Croatia’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals at the 2022 EHF European Men’s Handball Championship are over after they went down to world champions Denmark on Saturday in Budapest.
Hrvoje Horvat’s team needed to beat Denmark to keep their hopes alive and for much of the match they put up a good fight against the more-fancied Danes.
As expected, Denmark started strong and midway through the first half they would go out to a 4-goal lead. But then Croatia’s fightback started, aided by the vocal support from the large contingent of fans in the arena.
Aggressive defence would keep the Danes scoreless for over five minutes as Croatia would level the scores with Marino Marić and Mateo Maraš clinical in front of goal.
Croatia went into the break down just 12-11 and although Denmark started the second half the better, Croatia would again show fight and rally to get back within one goal.
With 10 minutes remaining Denmark led by three goals and although Croatia would narrow the gap to two goals at stages, they could not claw the lead back and Denmark would win the match 27-25.
Croatia only have pride to play for now and have two more games remaining, first on Monday against Iceland, and then against Netherlands on Wednesday.