Exceptionnelle! France with a classic win over Croatia | Handball Planet
EURO 2014

Exceptionnelle! France with a classic win over Croatia

Another classic, another hard-fought vicory, and another revenge already plotting. There are only a few thing more exciting in handball than the encounter between ‘The Experts’ and The Cowboys’. This one was no different, after the fast paced, high scoring first half, we saw the second half played more organized, tactically oriented, with tougher tacking and more defensive focus.‘Les Experts’ took until the very last minute to fight-off Croatia who will take the heart from this performance with their semifinal chance still very much alive; 27:25 for France.

In a match the neutrals would most certainly enjoy, France and Croatia played the first half with attacking focus. Defense was nowhere to be found. It was 7:10 mid through the first half, but the goals were flowing. France came within one, with a breakthrough from Karabatić with 18 minutes into the half, as the Serbian-born back was extremely motivated against his old rival tonight.

Guigou was persistent putting a big pressure on Bićanić and Štrlek, with the dynamic winger converting every loose ball and steal into a potential chance. The upcoming fight was evident with Karabatićleveling the score again in the last minute, but turnovers from KopljarThe last minute time out from SlavkoGoluža was futile, as Kopljar missed his chance with Accambray setting up Guigou with an easy penalty hit to end the half with 18:17.

Both teams started the second half with a significant change of psychology; knowing they have to tighten up in both of their defensive ends. By the 50th minute France took the lead further to four goals, previously scoring only one goal in 8 minutes, but Croatian team also failed to put things together in their team offensively with 24:20 the score. A series of mistakes came from both ends, with Željko Musa the defensive specialist out for two minutes after a careless foul on Karabatić, leaving the Croatian defense vulnerable to attacks from the wings. Defender Valčić recorded two turnovers in a row, as he couldn’t match the pace of French team having just that much more strength in the finish of the game. Buntić took Croatian back within two with two minutes to go at 26:24.

A wing strike from Horvat came to signal the battle horn for Croatia, with still to gain something from the match, as goals were a factor as well. Karabatić was in a very good shooting mood tonight as the back scored 7 goals tonight from 11 attempts. The former ‘World player of the year’ score the last goal of the game setting 27:25 with surely nothing more to be done for brave Croatia. ‘No surrender’, said Slavko Goluža in his time-out desperately trying to get that one back, but he didn’t as 27:25 remained the final score.


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  1. Pingback: Claude Onesta about Omeyer: The boss is back! | Handball Planet

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