An amazing spectacle was created by the last two teams, which on Wednesday evening went on the court of the Hall Legionów to compete for promotion to the stage. The last fight between the Croats and Germans lasted until the last seconds of the match, but the charges of Maik Nowak turned out to be slightly better. Even though after the first half they were losing 9:14, after a break they quickly cought up for the losses and eventually won 25:24.

CROATIA – GERMANY 24:25 (14:9)

Croatain side had much better beginning as after eight minutes they were leading 6:3. The Germans were making lot of mistakes, what was used by the players of Goran Bobic. After eleven minutes the charges of Maik Nowak finally managed to succeed in the counterattack, but a moment later the Croats scored a goal and the score was 8:4. After another goal scored in the counterattack after another mistakes oft he Germans the lead of Hrvatska was 9:4.

Croatian side didn’t have any difficulties with forcing their rivals‘ defense. They were scoring from the 6th meter, from the distance, from the middle and from the wings. After 25 minutes they were leading 13:8. After the eight goal scored by the Germans in the counterattack, Goran Bobic asked for time-out. In the last five minutes both teams scored one goal each and finished the first part with the score 14:9.

After the break, the Germans returned to the court totally changed and in just two minutes scored three goals in a row. Very quickly the score turned into 14:12 and the game sped up. After fourteen minutes, the charges of Maik Nowak equalized at 18:18 and Goran Bobić had to react, asking for a time-out. It did not help, because after the resumption of the game, the Germans scored another goal! The match was becoming more and more exciting, the Croatian began to have permanent problems with defeating goalkeeper Laura Waldenmaier, while the Germans were counterattacking them with child’s ease. Slowly but the players of Goran Bobić managed to get back into the game and get the draw 22:22.

Five minutes were left until the end of the match! The Germans were in the lead of one goal and so it remained till the end. Half a minute before the final whistle they were leading 25:24, and although their rivals were doing their best, they were unable to work out a good throwing position so in the end these are the Germans who can enjoy the promotion to the quarter-finals!

Magda Pluszewska

photo credit: PRESSFOCUS/ZPRP

CROATIA: Marinović, Pokopac – Barisić 5, Malec 5, Ivanda 1, Popović, Guskić 7, Vucić, Rubić, Vidaković, Petika 2, Vojnović, Kaselj 3, Barbir, Miholić, Humel

GERMANY: Zenner, Waldenmaier – Uhlmann, Hausherr, Kockel, Weise 5, Andreas 1, Muehlner 1, Quist 3, Von Pereira 1, Agwunedu 5, Wulf, Neubrander, Golla, Michalczik 5, Bleckmann 4

Goran Bobić, head coach of Croatia: I have a mixed feelings about the game. Probably it was our best match since I’m a coach. Unfortunately, the second half was bad. Anyway, I think we did a huge step forward since our first game at this tournament. We still need to work, today we did some tactical mistakes, the Germans were scoring a lot of goals using their wingers, but my girls did their best and I am very proud of them!

Zuzana Porvaznikova, assistant coach of Germany:  We showed today how strong team we are. In the first half we did a lot of mistakes, we had problems with efficiency in attack. We worked on this and we came back in the second half. In previous matches our form was like a sinusoid, this time we started very low, but managed to climb really high. Now we have little time to rest, so we focus on regeneration!