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June 20, 2024
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Croatia Takes European Silver in Zagreb


Photo by Sanjin Strukic/PIXSELL

January 16, 2024 – In a heartbreaking finish, Croatia lost to Spain in the European Championships final, winning the silver medal in Zagreb.

Croatia and Spain met in the European Championships final on Tuesday night in Zagreb in front of a totally sold-out crowd. Italy took home the bronze in the match for third place against Hungary earlier today.

Croatia already achieved great success by making it to the final, brilliantly beating Hungary to get there on Sunday. However, the gold medal winner secures a spot at the Olympic Games in Paris, and Croatia now has to fight for their spot at the upcoming World Champs.

Recall, Croatia won the European gold medal at home twice – in 2010 in Zagreb and 2022 in Split. 

Lineups

Croatia: Bijač, Burić, Fatović, Lončar, Biljaka, Bukić, Vukičević, Žuvela, Marinić Kragić, Vrlić, Butić, Harkov, Popadić

Coach: Ivica Tucak

Spain: Aguirre, Munarriz, Granados, Sanahuja, De Toro, Larrumbe, Biel, Cabanas, Tahull, Perrone, Mallarach, Bustos, Lorrio

Coach: David Martin

1st Quarter

Croatia won the sprint and the first attack of the game. They were awarded a penalty, and Zuvela scored for 1-0. Spain equalized in their first attack. Bukic scored a rocket for 2-1 and it was 2-2 with 5 minutes to go in the first quarter. Spain took the lead a minute later at 3-2. Vukicevic quickly made it 3-3 and Bukic brought Croatia back ahead at 4-3! With two and a half minutes left, Marinic-Kragic made it 5-3, which is how the first quarter ended.

2nd Quarter

Croatia won the sprint in the second quarter as well. Bukic was on fire, bringing Croatia to +3 (6-3). Bijac saved Spain’s first attack. Spain came back to -1 for 6-5 with 5 minutes before halftime. Luka Bukic scored his fourth goal of the game with 3 minutes to go, and Croatia was back up to +2 for 7-5! It was 7-6 for Croatia going into halftime.

3rd Quarter

Another sprint was won by Croatia to open the third quarter, but Kharkov’s shot went wide. Spain came back to equalize at 7-7. Marinic-Kragic put Croatia back ahead for 8-7 with just over 4 minutes on the clock. Bijac had already recorded nine saves in this game so far! Spain equalized at 8-8 with just over a minute to go. Zuvela scored for 9-8. Bijac blocked Perrone’s shot in the last 30 seconds, and Croatia attacked. Then, Fatovic stunned the crowd with a goal for 10-8 going into the final quarter!

4th Quarter

Croatia won the final sprint of the game but did not capitalize on a goal. But save after save for Bijac kept Croatia’s 2-goal lead. Spain reduced the score to 10-9 with just under four minutes left in the game. Spain equalized at 10-10 with 1:37 on the clock. And then the unthinkable happened – Spain went ahead at 11-10 with 48 seconds to go. Croatia was unlucky in their final attacks, and 11-10 was enough for Spain to win the gold medal.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

 

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