Main Round Group I
MCH Arena, Herning (DEN)
Spain - Croatia
In a tight and exciting match Croatia defeated Spain by a single goal and with this victory the Spaniards finish bottom of Group I in the Main Round in Herning, Denmark.
Both team´s final rank in EHF EURO 2010 will be decided after the very last game in the Main Round between Montenegro and Denmark this evening.
The semi-final places were already decided on Tuesday, but despite this, Spain and Croatia were both fired-up for their final match at EHF EURO 2010.
Going into the game Croatia still had a chance to finish third in the group, but it was Jorge Dueñas´ Spanish team that quickly took full advantage to establish an early two-goal lead.
Soon afterwards though they allowed the Croats back into the game and it was once again Lidija Horvat who with her sharp-shooting kept the game even.
When the Croatian middle back Miranda Tatari injured herself in the 14th minute, it threatened to be a turning point in the match, but her side showed a brave performance without their team captain.
The Spaniards had shown great stamina throughout the final phase of the tournament and punished the unsuccessful attacks of Kristina Franic and company with several well thought-out attacks and increased their lead to two goals again.
An exciting game ensued with the Croatian defence standing up well and their strong goalkeeper Jelena Grubisic performing heroics between the sticks as the Krim Mercator goalkeeper had an extraordinary 50% save rate in the first half.
Many technical errors littered the Croatian´s game and in the Spanish attack, line-player Begoña Fernández, who in previous games was not eligible to play because of an injury, made the line her playground, scoring four marvellous goals in the first half.
As both national teams had ups and downs in their game, it was Spain who looked unstable again, as they had in their Preliminary Round games, where they had phases of bad play, strewn with errors.
Vladimir Canjuga ´s Croatian team eventually managed to take their chance to turn the game around and took a one-goal lead to go in 11:10 at half-time.
The game stayed exciting and tight in the second half, with the lead changing hands on many occasions.
Croatia, backed by the long distance shots of left-back Andrea Penezic, improved their defence and Spain began to make too many mistakes in attack.
The Spanish defence that had stood very strong against Russia, left themselves wide open and Canjuga ´s team made the result clear five minutes before the end and with a three goals lead of the Croats Spanish coach Dueñas placed his green team timeout card on the table.
His Spanish side went all out in the dying minutes for a win, acting aggressively in defence, but the Croats kept their cool heads and celebrated victory.
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