Poland and Croatia share spoils after thrilling match

22 Jun. 2023

Poland and Croatia share spoils after thrilling match

It was a true roller coaster of a game, with plenty of twists and turns and lead changes, but eventually Poland and Croatia shared the spoils with a 30:30 draw, which left both teams with chances to progress to the main round.

Croatia are also primed to secure the first place in the group after their win on Tuesday against France, with another win against the United States of America on Friday helping them finish first.

Reigning champions France had no issues against the United States of America, sealing their first win at Germany/Greece 2023 (45:17) with the American team heading now to the President’s Cup after two losses in a row.

  • Group A

Poland vs Croatia 30:30 (15:13)

As Poland scored their first goal of the game after only five minutes and 27 seconds, Croatia looked in pole position to clinch another win, their second in two days at Germany/Greece 2023. Yet their attack also failed to really get into a groove, as they had only scored twice this time.

This is why Poland bounced back with a bang and used a 5:1 run to claw back into the game and create a 7:4 lead, with their back line carrying the load, despite the off afternoon displayed by their most experienced player, Szymon Wiaderny, who only finished the game with a goal.

Croatia continued to make more and more mistakes, turning the ball over time and time again, while their defence failed to bring the mobility displayed in the game against France, which saw Poland control the game (15:13) at the break.

But one aspect really stood out and gave Croatia the hope that they can bounce back: in the last attack of the first half, Poland used a seven-on-six attack, only for them to lose the ball and help usher Croatia back into the game, as a potential four-goal lead turned into a two-goal one after the goal scored by Rok Malin.

The second half saw only one-way traffic, as Croatia’s centre back, Marin Lisac, was pretty much unstoppable, scoring eight goals and delivering three assists, helping his team back into the game in crunch time.

Croatia used a 4:1 run, spurred by Lisac and their other top scorer, Matija Car, to turn the game on its head, but they could not protect the lead until the end, with a nail-biting finish, as Poland’s right back Marcel Nowak tied the score with one second left on the clock with a thundering shot, which could not be saved by the hummel Player of the Match, Croatia’s goalkeeper, Matej Mandic.

The 30:30 draw does not help Croatia qualify already for the main round, but they will clinch the first place in the group provided they win on Friday against the USA, while Poland face a do-or-die match against France, where they will probably need at least a draw to progress to the next phase.

hummel Player of the Match: Matej Mandic (Croatia) 


United States of America vs France 17:45 (6:24)
There was nothing the United States of America could do to weather the storm against France, even from the early stages of the game, when the European side duly used their fast break opportunities to create a big gap, six goals, in only ten minutes.
The 8:2 scoreline morphed into something much more difficult to swallow for the American team, as France used another 10:2 run to push the USA side more and more without getting an answer, as goalkeeper LĂ©o Villain had a 50% saving efficiency at the break, with six saves.
On the other hand, France’s coach, Johann Delattre, decided to hand as much rest as possible to his starters before the crucial game against Poland on Friday, which will decide whether the reigning champions will make it to the main round or not, with the win being mandatory for France.
While the USA managed to weather the storm and even started the second half with a 4:3 partial, it was nothing that could be done to prevent another heavy loss after the 22:47 one against Poland on the first day of competition.
France went on to secure a big win, 45:17, with a seven-goal outing from back Maxime Discamps and five goals from fellow back Mattéo Fadhuile-Crepy, but the big test will be the game against Poland, which will decide whether they qualify for the main round or not.
hummel Player of the Match: Mattéo Fadhuile-Crepy (France)