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Croatia Defeat Serbia At Euro Handball To Start Perfect 3-0

January 12, 2020




The Croatian Cowboys came back from a 10-8 halftime deficit to defeat Serbia in the final match of the preliminary round Monday night in Graz, Austria. After an extremely slow first half where both goalies stood on their heads, Croatia finally pulled away to beat their Balkan rivals 24-21.



Croatia now has a 2-point advantage on half of their competition going into the Main Round. Their next match will take place Thursday in Vienna against the first-place team from Group B; which could be Austria.






The Euro 2020 Handball tournament is underway with Croatia winning their first two matches: 27-21 over Montenegro and 31-23 over Belarus, respectively. The Croatian Cowboys have already locked up a spot in the Main Round but will cap off the preliminary group stage against Serbia Monday at 2:30PM (ET).



I’m anything but a handball expert; but I do know one thing: Croatia is perennially a top-six handball nation in the world. The Cowboys are always in line for a podium finish every tournament they play in. They are also in prime position to make the semifinals at Euro 2020, especially with France – who are always a favorite to win the handball title – already eliminated from the tournament.



Expect Croatia to beat Serbia on Monday in Graz, Austria. The Main Round begins with games on January 16th in Vienna. Euro 2020 will be the perfect measuring stick for Croatia’s handball team going into the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.



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Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 26 comments

  1. Soul Champ says:

    Always torn about our rukomet prowess.

    I love all of our sporting success.

    But know that our point guard is probably playing team handball making peanuts for himself.

    Bogdanović will make over a $100 million dollars when his basketball career is complete.

    He is a world class shooter and a legit NBA scorer but not a transcendent player.

    Team handball clubs get these boys early throwing a volleyball size ball into an empty net.

    They make sure they don’t play basketball as they start training them at ~5 years old.

    There is no infrastructure for little hoops for little kids in Croatia.

    Just mind blowing that half these dudes could be making 6-7 figure salaries in Europe and beyond and are wasting there talent with team handball.

    A few years back I saw the team handball crew getting ready for 2014 Olympic Games in Rio.

    Average height was 2 meters and strong.

    It was like an alternate universe that it wasn’t a basketball team?

    All good .. I wish these boys the best and get take home the gold and go back to making ~50k a year.

  2. The truth says:

    Handball should be banned in Croatia until the age of 15

    At 15 if you’ve failed at hoops, you can try handball

    Maybe this would weaken the handball team

    But the important question is

    Would anyone care?


  3. Poglavnik says:

    Screw basketball! We’re great at handball.
    What’s next? Stop playing soccer so we can become better ice hockey players? Basketball and its American culture is for losers.

  4. The truth says:

    Handball is an irrelevant sport that no one pays attention to and watches except maybe for a week every four years. It’s also played by only a small pocket of the world which makes success in it a lot less relevant because these teams wouldn’t be nearly as successful if the full athlete talent pool were playing it

    Kind of like when lacrosse players in New York think they are such good athletes and its like “come on buddy. If all the actual athletes who are busy playing basketball and football tried to play lacrosse, you’d be watching rather than playing”

  5. Aussie Croat says:

    Srpski izbornik Nenad Peruničić o hrvatskim navijačima:
    “Da barem mi osjetimo takvu podršku i ljubav, da bar imamo navijače kao Hrvatska”

    “Ovo su utakmice u kojoj bih i ja volio biti na terenu, to su utakmice u kojima se uživa. Hrvatskoj bi želio da osvoji medalju baš zbog navijača, volio bih da i nas naši navijači tako podrže jer značilo bi nam da se ne osjećamo sami. Jako mi je drago da smo protiv ovakvog protivnika odigrali najbolju utakmicu”, rekao je Peruničić.

  6. Maminjo says:

    Basketball is a bigger sport than handball, with much higher salaries and global impact.

    Due to the natural athleticism and size of our population, along with a great basketball history, it makes little sense to prioritize a sport like handball over basketball.

    All these charismatic handball players that we had (like Balic, Duvnjak, Vori, etc) could have been making tens of millions of dollars per year as basketball players, and have a far reaching influence than they did as handball players (promoting all things Croatia).

    For example, look how much impact one single dijaspora Croat does for Croatia in Stipe Miocic adding to the credibility that Croats are warriors. We put together a handful of elite footballers, and we are the talk of the World Cup (stamping ourselves as a football power).

    Luka Doncic alone will probably make Slovenia relevant for the next 15-20 years. It would be interesting to see how many people never heard of Slovenia, before they heard of Doncic making them aware of it. I’m sure it will result in a spike in their tourism and other business too over the next decade.

    Despite having zero basketball courts in any Croatian city, we still somehow rank very high in amount of players in the NBA (let alone players in other European leagues). It’s like we are trying hard not to be successful, and everything is just screaming for us to tap this potential.

    We are a handball power, but it yields ‘some’ positivity for Croatia (but nothing compared to what basketball would do).

    I like handball, and I want us to continue the program we have…but we can’t get into some sort of internal competition with our basketball program. That’s ridiculous. We really need to develop the youth we have in that sport.

  7. Black man says:


    I generally like your posts, but wtf are you talking about?
    “ Despite having zero basketball courts in any Croatian city, we still somehow rank very high in amount of players in the NBA (let alone players in other European leagues). It’s like we are trying hard not to be successful, and everything is just screaming for us to tap this potential.”

  8. Black man says:

    Google best outdoor basketball courts in the world and you’ll find at least one Cro one listed and every city has several of them…

  9. Aussie Croat says:

    I still find it hard to believe that with the talent we have in the NBA, how have we made not one single ripple in world basketball?

    There used to be a time where it was us, the Russians, the US maybe Brazil and Argentina, maybe the Greeks….
    These days we lose to Poland and the like.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I can imagine you guys living vicariously through your kids lol!

    Ever think these handball players play a game they love? Like they say, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

    Ever think as kids that they more than likely did play most sports, and eventually as they got older had to choose one if they want a sporting career?
    Now which sport do you reckon they’d choose to pursue? The one they’re best at (which you’d think would be the one they love most), or the sport that will make them the most money but they might not make it in?

    Well done to the handball team, way more important than the basketball team at the moment.

  11. Nizic says:

    Za Dom
    Remember that beautiful goal Mandzo put in against the dirty serbs, take that for all he knows how to score!!!
    Rob Nikada

  12. Andrej L says:

    There are basketball and handball courts everywhere back home. I grew up playing soccer on a handball court in Zagreb. In Toronto, we played handball in gym class a lot too but with the wrong ball and varied rules. Great sport to watch and it’s really fun to play (especially if your a good dribbler).

  13. BZ says:

    Truth- In many Northeast high schools you’ll find that the best basketball, soccer, and football athletes also play lacrosse.
    I think we have all seen that being a great athlete doesn’t always translate to anything you try; especially when you are using a stick. Great athletes play lacrosse in the Northeast because there is more poon to be had playing lacrosse in the Northeast than playing basketball, something you obviously have no experience with.

    If Michael Jordan didn’t fail in his attempt to play professional baseball we’d all still be hearing mythical stories (from guys like you) about how he would have also dominated Major League Baseball.

  14. Maminjo says:

    @Black man

    Are you talking about the one basketball court in Dubrovnik’s stari grad?

    Yea, everyone has seen that one. It’s in a beautiful spot, despite it being an awkwardly shaped court (still, not a full court).

    But just because one court makes a top ten list, doesn’t mean that there are a lot of courts everywhere in the country.

    I see more football fields, handball, waterpolo, tennis and even Futsal courts before I ever see a basketball court in Croatia.

    Even Shaq commented on how there are zero basketball courts in Croatia when he was interviewed by that Croatian news portal during one of his DJ stints there. He was shocked by it.

  15. Anonymous says:


    But Andre L just said “There are basketball and handball courts everywhere back home.” He must be making that up, why would he do that?

  16. Soul Champ says:

    I played in Croatia and the infrastructure is non existent compared to a Slovenia and Serbia.

    Drazens death is big part of this.

    Kids play handball because they are exposed to it way before basketball. And the RK’s hold them down.

    The ugly truth is we are broke and invest little in sport.

    On top of that we have a large in house Jugo population that simply hates Croatia.

    The rukomet representazija IS a basketball team with real physical dudes.

    I respect rukomet as it is way more intense than you realize.

    But Bogdanović is going to make $100+ million in his career.

    That is more than the entire history of handball players in Croatia times 10!

  17. Suba says:

    It seems to me that we have simply stepped away from bball just to allow the chetniks be better than us at something

    We must rediscover our bball talent as it clearly there and not be put off by the success of Serbia

    Same goes for tennis

  18. Lika Joey says:

    Suba we have achieved more than the Serbs in tennis. We have two Davis cup titles. That is an accomplishment in itself!

  19. Black man says:


    With all do respect, I live back home. There are a lot of futsal/handball and basketball courts from continental Croatia to the coast. Trust me…

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