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2019 World Handball Championship: Croatia beats world champions France to secure Olympic qualifying spot

COLOGNE, 23 January 2019 – Croatia has restored some pride by beating France at the 2019 IHF World Men’s Handball Championship in Germany on Wednesday. 

Led by the fantastic Marin Šego in goal, Croatia beat the reigning world champions 23-20 in Cologne. The victory means Croatia will play-off for the 5th place spot at the tournament and more importantly, assures a place in qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games. 

Croatia’s quick attacking play caught France off-guard on many occasions with Zlatko Horvat and David Mandić in great form with 7 and 4 goals respectively.

France, who had already qualified for the semifinals, admitted after the match that Croatia was the better side. 

“We did not want to rest this game. Every match we try and play our best. But, we knew we are going on so it was not easy to mentally prepare and save energy and also win the match. Croatia deserved the victory, the goal keeper was excellent. We missed easy chances and that is where we lost the match,” said France’s Luka Karabatić after the match. 

Croatia will now play either Denmark, Norway or Sweden in the playoff for 5th on Saturday.

CROATIA– FRANCE 23:20 (11:11)

CROATIA: Šego (10), Stevanović; Duvnjak 1, Stepančić, Vida 1, Horvat 7 (3), Karačić 2, Blažević, Štrlek 2, Musa 2, Slišković, Mandić 4, Vranković 3, Šipić 1, Bečiri, Bičanić.

FRANCE: Dumoulin, Gerard (10); Remili 2, Lagarde 1, Richardson 5 (4), Mem 1, N. Karabaić, Mahe, Grebille 2, N’Guessan 3, Abalo 3, Guigou, L. Karabatić, Fabregas 2, Dipanda, Porte 1. 

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