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Photo: Uroš Hočevar

Croatia unbeatable in Group A

In the last match of the day three in Koprivnica  beat

After Croatia’s Stipe Purić’s save, Gianfranco Pribetić scored the first goal in the game. A strong start and built up actions alongside goalkeepers’ saves resulted with a few goals in the first 10 minutes (3:1). Croatia kept dominating and Serbia had problems finding a hole in hosts’ defence wall. Serbia’s attackers’ shots weren’t enough as fast breaks, precise shots and a great support from Purić allowed Croatia to comfortably enter the second half with a six-goal lead (14:8).

Pribetić, Ante Ivanković and Fran Mileta opened the second half with a new series for Croatia. The streak broke Jovica Nikolić with his third goal for Serbia. Aleksandar Radosaljević’s team showed a great effort but Croatia kept the lead steadily until the final whistle of this game day. Securing their third win (27:20) in the group stage, hosts put on a great show for the fans in Koprivnica.

Winners’ best player was Ante Ivanković and Serbia’s was Aleksa Živković.

Top scorer for Croatia were Gianfranco Pribetic and Fran Mileta with six goals each and for Serbia Jovica Nikolić with five.

Croatia player, Ante Ivankovic: Serbia did well during the entire tournament, but today we were a better team. We did well in defense, especially at the start of the match. Overall, we deserved to win and now we have Denmark and France ahead. They are both very good teams, and I hope we enjoy even better support.

Croatia coach, Boris Lisica: Again, a very good start was decisive in this match. These young players had to deal with the pressure of being favourites for the third time in a row. We played really well as a team. We are growing, hopefully injuries don’t affect us that much, as that could be a problem. We continued strong in the second half and were in full control of the match. Denmark and France are waiting for us, they are both very strong squads, very much like all who earn a place with the final 8 teams.

Serbia coach, Aleksandar Radosavljevic: Croatia were the favourites, but my players seemed satisfied with the result of the Israel- Portugal match, which meant we are going through. Our first goal was to go through, and we prepared well for this match. I was a bit mad at my players, because they haven’t respected all the things we have agreed before the match. That satisfaction limited us to not playing the way we can. Against Denmark and France, there is definitely a chance for us to record a win or even two.

Serbia player, Aleksa Veselinovic: Today, I want to congratulate Croatia. They were perfect in both defense and offense. Our biggest problem was defense, because we haven’t performed the way it was agreed before the match. Our opponents are Denmark and France, both terrific teams, but we can play against them. I think we have the quality to fight for the medal.

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