MUNICH, 11 January 2019 – Croatia has opened the 2019 IHF World Men’s Handball Championship with a victory over Iceland on Friday.
Lino Červar’s side, who are chasing their first medal at a world championships in six years, have beaten Iceland in a tough match 31-27 in front of a large Croatian contingent in Munich.
Iceland started the match strongly and looked as if they would go into the break in the lead but Croatia would score 5 unanswered goals to lead 16-14 at halftime.
Goals to Luka Cindrić and stand-out player Luka Stepančić, as well as good keeping from Marin Šego, helped Croatia stretch their lead to 4 points early in the second half.
Iceland rallied back strong and went on their own five-goal streak to take the lead 24-22 with 15 minutes remaining.
Croatia got back in front with five minutes remaining thanks to further saves from Šego and goals to Zlatko Horvat and would run away with it in the final few minutes to win the match comfortably in the end.
Former Croatia football coach and Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovač had the honour of presenting the man-of-the-match award to Stepančić.
The 2019 World Handball Championships are being held in Denmark and Germany until 27 January 2019.
Croatia’s remaining group matches:
13 January at 16:30: Croatia – Japan
14 January at 18:00: Croatia – Macedonia
16 January at 18:00: Croatia – Bahrain
17 January at 20:30: Spain – Croatia