The Croatian Cowboys are back in action Thursday as they open up EURO 2022 against the pesky French at 2:30PM (ET). It seems like it’s been forever since we talked about Croatian handball on this site. And that’s because it has.
Croatia missed out on the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo – which took place in 2021 – and did not qualify for the quarterfinals of the 2021 World Championships. It’s been exactly two years since Croatian handball was relevant as the Cowboys lost to Spain 22-20 in the championship game of EURO 2020 in Stockholm. Domagoj Duvnjak was voted “Best Player of the Tournament” during Croatia’s run that year.
Now Croatia looks to retool in a tough group which is comprised of France, Serbia, and Ukraine. Only the top two teams in group will move onto the Main Round (12 teams). France won gold at last summer’s Olympics. Croatia and Serbia will meet on January 15th in Szeged, Hungary. Serbia has missed out on the last two major handball tournaments: 2020 Olympics and 2021 World Championships.
One thing that till boggles my mind. How the hell is there no shot clock in handball??? Can someone please explain to me before this tournament starts?
After trailing 7-2 early in the match, Croatia pulled themselves together to finish the first half down 13-11. With approximately 15 minutes remaining, Croatia was down by only 2 goals and our defense seemed to have finally figured itself out… only to then commit two 2 minute suspensions on the same play and shortly afterward, a red card. France now had 6 players on the court against Croatia’s 3. Albeit questionable refereeing, Croatia had dug themselves into a hole and didn’t make it out. Only 2 goals were allowed on the 3 man disadvantage but it was too little too late as France sealed the victory by the score of 27-22. Croatia plays Serbia next, on January 15th, in a match that will most likely decide the group’s runner up.