Not many would bet against Denmark reaching the final of the European Championship on their home soil, but the defending champions have done it after a classic match against the unlucky Croatia, who again failed to secure the much sough after European champion’s title, after their seventh semi-final appearance in the competition. Meeting of the two history-rich teams like these, would only mean one thing; we are going to have a game in our hands; so we did, and what a game with 29:27 (13:15) the final score
Croatia was leading with 3:5 after ten minutes into the game, but Hansen and his teammates gave them no time rest as they caught up on the lead. Bičanić and Ćupić responded well to the challenge and set up Croatia with a narrow 7:8 lead mid-way through the half. The score was nowhere near comfortable, for Croatia, but the Danes had al kinds of trouble turning it to their favor. Twentieth minute saw Yet another tie at 11:11, but After Mirko Alilović saved the penalty from Eggert, the ever-efficient winger Manuel Štrlek pounced on the chance to deliver his team another lead. Ćupić set Croatia two goals ahead, but the Danish team showed no signs of slowing down. It was Eggert who had a chance to undo his previous mistake scoring from the penalty this time around. Last two minutes were an uncertainty as Denmark was one goal behind and Croatia couldn’t find their way to the goal of Landin. After NicklasLandin saved Horvat’s effort, it was Duvnjak who set the score in the end to 13:15 as the individual quality of the Croatian team’s best player was the difference at the interval.
The second half saw only two goals scored in the first five minutes, and both of them by Denmark. After the missed penalty from Mads Christiansen, the same player made amends to put Denmark one goal ahead at 16:15. Kopljar quickly tied the score, but the momentum was now in favor of the Danish team. A brace fromEggert, completed a 3:0 series, 40 minutes into the match as AndersEggert(best player for Denmark with 8/9) sets21:18 from the penalty. Horvat tied the score mid-way through the half, setting the score to 23:23. Unfortunately it was only a Swan song for Croatia, as it was the closest they could get to the defending champions until the end of the game.Sondergaard completed the 3:0 series, going into the last 10 minutes with 26:23 for the hosts. After Horvat and Bićanić, followed by anamazingKopljar (6/11 overall) brought their team within one-goal difference again LasseSvan Hansen ensured a three-goal margin for Denmark at 28:25going into the last five minutes of the match, as Croatia was desperately trying to catch up. Last three minutes saw defensive battle at both ends, but it also sawboth Wilbek’s and Goluža’s unable to get their teams to score in the last three minutes of the match, after Duvnjak ensured a dramatic finish at 28:26, three minutes before the end with Croatia playing an aggressive full-court press.
The last 30 seconds saw both Toft Hansen and Horvat finally score for their teams for the final score 29:27, but surely late for Croatia, as they will meet Spain in a reprise of the bronze-medal match in Serbia two years ago.
Denmark will meet the French team in the final of the 2014 EHF Euro, in front of the 14,000 fans in Jyske Bank Boxen, in a match between the two deservedly best teams of the Championship.
TEXT: NEMANJA SAVIC
PHOTO: Bjørn Kenneth Muggerud/Handballpix.com
26. January 2014. at 16:27
Felix you’re whining like a baby, Croatia didn’t deserve a place in the finals, and it didn’t deserve bronze – which is why the country failed in getting this as well. Croatia could have gone home with some dignity, instead it is sent home in shame. Pathetic.
25. January 2014. at 22:15
we admit when somebody is better,but when somebody who is weaker than you and beats you becaouse judges helped them???please if some croatian judge in for example germany vs england in soccer game on european football championship helps germans ,english would have never ever stop talinkg about it thill the game would not be repeated??but when you are 4 million nation with great sportsman in every single sport everybody ignores you and tries to sabotage you ,that is sad,you cant ignore us because we are small………..zds
25. January 2014. at 19:05
I can’t believe what i am reading. How can these croatian fans not just admit that they lost? From a neutral standpoint this game did’nt come down to the refs but to the fact that the danish team was just better overall during the second half.. Wow it is absolutely horrible to read some of these comments.. come on people
25. January 2014. at 15:47
Hansen could take his shirt of unpunished because that was what the rules told him to do. He was not allowed to play in a shirt torn apart. 1) why wasn’t the Croatian defender suspended for pulling the Dane so forcefully to the ground that he ripped his shirt?
2) Why did the refs not stop time as they should so that Hansen could change without risking a yellow card like Karabatic? The Danish bench was forced to use a timeout to make sure that those incompetents didn’t give him a suspension.
Why? Oh right, because the refs wanted to cheat the Croatians…. sure thing.
Listen, no one is contesting that the refs made mistakes that benefitted Denmark. What is wrong here, is that you are completely ignoring the fact that they made mistakes that benefitted Croatia too. Reacting in such a spiteful and destructive manner reflects very poorly on you and I really do not see how this can be your opponents’ fault. Please stop being like this and return to the fair-minded, wonderful handball nation the rest of the world know you as.
As for the finals, I don’t have a favourite. I just want a good match between great teams where the refs know their place – out of the spotlight.
25. January 2014. at 14:04
steel:we have dignity we fought like tigers,we can take defaet we lost many times against fernch, but when some danish douches who are mucth weaker than you “beat” you with help of tho judges and you complain about it that is not whining,it being resonable.you think we shoud shut up and never speak of that injsutice?best example is hansen who took his dress down DURING THE GAME WITHOUT ANY PERMITON,AND NOBODY PUNISHED HIM!!!!???? who is crazy here?
25. January 2014. at 13:16
Biased Croatians whining like babies. Take your loss with some dignity.
25. January 2014. at 12:36
Referees in match between Croatia and Denmark, Lars Geipel and Marcus Helbig, are Danes from Flensburg.
It is a major mistake of EHF to even let those guys judge. What a shame…
25. January 2014. at 11:55
german judges won this game,croatia newer had a chance…danish strongly decided we are the ones who need to go in finals and they put german judges who obviousley and discracefully pulled the game on their side.it is a shame for european handball and every handball fan.this is not about croatia lost its about the unfair threatmant they had. R.I.P handbal ????-2014
25. January 2014. at 10:33
Danmark showed their real face. Jbo vam ćuko nanu u dupe
25. January 2014. at 08:55
There were a equal number of 2 min to each sides. Croatia failed to score when they where 6 agains 4 in the beginning of the 2. half. They could have made a substantial lead at that time. But they didn’t, Denmark were the better team in the second half, and Landin had more saves than Aillovic/Losert, that was what made the difference. The Judges wouldn’t have given Thomas Mogensen a 2min penalty with 1,30 left, on the thinnest background, he barely touched Duvnjak. Strlek had massive chances but couldn’t score. Before you blame everybody else, look at the string of missed opportunities. Croatia have only them selves to blame.
25. January 2014. at 08:06
Come on people each team had seks players put for two minuts.
25. January 2014. at 08:03
Denmark & Germany kitchen. Croatia was cooked.
Croatia had a chance like a fish in the kitchen.
The winner was known before the match.
I just dont know why the EHF just didnt gave Wilbeck and Denmark gold before the championship. It would be much easier for everybody. I mean, if Wilbeck have to say googbye with gold on his neck then they just could gave it to him before, and tell everybody else that this is appropriate thing to do.
25. January 2014. at 00:15
“How” Denmark won!? Did you watch the match fairly? Maybe it was because Denmark played more time as 1 man+ (oh wait, no, I think they might have had the same amount of suspension time). Or maybe because Croatia was never allowed anything (disregarding the state of Mikkel Hansen’s shirt, among other things) and Denmark was never given dubious suspensions (because that completely insane suspension of Mogensen with 1:30 minutes was spot on, really).
Yes, the refs were rubbish, but stop pretending they were not rubbish towards both teams. Croatia still had their chances, but the Danish goal keeper kicked their asses at crucial times in the 2nd half and that’s how games are won! It was a man’s fight tonight – stop disgracing it by acting as little boys afterwards. Both teams fought like lions and their efforts deserve applause. Looking forward to the bronze and gold matches on Sunday. Hopefully the Croatian coach won’t get himself suspended before then. Because if the rumours I start hearing about his behaviour at the press conference are true… how pathetic…
Pingback: We were living like the animals here! Said Goluža in tears | Handball Planet
24. January 2014. at 23:27
Cannot understand why the balkan mentality is this bad. Why cant you all not just accept that Denmark was the better team in the 2nd half, whereas the opposite was the incidence in the first half?
Speaking of sportsmanship, you really have none, when you cannot acknowledge facts…
24. January 2014. at 23:01
every year same…stupid sport …ehf judges are playing main role …congratulation to Denmark ..but handball is dead…
24. January 2014. at 22:51
Terrible referee’s , mocking other countries anthem….didnt expect that from “cultural” european country
24. January 2014. at 22:48
Worst referee’s I’ve ever seen, whistling on the Croatian anthem, and all that from “cultural” and “good sportsmanship” countries
24. January 2014. at 22:37
Players of the game – Geipel and Helbig
24. January 2014. at 22:30
oh,you forgot to write how exactly Denmark won… let’s talk about judges,,,don’t you think?
24. January 2014. at 21:53
Jeb… Dance i jeb… Usr… Njemce!!!