By Latiful Karim Khan from Lusail Multipurpose Hall, Doha, Qatar: Jan 31, 2015: Twice runners-up Denmark defeated Croatia 28-24 to finish fifth at the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall yesterday.
After an equal enough beginning, the two teams took their turns at being one goal up. But the Danish defense and goalkeeper Jannick Green soon got the better of the Croatian attack, and the Danes could create a four-goal gap (8-4).
Fast and creative Danish attacking play created problems for Croatians’ defense and their attempts to speed off the game also did not have much success either as Denmark went ahead 14-8.
Replacing Mirko Alilovic in goal with Filip Ivic helped the Croatians a little, and so did pushing Igor Vori forward in a 5-1 formation in the defense, but still the Danes managed to take a 15-11 lead at the halfway mark.
The Danish defense still stood well, and behind it Jannick Green went on doing his job—saving shots in the second half.
At the same time, Mikkel Hansen really started getting his shots in at the opposite end of the court, and the Danes stayed in the lead by three to five goals.
Croatia, who were playing for revenge after losing to Danes one year ago in the semi-final of the European Championship, benefited a bit when Domagoj Duvnjak finally began having success with his shots, but that was not enough to close the gap either.
Mikkel Hansen scored eight times for Denmark, while Domagoaj Duvnjak, Luka Stepancic and Ivan Sliskovic scored four times each for Croatia.
Denmark and Croatia already had secured their spot for the Olympic Qualification tournaments by reaching the 5/6 placement match.