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Date: 12/18/2011

Bitter end for Angola, joy for Croatia – and the second best ever World Championship position for both teams: By beating the African Champion, the Europeans reached the seventh place. But despite losing this game, Angola still can hope for a straight ticket to the 2012 London Olympics, if they win the African Championship in January 2012.


Placement match 7/8:

Angola – Croatia 29:32 (12:14)

Finishing seventh in Brazil meant the second best ever placement for the Croatian team after their sixth place in 1997. But it was a tough piece of work for the Europeans to beat the African Champion, which finalized the World Championship with three straight defeats. After losing the quarter-final against Denmark, they lost both matches of the Placement Round against Russia and Croatia. But also for Angola, this result is the second best rank after their seventh place at the World Championship 2007.

After the African Champion had the better start, Croatia caught up in the middle of the first half and took the lead at 10:9 for the first time. Both teams played with passion and eagerness to win this encounter, even though the meaning concerning Olympic Qualification Tournaments (especially for Croatia) was not so huge.

After a two goals lead at the break, the Europeans took control of the starting phase of the second half, but Angola still stood strong thanks to their powerful back court shooters. The Africans came closer to 16:17, before Croatia again re-started with a 5:1 series, when the Angolan defence intermediately was out of work. And then Croatia – led by Andrea Penezic – remained in control of the game until the very end.

Statements after the match:

Francisco Eduardo, coach Angola: In the decisive moments we did not play well, this was the reason of our defeat. In general we are satisfied, as we reached our major goal, to be among the best eight teams. But we need more experience, so maybe we should play more friendly matches with European teams. In the decisive moments in the last matches we lacked concentration and power – this we have to improve. Now we hope for winning the African Championship.

Vladimir Canjuga, coach Croatia: Angola was the stronger team in the first 14 minutes, then we took over the control of this match. We are satisfied with the seventh rank, but it was possible to finish even better. The only weak match we had, was against Brazil. Losing against Norway and Denmark is not a shame. It was a tough tournament, but I think we made some steps forward since the European Championship in 2010. We are qualified for the Olympic Qualification – and I hope we make the final step towards London, depending on the constellation of those tournaments.

Danila Carlos, player Angola: In the crucial moments we missed the chances to get ahead of Croatia, this is why we lost.

Maja Zebic, player Croatia: Angola showed a strong performance, but we were stronger. We deserved to win this game and to finish seventh in the end.


Final ranking 5 – 24:

5. Brazil

6. Russia

7. Croatia

8. Angola

9. Sweden

10. Montenegro

11. Korea

12. Iceland

13. Romania

14. Japan

15. Netherlands

16. Ivory Coast

17. Germany

18. Tunisia

19. Kazakhstan

20. Uruguay

21. China

22. Cuba

23. Argentina

24. Australia