The Croatian handball team handled business Saturday night in Zagreb, defeating Norway 32-28 in the second to last match of group stage. Anything but a victory would have saw Croatia fall short of a semifinal berth; where they still control their own destiny. The Cowboys have an off day Monday when France plays Serbia and Sweden plays Belarus. Croatian fans will be rooting for Serbia and Belarus results.
Then on Wednesday, Croatia will close out group stage against World Handball champions France, who may be undefeated in the tournament going into that match. Croatia would make the semifinals with a victory but could squeeze by with a different result if scores go their way on Monday.
During the Norway match, Croatia escaped a 2-man suspension in the second half to keep Norway at bay. (It’s the equivalent of a 5-on-3 power play in hockey.) They limited the Norwegians on goals and scored one themselves on an intercepted pass and fast break down the court. That was the dagger that Croatian needed as they never let Norway get close the rest of the way to keep their Euro handball dream alive.