Impressive Egypt reach first victory over Croatia

13 Jan. 2023

Impressive Egypt reach first victory over Croatia

Egypt shocked Croatia at the start of the World Championship, improving their head-to-head record against the European side. Roberto Parrondo's team celebrated their first-ever win over Croatia, whose last defeat at the opening was at Portugal 2003.

Group G

Egypt vs Croatia 31:22 (16:12)

It was a blistering start for Egypt as they strolled to a three-goal lead after seven minutes courtesy of Karim Hendawy and his two saves. Croatia were struggling in the attack, not being able to score in the first five minutes.

During the time, Ali Zein was completely unstoppable for Croatia's 6-0 defence. The experienced left back netted 60% of all Egypt's goals and, after a fast break goal in the 15th minute, set the 9:4 lead.

Egypt retained their advantage as Croatia kept going with one-on-one misses and turnovers. The latter was reflected in shot efficiency. The Croats were almost 20% less effective than their opponents, whose shot efficiency was 79%.

After a time-out, Croatia's head coach Hrvoje Horvat tried to shake things up with the new goalkeeper, Dominik Kuzmanović, and Marin Šipić and Luka Šebetić in the attack.

Whatever side they chose, Croatia's idea fizzled out and Egypt kept on delivering nice shots. The biggest difference was six goals (11:5), and Croatia slowly started to wake up towards the end of the first half, producing 12:16 before the break.

Croatia were determined to turn the tide following Marin Šipić's goal, but he was stooped in the next attack, not being able to close the gap to two. New hope for Croatia emerged when young Dominik Kuzmanović saved Mohammad Sanad's penalty shot, but the new turnover saw Egypt back in front by five.

Egypt completely imposed their rhythm, which did not suit Croatia, who appeared tired and faltered. The gap grew and grew in the last ten minutes of the match, and Egypt eventually took an eight-goal lead through Yehia El-Deraa.

As the final whistle was approaching, Egypt saw every player from the squad on the court, including talented left back Hassan Kaddah, who scored for 30:21. Around 4,000 Croatian fans left the Husqvarna Garden disappointed.

This is one of the toughest defeats of Croatia at the World Championship or EHF EURO and they need to recover for the next match against the United States of America. Egypt, on the other hand, boosted with confidence, will take on Morocco.

"Our defence was not good from the start. Egypt was being able to score way too easily, and without the defence, we didn't have goalkeepers either. When a team like Egypt makes a break, it is hard to make a comeback. As a consequence, the attack became nervous and could not score the goals they usually do", said head coach Hrvoje Horvat to RTL television right after the match.

hummel Player of the Match: Ali Mohamed (Egypt)