Spain passes as the first of the group to the semifinals after tying with a Croatia that they had in their hands until a final jam in attack

MADRID, 22 (SportsFinding)

The Spanish men's handball team will play as the first group of the semifinals of the European of Norway, Sweden and Austria after saving this Wednesday a draw to 22 goals against Croatia in their last duel of the second phase, although he had in his hand having done with the triumph if it had not stuck in the final stretch.

Spain will look for its third final this Friday in Stockholm against Slovenia, but before the last two battles to get a new medal and the Olympic ticket, he had a final waltz in Vienna against an always competitive rival and who knew not to lower his arms when it seemed .

The defense and a great Alex Dujshebaev left the 'Hispanics' on the verge of triumph when he escaped six goals in the second half and had his opponent gripped. However, in the last twelve minutes he was only able to score a seven meters, an offensive 'pájara' that did not cost him the game finally.

Spain and Croatia, already qualified for the semifinals, gave the feeling of not giving 'priority' to their duel for being the first in the group. Those of Lino Cervar, even, gave rest to Luka Cindric, while Jordi Ribera, who had the low by fever of the extreme Angel Fernandez, also opted to distribute minutes.

The Croats did not miss Barça central too much thanks to the fact that in their first line they have a great variety and Karacic took the reins of their attack to become a headache for the 6-0 of the 'Hispanics' .

The Kielce player (10 goals) started toned and without failure in the pitch to score four of the first five goals of the Balkans, with no real incidence for equality, only momentarily rotated by Croatia when his defensive 6-0 was choked during many minutes to the Spaniards, who also encountered inspiration in the goal of Sego.


The Cervar entered ahead in the final stretch of the first half (9-7, min. 23), but the defensive change of Ribera to 5-1, which gave good defensive returns and hindered the first rival line, and a series of Croatian exclusions, caused that Spain could not only rebalance the scoreboard but also reach rest ahead (11-12).

The 'Hispanics' extended at the beginning of the second half the good feelings offered in defense in the final stage of the first act. The double world champion, led by Alex Dujshebaev (4 goals) on both sides of the track, opened a very interesting gap (12-18, min. 39).

Croatia was 'touched' on the offensive level, with Karacic very well controlled since its great start and without relief by Duvnjak or Stepancic. The semifinal began to be more important for the 2003 world champion and Cervar preferred to withdraw his best pieces.

Spain then lowered its pace a bit and the game got more complicated than expected. Fresh legs raised the intensity behind the Croats and the 'Hispanics' crashed in attack. A new game was opened five minutes later (21-21) and although Croatia got ahead, Aleix Gómez did not tremble in seven meters to sign the decisive match, although Duvnjak still had a pitch for victory.


– RESULT: CROATIA, 22 – SPAIN, 22 (11-12, at rest).


CROATIA: Sego (P), Asanin (P), Maric, Duvnjak (2, 1 pen), Hrstic, Stepancic (2), Horvat (2), Sarac, Karacic (10), Musa, Mamic (2), Brozovic (1), Matanovic, Mandic and Sipic (3).

SPAIN: Corrales (P), Pérez de Vargas (P); Maqueda (1), Entrerríos (4), A. Dujshebaev (6), Sarmiento (1), Aginagalde (1), Solé (2), Goñi, Figueras (1), Cañellas, Morros, Gómez (4, 2 pen ), Ariño (2) and Guardiola.

–PARTIALS EVERY 5 MINUTES: 2-3, 5-5, 6-5, 8-6, 10-8, 11-12 (rest), 11-15, 13-18, 14-20, 18-21, 20-21 and 22-22.

– ARBITRATORS: Gatelis and Mazeika (LIT). They excluded two minutes to Musa, Duvnjak, Mandic and Brozovic, for Croatia, and Solé (2), Cañellas, Ariño and Morros, for Spain.

– PAVILION: Wiener Stadthalle. 7,891 spectators