Back my popular demand, Croatia’s handball squad has started the 2019 World Handball Championships in Germany and Denmark to a perfect 3-0 start. In their opening match, the Cowboys defeated a respectable Iceland side 31-27 with eight goals coming from Luka Stepančić. Croatia then handled Japan 35-27 with another eight goals coming from veteran Zlatko Horvat before beating Macedonia 31-22 Monday night in Munich.
Croatia’s next match takes place Wednesday at 12PM (ET) when they face group minnows Bahrain. Then the Cowboys will take on reigning Euro champions Spain Thursday at 2:30PM (ET) in what will surely be the group decider. Remember, all points earned in the preliminary group stage are carried over to the Main Round.
Croatia are expected to make at least the semifinals; where they have historically hit a brick wall. Last year while hosting the Euro Handball tournament, Croatia underperformed and finished 5th at the tournament. Two years ago at the 2017 World Handball championships, Croatia finished 4th after losing to Norway in the semifinals. Euro 2016 was a 3rd place finish and the 2015 World’s placed Croatia 6th. The Cowboys have not won a championship in handball since they took the gold in Athens during the 2004 summer Olympics.