25/01/2020

Croatia target last missing title; Spain aim for trophy defence

FINAL PREVIEW: Croatia have won the Olympic Games and world championship but never the EHF EURO. On Sunday, they have their chance when they meet Spain in the final, who hope to defend the title

Croatia and Spain will fight for gold at the EHF EURO on Sunday. Photo © Jozo Cabraja / kolektiff

Croatia are one of the most decorated national teams in men’s handball, with a total of 13 medals won at EHF EUROs, world championships and Olympic Games since 1996 – but they have not raised a major trophy in 16 years, with the most recent first place coming in 2004 at the Athens Games.

Croatia are eager to end that wait when they meet Spain in the final of the Men’s EHF EURO 2020 on Sunday afternoon in Tele2 Arena, Stockholm.

For Spain, it is the third straight EHF EURO final. They target defence of the title after clinching it for the first time at the previous edition in Croatia in 2018. Spain are already assured of their eighth EURO medal with the qualification for the final.

FINAL

Spain vs Croatia
Sunday 26 January, 16:30 CET, live on ehfTV.com

  • Croatia have made it to the EHF EURO final twice before, in 2008 and 2010, but never won the trophy – it is the last major international title missing from their cabinet
  • although Croatia have never taken the European title, they have won the Olympic Games twice, in 1996 and 2004, and the world championship once, in 2003
  • Spain are playing their third consecutive EHF EURO final, and they aim to become the first to defend the title since Sweden last did so in 2002
  • with their thrilling 80-minute semi-final victory against Norway, 29:28, Croatia remained unbeaten at the EHF EURO 2020, while becoming the first to overthrow Norway
  • Spain also take the court for the final unbeaten at the EHF EURO 2020, and are riding an undefeated run of 11 matches overall, which began following their main round loss to Slovenia in 2018
  • the teams met in main round group I in Vienna, in one of the most exciting matches of the tournament – a 22:22 draw after Croatia fought back from a six-goal deficit as late as the 45th minute
  • Croatia’s semi-final win was their 60th overall in European championship history, and saw them extend their current unbeaten run, which started at the 2018 edition, to nine games
  • Croatia were led in their semi-final by a great game from Domagoj Duvnjak, who scored eight goals and played a critical role at the front of their 5-1 defensive formation
  • Spain have scored the most goals at the EHF EURO, with 256
  • Spain’s goalkeepers Gonzalo Perez de Vargas and Rodrigo Corrales count the highest number of saves at the EURO, reaching a total of 100 in their semi-final against Slovenia
  • with this appearance, Spain centre back Raul Gonzalez will draw level with France’s Nikola Karabatic with the record for most EHF EURO matches played, at 60
written by Courtney Gahan / jh