The final match of the day in Koprivnica was between Croatia and Denmark, two undefeated teams from the Preliminary Round.
Denmark’s Johan Kofoed was the first scorer of the match and Anton Filtenborg soon added another one for Danish +2. Croatia got a suspension, but Ante Ivanković scored the hosts’ first goal in the fourth minute. Denmark’s strong start had Croatia in trouble as at first, they didn’t have an answer to Danish fast breaks and Boris Lisica was forced to call a time out. By the tenth minute, Denmark had a four-goal lead (2:6) and didn’t show any sign of slowing down but Ivan Rukavina broke their streak in the 13th minute. Although the Danish side managed to increase the difference, they missed some opportunities and Croatia woke up and very close (8:9). The first tie happened five minutes before the end as Ivan Rukavina scored for Croatia (10:10). By the end of the first 30 minutes, Danish three-goal series secured them a two-goal lead (11:13) for the second half.
Just like in the first minute of the match, Kofoed scored for Denmark’s new lead. Danish side continued dominating throughout the second half while Croatia tried to turn the tables. Ole Damgaard’s team steadily kept the lead, took time to build actions which would result in new goals while the turmoil among Croatia’s players resulted in missed shots. With the final whistle, Denmark enjoyed loud cheers from the stands and remained unbeaten as they secure a new win (20:22).
Croatia’s best player was Ivan Rukavina and Denmark’s was Lauritz Reinholdt Leger.
Top scorer for Croatia was Ivan Rukavina with five goals and for Denmark was Mads Emil Lenbroch with four.
Denmark coach, Nielsen Ole Damgaard: It was so tough, but my guys were really as well. Croatia is the most physical on the tournament, in my opinion. We knew they scored a lot of goals from distance, but our defense was terrific. We played cool all the way till the end, there was no panic at any time. We just played and my boys deserved this win today.
Denmark player, Lauritz Reinholdt Leger: I don’t think we’re the best team in the competiton, but we are among the favourites. Today versus Croatia we really played like a team. Every time we were under pressure, we played together and stayed together. You cannot win against Croatia by playing one-on-one.
Croatia player, Ivan Rukavina: Denmark were the better team today. In offense they scored some easy goals, because our defense wasn’t so good. I want to congratulate Denmark, and we want to beat France tomorrow to reach the semi-finals. France haven’t been perfect, but they are always tricky. We need to prepare well and forget about this match as soon as possible.
Denmark coach, Boris Lisica: After three matches, we started this one poorly. We let Denmark took over, they were more calm, simply better. We were down the whole time, there was no flow in our game, no matter what we tried. We definitely have to give credit to Denmark for their defense, they didn’t let us shoot from distance. Tomorrow against France, there will be a whole new match. I hope we prove that we are ready for them.