not robots, mistakes happen, but as long as everything is in our hands we will not regret it. We have a wide bench for the first time and the possibility to use it. The match against Sweden is either all or nothing.

Tea Pijević, Croatian goalkeeper

Sweden beat China by 12 points, and Croatia did so with a significantly larger margin. But that all falls into the water if Croatia doesn’t make up for the lost point against the host. Croatia needs to win one point against Sweden, but it will not be easy and it will be a challenge because the hosts are the first real opponent in this World Cup. China was a practice match and a kind of preparation for Sweden. We can only hope that the Croatian women have prepared themselves and that they have set their sights on scoring goals.

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