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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This starts on the 14th, Croatia is in a group with Qatar, Japan and Angola.

Červar's preliminary squad:

GK: Marin Šego (35, 6-4, Mostar), Ivan Pešić (31, 6-4, Rijeka), Mate Šunjić (33, 6-5, Metković)

RW: Ivan Čupić (34, 5-10, Metković), Zlatko Horvat (36, 5-10, Zagreb)

LW: Manuel Štrlek (32, 5-11, Zagreb), David Mandić (23, 6-2, Ljubuški), Lovro Mihić (26, 5-11, Zagreb)

RB: Ivan Martinović (23, 6-4, Vienna), Luka Šebetić (26, 6-6, Bjelovar), Šime Ivić (27, 6-5, Split)

LB: Marko Mamić (26, 6-7, Garešnica), Halil Jaganjac (22, 6-7, Rijeka), Josip Šarac (22, 6-7, Ljubuški)

CB: Domagoj Duvnjak (32, 6-6, Đakovo), Luka Cindrić (27, 6-0, Ogulin), Janko Kević (34, 6-2, Zagreb)

P: Marino Marić (30, 6-5, Mostar), Željko Musa (34, 6-7, Mostar), Marin Šipić (24, 6-3, Bad Soden), Ilija Brozović (29, 6-5, Split)
 

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This starts on the 14th, Croatia is in a group with Qatar, Japan and Angola.

Červar's preliminary squad:

GK: Marin Šego, Ivan Pešić, Mate Šunjić

RW: Ivan Čupić, Zlatko Horvat

LW: Manuel Štrlek, David Mandić, Lovro Mihić

RB: Ivan Martinović, Luka Šebetić, Šime Ivić

LB: Marko Mamić, Halil Jaganjac, Josip Šarac

CB: Domagoj Duvnjak, Luka Cindrić, Janko Kević

P: Marino Marić, Željko Musa, Marin Šipić, Ilija Brozović
I don't follow handball nearly as much as I should. What are our chances like? Is this squad considered better or worse than last years Euro?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
We've got an easy prelim group and we cross over for the main round with a group containing Denmark. They're the only big team in our side of the draw so it's hard to imagine us not getting to the quarters.

From there It's more good news since we've avoided France, Norway and Spain as our likely opponent for a spot in the semis will come from Slovenia/Sweden/Czech Rep/Belarus/Egypt/Russia. All very beatable if we're anywhere near our best.

Due to covid IHF is allowing for extended squads of 20 meaning only one player is going to drop out (probably Mihić). They're also allowing for late inclusions but only players named in the initial prelim squad of 35.

Unfortunately, Igor Karačić is out with a groin injury but has opted not to have surgery in an attempt to make it to the tournament at a later stage. Luka Stepančić is out with a long term ankle injury.

Good news is our veteran wingers are back- Štrlek has been welcomed back after last year's misunderstanding with Červar and Čupić has come out of retirement. This is huge considering our limited wing play in the knockout stages at last year's Euros.

Červar has called up Ivan Martinović for his first major tournament with the seniors. I'm guessing he'll step straight into the starting line up in place of Stepančić. He would've been in the squad last year if not for injury. He was MVP at the Junior WC in 2019 and is considered the next superstar of HR handball.

In the same position, Červar has called up Šebetić (injured) and Ivić (overlooked) which is a clear reaction to our lack of depth at RB last year.

In goal, Šego retains his spot while Ašanin makes way for Pešić. Červar copped lots of criticism last year for not taking a shot stopping keeper. Pešić fits the bill.

It all comes down to the health factor - if Duvnjak and Cindrić stay fit we can win gold, even without Karačić.
 

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We've got an easy prelim group and we cross over for the main round with a group containing Denmark. They're the only big team in our side of the draw so it's hard to imagine us not getting to the quarters.

From there It's more good news since we've avoided France, Norway and Spain as our likely opponent for a spot in the semis will come from Slovenia/Sweden/Czech Rep/Belarus/Egypt/Russia. All very beatable if we're anywhere near our best.

Due to covid IHF is allowing for extended squads of 20 meaning only one player is going to drop out (probably Mihić). They're also allowing for late inclusions but only players named in the initial prelim squad of 35.

Unfortunately, Igor Karačić is out with a groin injury but has opted not to have surgery in an attempt to make it to the tournament at a later stage. Luka Stepančić is out with a long term ankle injury.

Good news is our veteran wingers are back- Štrlek has been welcomed back after last year's misunderstanding with Červar and Čupić has come out of retirement. This is huge considering our limited wing play in the knockout stages at last year's Euros.

Červar has called up Ivan Martinović for his first major tournament with the seniors. I'm guessing he'll step straight into the starting line up in place of Stepančić. He would've been in the squad last year if not for injury. He was MVP at the Junior WC in 2019 and is considered the next superstar of HR handball.

In the same position, Červar has called up Šebetić (injured) and Ivić (overlooked) which is a clear reaction to our lack of depth at RB last year.

In goal, Šego retains his spot while Ašanin makes way for Pešić. Červar copped lots of criticism last year for not taking a shot stopping keeper. Pešić fits the bill.

It all comes down to the health factor - if Duvnjak and Cindrić stay fit we can win gold, even without Karačić.
Excellent write up thanks (y)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Is this squad considered better or worse than last years Euro?
To answer this directly...

We lose two starters in Karačić and Stepančić.

Karačić was huge for us at the Euros, he did miss those sitters in the semis which almost cost us but overall he was just behind Duvnjak in terms of performance in the tournament. We'll miss the versatility he gives us because he and Duvnjak usually roll between CB and LB.

We haven't had luck in recent tournaments because either Duvnjak or Cindrić have been injured. Cindrić got injured early in the tournament last year, played a few minutes in the semi and then missed the final. If he stays healthy he'll probably play more at CB than Duvnjak (who will rotate through LB with Mamić and possibly Jaganjac who is another one who is expected to be a top player). This will allow Duvnjak to rest more and will also make us more flexible defensively when both Cindra and Dule are on the court. If you know the defensive 5-1 set up it really drains the CB who plays out as the 1 (tipping they will swap in that role when that system is used). Cindrić is undersized for a CB but his speed and agility cause chaos on both ends, either with his penetrations or ball pressure. That's the benefit of having him there instead of Karačić.

Stepančić is often criticised because there's a big difference between his best and worst form. When playing well he's effective at both ends, he scores long bombs and defends well due to his size and long arms. However, when he's off he can go long patches without scoring, he becomes fumbly, unsure and makes technical mistakes. We saw that in the final last year, it got to the point that Červar played Horvat at RB for a period when Stepančić was benched.

This year Červar has made the smart decision of calling up three RBs. If Martinović lives up to expectations Stepančić won't be missed (at least offensively), and with Šebetić and Ivić also there we might see all of them get rotated through until one of them proves most worthy. A lot of fans were dumbfounded about Ivić's omission last year as he was one of the best scoring RBs in the German Bundesliga (he's again top ten on the scorer's list in the current season).

Where I think the squad improves drastically is on the wings. Last year our wings hardly got a look in, especially when play was slowed down and we went with set offences. That may have been due to tactics but it was also down to the fact that apart from Horvat we had no established options. With the return of Čupić and Štrlek we're going to be able to rotate two top quality options on both sides of the court. Štrlek and Čupić bring pace, energy and experience and if Červar is smart they'll be fresh come the big games. Čupić is also another penalty option.

Finally, the keeping options seem better this year. Šego was great last year but he's not known for his long shot stopping and it cost us in stretches in both the semis and final. The reserve Ašanin did have those amazing penalty saves but otherwise is an average keeper. Pešić off the bench as a long shot specialist makes sense.

So, last year's rotation finished something like this:

GK: Šego, Ašanin
RW: Horvat, Matanović
LW: Mandić
RB: Stepančić
LB: Duvnjak, Mamić
CB: Karačić
P: Marić, Musa

This year it should be:

GK: Šego, Pešić
RW: Čupić, Horvat
LW: Štrlek, Mandić
RB: Martinović, Ivić
LB: Duvnjak, Mamić, Jaganjac?
CB: Cindrić
P: Marić, Musa

That's effectively four changes to the first VII and we add 2-3 players to the rotation, get a fit Cindrić back to offset the loss of Karačić and have a potential superstar in Martinović to replace a sometimes inconsistent Stepančić.

If there are no more injuries I'd say the squad is better and with an easy draw we're looking the goods.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Big boost for the team is news that Karačić is in light training and has been added to the final 20-man squad. Ivić and Mihić drop out.

GK: Šego, Pešić, Šunjić
RW: Čupić, Horvat
LW: Štrlek, Mandić
RB: Šebetić, Martinović
LB: Mamić, Jaganjac, Šarac
CB: Duvnjak, Karačić, Cindrić
P: Marić, Musa, Brozović, Šipić

Jan 15 v Japan
Jan 17 v Angola
Jan 19 v Qatar
 

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meanwhile, Czechs and USA cancel the tournament, due to many Covid cases in their teams. North Macedonia and Svajc replace them, which is still questionable, because they aren't sure how to get a team together within less than 2 days and fly to Egypt. as for Hungry's group, heard that Cape Verde also has some corona cases but still send a team, that'll may possibly be a B team and Germany will have definitely a B team playing because some of the original squad refused to play in front of spectators. chaos rules.
 

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How the hell did the US qualify for this? :ROFLMAO: Sport is nonexistent here other than some mild fascination during the Olympics. I assume it’s not more than hobby level (amateur) like cornhole and disc golf
 

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well, they have to go through a Concacaf type qualifying 😂 and apparently beat Cuba, Puerto Rico and Canada. I remember Greenland once represented North America at a worldcup lol
I guess there is one crazy college in California where they play it, like with waterpolo
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's happened so many times but I keep doing it. :D

Anyway, solid win over Angola this morning.
 

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13:11 lead at HT. Sego with 3 penalty saves. We're struggling a bit on attack although I feel Qatar are getting a lot of ticky tack calls down their end on attack
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It looks like Cindric is out for the rest of the tournament. Any word on when Karacic is due back?
Karačić was on the squad today. Routine win against Bahrain.

So disheartening losing Cindrić but these things happen every tournament.
 

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Karačić was on the squad today. Routine win against Bahrain.

So disheartening losing Cindrić but these things happen every tournament.
So with Qatar's loss today we just need to beat Argentina and we are through to the quarters?

What are your thoughts on the potential QF opponents? Likely to be Slovenia/Egypt/Sweden. I know Sweden was a heavyweight in the past but have not been nearly as successful in recent times. If the quality gap between the 3 teams isn't that large, would it pay to just rest Duvnjak and other key players against Denmark so that we are completely fresh to try make a run.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well looks like we're out...loss to Argentina this morning means we need to beat Denmark and Argentina has to lose to Qatar.

Apparently some players got food poisoning or something.
 
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