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Date: 4/8/2012

After a mostly tough and close final clash of the two best teams in Varazdin, host Croatia celebrated the first position after beating Iceland 31:28. Both teams had booked their tickets to London already on Saturday 7 April. Japan took the third place in Varazdin after their first victory at this Olympic Qualification Tournament, whilst the team from Chile returns home without a point.


Japan vs. Chile 33:26 (14:9)

Both teams had already been eliminated from the race to London after two match days. The Asian took the advantage of a perfect starting period with a pre-decisive 9:2 lead in minute 12. Even as Chile reduced to 13:9 right before the break, the Japanese still were in full control of the game. Latest at the 22:15 the winner was clear - despite a strong intermediate period of the South Americans, who scored a 6:2 series to 23:27. In the end even nine goals of top scorer Emil Feuchtmann were not enough for Chile to endanger the Japanese victory. Besides goalkeeper Akihito Kai (15 saves), Miyazaki and Suematsu (each five goals) were the best players of the winning team.

Statements after the match:

Kiyoharu Sakamaki, coach Japan: “We are very satisfied with this match. We've changed our way of playing a bit. The only problem was the Chilean player Oneto. The key to success was to find a way to prevent him from scoring.

Fernando Capurro, coach Chile: “The analysis of the game is very simple: the first ten minutes were bad and after that our game improved but it was not enough for us to win. I'm proud of all my players and all things accomplished.”


Croatia vs. Iceland 31:28 (18:15)

Like Sweden in Gothenburg, the host was successful in the end: Croatia took a tight, but well-deserved victory in the duel of the two before unbeaten teams. This result means that Croatia and Sweden are in pot 2 of the draw of the Men’s Olympic handball tournament, whilst the two second ranked teams from Hungary and Iceland will be seeded in pot 3. Croatia was in lead all the time, though the Icelandic fought hard to win this prestigious duel. But like at the World Championship 2011, when both teams faced in the 5/6 placement match, the Croats had the better end. 

The match was leveled until minute 26, when the score was 15:14 – then the host scored three straight goals and took a three-goal distance to the dressing rooms. Already the first half had been a kind of private duel of the former Rhein Neckar Löwen team mates Ivan Cupic (Croatia, finally 9 goals) and Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson (in total 8 goals) with a 7:4 advantage for Cupic after 30 minutes full of speed and goals. 

Iceland tried hard to get closer in the second half, but as Croatian goalkeeper Mirko Alilovic shut up the shop, his team could extend the distance to even seven goals at the 25:18 in minute 43. Keeping this gap until minute 55 the game – and the final ranking of the tournament - had been decided, though Iceland reduced to finally three goals. 


Statements after the match:

Gudmundur Gudmundsson, coach Iceland: “As expected it was a hard match. It was our goal to win this tournament, and even though we gave our best, our energy didn't sufficent to win. Croatia is a great team and a great opponent. We are a little bit disappointed, but we are in London - and that is the most important fact.”

Sigurbergur Sveinsson, player Iceland: “It was a good game, there was not much pressure on both sides since we secured the qualification to London before. Croatia is a good team and we were not able to beat them today.”

Slavko Goluža, coach Croatia: “We have to be satisfied, we won three matches in front of our audience. There were good and bad moments in our today's match, but we have to be satisfied. Croatia is a small country and for us securing visa for London is a big thing. We have enough time to prepare and to present ourselves in the best possible way in London.”

Blaženko Lacković, player Croatia: “This is real big stuff for us, we secured our place in London and we have to be satisfied.  It wasn't easy to face Japan and Chile which were matches that we had to win and those are the most difficult ones. I'm glad that we are going to London from my home town Varaždin, it was great atmosphere and we enjoyed it.”

Previous results:


Croatia vs. Japan 36:22 (16:14)

Iceland vs. Chile 25:17 (12:7)



Chile vs. Croatia 15:35 (9:17)

Japan vs. Iceland 30:41 (11:20)


Final ranking:

1. Croatia/6:0 points, 2. Iceland/4:2 points, 3. Japan/2:4 points, 4. Chile/0:6 points