Hispanics suffer to grab first place against Croatia and remain unbeaten before the semifinals

17:46 – 01/22/2020 | 19:50 – 01/22/20

  • After a terrible 6-0, Spain managed to draw in the absence of a minute
  • After the victory of Norway, Slovenia will be the rival of those of Ribera
Photo: Reuters

The Spanish handball team did not fall into speculation and concluded the second phase as the first group, so it will be measured next Friday in the semifinals with Slovenia, after drawing this Wednesday 22-22 with Croatia.

An agonized tie that nobody could foresee after the six goals of advantage (13-19) with which he came to count at the start of the second half.

But when everything seemed more favorable for Spain, those of Jordi Ribera, conditioned by the arbitration, collapsed in attack, chaining up to eleven minutes without scoring, which allowed Croatia to stand ahead on the scoreboard (22-21) two minutes for the conclusion

A time in which Spain, aware that the match was worth it to seal the first place, pulled ex officio to add a tie in a match in which he never entered into speculation and went from the beginning to win.

Of course, without giving up its rotation policy, as the Spanish coach had already made clear in the previous one, who gave start players to players such as the Dani Sarmiento center or the Adrià Figueras pivot.

But what did not change was the philosophy of the Spanish team, which remained faithful to its elaborate style of play, in which no one ever doubts in taking another pass until finding the best partner for the goal.

It was confirmed by the five different players who scored for the Spanish team in the first fifteen minutes of the game.

On the contrary that in the Balkan team, in which the central Igor Karacic, who signed six of the eleven goals that Croatia scored in the first half, completely monopolized the attack of those of Lino Cervar.

Spain did not find an antidote to the movements of Karacic, which wreaked havoc in the Spanish rear with its circulations from left to right, until it went from the 6-0 defense with which it started the fight to a more aggressive system 5-1.

A change that did not occur until well over the equator of the first half, when the “Hispanics” were at a disadvantage of two goals on the scoreboard (8-6), fruit more of the exclusions with which they were punished than of the good Croatian game.

The picture changed completely with the presence of Alex Dujshebaev in the outpost, from where he prevented the trajectories of Karacic and caused numerous losses of the Balkan ball.

It was the fuel that Spain needed to start a comeback that allowed Jordi Ribera to go to rest ahead in the scoreboard (11-12) with a last goal from Julen Aginagalde, the ninth different player by the Spanish team that scored In the first half.

That data corroborated the breadth of resources of the Spanish team, compared to the most limited in Croatia, especially if, as happened on Wednesday, the Balkans cannot count on Luka Cindric, who, reluctantly, did not even get off the bench.

Limitations that were clear at the start of the second half, when Spain gave a point of intensity to its defense.

A circumstance that led to the takeoff of the Spanish team, which, in a seen and unseen, led by a spectacular Alex Dujshebaev both in attack and defense, was located at ten minutes of the second half with a six-goal advantage (13- 19).

But if there is an invariable rule in handball it is that Croatia can never be left for dead, and more if, as in this case, the colleges do their part.

The Lithuanians Gatelis and Mazeika did not seem to like that the game was resolved so soon, a circumstance that they decided to correct with an unequal criterion when sanctioning the passive game.

Thus, while the attacks of Croatia could be prolonged, those of Spain could barely last a few seconds, which led to the offensive collapse of the Spanish team, which chained up to eleven minutes without seeing goal.

It was not missed by the Balkan team, spurred by the thousands of Croatian fans who filled the stands, to turn around the contest two minutes to the conclusion (22-21) with a 6-0 run.

Spain finally managed to break that drought with a penalty goal from Aleix Gómez that left Croatia with the last possession to win and achieve the first group place.

But the Balkans, despite attacking with seven players, failed to seize their last chance and saw how the final launch of Domagoh Duvnjak crashed into a post.

Data sheet:

22 – Croatia: Sego; Horvat (2, 1p), Stepancic (2), Mamic (2), Duvnjak (2, 1p), Mandic (-) and Karacic (10) -initial team- Asanin (ps), Maric (-), Hrstic (- ), Sarac (-), Musa (-), Cindric (-), Brozovic (1), Matanovic (-) and Sipic (3)

22 – Spain: Corrals; Solé (2), Maqueda (1), Sarmiento (1), Cañellas (-), Ariño (2) and Figueras (1) -initial team- Pérez de Vargas (ps), Raúl Entrerríos (4), Alex Dujshebaev (6 ), Aginagalde (1), Goñi (-), Morros (-), Aleix Gómez (4, 2p), Gideon Guardiola (-) and Dani Dujshebaev (-)

Marker every five minutes: 2-3, 5-5, 6-5, 8-6, 10-8 and 11-12 (Rest); 11-15, 13-19, 14-20, 18-21, 21-21 and 22-22 (Final)

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

Incidents: Match corresponding to the fourth and final day of group I of the second phase of the European of Sweden, Austria and Norway played at the Stadthalle in Vienna before about 7,500 spectators.