24 Jun. 2022
Croatia take on Norway in the first quarter-final of Greece 2022 and it is an exact repeat of their match at the European Championship last year in Bulgaria.
In that last eight clash a year ago, Croatia took a 2-0 (29:26, 27:20) victory in a high-scoring match, but it is the form of the Croatians in Greece that will worry the Norwegians – they have won all six of their matches in Heraklion so far and dropped just one period.
Whatever the result tomorrow, their ranking will be their best-ever as they are in their debut IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship – a championship which now sees them as the sole representatives from the big handball nation, after their women’s side were knocked out of contention for medals yesterday.
Following that first quarter-final, host nation Greece, who have now lost two in a row after winning their first four, take on Qatar who are warming up nicely after a slow start. The Asian side finished a disappointing ninth at Kazan 2018 after winning bronze at the previous two World Championships and will be desperate to medal again in 2022.
The final two quarter-finals take place at the same time – 11:30 EEST – on the central court and court 2. Spain play the historically-best team in the history of the sport, Brazil, with Uruguay, one of the surprise packages of the championship so far, playing European champions Denmark.
Going into the knock-out stage, Lucian Bura is top scorer in the men’s championship, with the Croatian scoring 124 points, while down the other end, Brazil’s Cristiano Seben Rossa is the top goalkeeper, with 48 saves from 145 shots faced.
In terms of points scored and conceded, Brazil have the meanest defence, conceding just 33 points on average per game, a total of 199 in six games, while Croatia average 51.6 goals per game to top the points scoring charts, on 310 in their six.
But today is not all about Greece 2022. The top five teams in the championship will automatically qualify for the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games.
This means that all teams who win their quarter-finals will qualify and the 5-8 placement round this afternoon takes on an extra element. The second edition of the global multisport event will be held in Bali, Indonesia next August.
After the morning session has completed, the semi-finalists will be known with those two games taking place at 18:20 and 20:50.
The penultimate day also features four 9-16 placement round games in the morning, with a South American clash early on between Argentina and Ecuador. In the afternoon and evening session, the losers of the quarter-finals will play off and the 9-16 placement round splits into 9-12 and 13-16 competitions.