Dominant Croatia claim main round ticket
03 Dec. 2023
The first win at the 26th IHF Women's World Championship saw Croatia secure their berth at the main round, after a dominating performance against the People's Republic of China, 39:13.
Croatia vs People's Republic of China 39:13 (19:7)
In their opening match against Senegal, Croatia snapped up a point after mounting a strong comeback, despite never taking the lead once. While the Europeans could be satisfied with their fighting spirit, they were obviously looking for an improvement in their second match with People's Republic of China, which came in droves, with a dominating win.
This time around, Croatia did better, although the opening minutes were far from flawless. But after the Asians pulled in front 2:1, two penalty shots from Dejana Milosavljevic lifted the Europeans to a 3:0 run and therefore to a 4:2 lead.
China drew level at 4:4, but then the Balkan side boasted an impressive 8:0 run, which gave them a big advantage already midway through the first half. Goalkeeper Tea Pijevic started to make multiple saves, and Milosavljevic's effort in attack was supported by fellow back court player Valentina Blazevic.
At half-time, Croatia boasted a clear lead of 12 goals, basically securing their win and the main round berth, as Pijevic – who was elected hummel Player of the Match - made 11 saves for a 61% saving efficiency during these 30 minutes.
After the break, she was replaced by Lucija Besen, who closed up shot, boasting nine saves and a 60% save efficiency. The one-side traffic continued in the second half, as Croatia rotated their squad, with 12 of 14 court players putting their names on the scoresheet.
Following their 26-goal win, 39:13, Croatia have three points after two matches and will face co-hosts Sweden on Tuesday, while China, who have no points, still have a chance to progress to the main round in case they defeat Senegal in their last group match, if the African side lose against Sweden in Sunday's last match in Gothenburg.
hummel Player of the Match: Tea Pijevic (Croatia)