Croatia stayed alive in the 2023 World Championships with a 34-26 win over Belgium, with a crunch clash against an already eliminated Bahrain coming up Monday night at Noon (ET). Beating Belgium was the bare minimum to be expected of the Cowboys on Saturday night and they came out with the same intensity as the Denmark match, taking a 21-13 lead into the halftime break.
Unfortunately, Belgium fought back in the second half and held serve, with Croatia unable to increase their 8-goal lead, when they really needed to win by a few more goals due to Denmark’s far superior goal difference. However, the US did Croatia a solid by pushing Denmark a lot harder than was originally expected, with Denmark only picking up a 33-24 win. Pre-match, I had expected a 20-goal win by Denmark to leave their goal difference essentially unsurmountable going into the final day, but the US played arguably their best game of their campaign.
Croatia have been playing catchup ever since their opening match loss against Egypt, but at minimum, they have at least stayed alive until the final match. What does all of this mean for Croatia’s chances? It’s still very unlikely, but not impossible to qualify. Croatia have to beat Bahrain, Egypt have to beat Denmark, and Croatia have to make up a 21-goal difference along the way. Egypt will be looking to avoid playing host Sweden (reigning Euro Champs and probably the 2nd best team in the world right now) in the quarterfinals and thus while they may already be qualified, they’ll still have all the incentive in the world to go looking for a win. Their 2021 heart-breaking quarterfinal loss to Denmark on penalties will also hopefully be a motivating factor in looking for revenge.
From my point of view, if Croatia want to qualify, they are going to have to light up a Bahrain team, which honestly isn’t that bad, and win by 18-20 goals to give themselves a chance, as best case scenario is Egypt winning by 2-3 goals. This is a pretty tall task given that Denmark only beat Bahrain by 15 and Egypt by only 4, but Croatia will have to leave everything out on the court knowing that every single goal could make the difference.
Until the final whistle blows, let’s keep the faith and hope the Cowboys can pull off another Croatian shocker!
We will not qualify for the QF, this was apparent when we lost to Egypt by 9 goals in the first match of the tournament. The goal difference between us and Denmark is just too big to make up even if Denmark was to lose to Egypt ?
However, it is critical for the 2024 Olympic qualifiers that we beat Bahrain and come 9th or 10th at this WC. All the Qtr. Finalists are guaranteed a spot in the Olympic qualifiers, however France as hosts and Egypt as the African champions have already qualified for the Olympics in 2024. This means that teams coming 9th and 10th at this WC will take their place in the qualifying tournament.
We are currently 9th and any win against Bahrain will keep us in that position.
This is actually great news. If they can secure 9th, they can buy some time to regroup and still qualify.
I heard if Egypt beats Denmark, goal difference doesn’t matter? Is that true?
If Egypt beat Denmark ? and we beat Bahrain ? the goal difference will determine who goes to the Qtr.Finals with Egypt from our group. Currently Denmark has a far superior goal difference to us and are in pole position to qualify ahead of us.