Martinovic stars in exciting draw
The second-to-last main round match in Budapest saw the Netherlands secure a last-gasp draw against Croatia, 28:28, in a game that was a positive end to both team’s campaigns — and seemed more about the future.
Neither side had the chance to progress to the final weekend and both were therefore playing only to end on a high.
Croatia right back Ivan Martinovic earned the Grundfos Player of the Match award after a huge outing with 12 goals, including the fastest shot of the game, at 133km/h.
- the result came down to the last 16 seconds, with both teams netting that close to the final buzzer. Tin Lucin looked to have won it for Croatia at 59:44, but Luc Steins had time to answer, scoring his sixth with five seconds to go
- after 19:19 in the 45th minute, Ivan Martinovic netted the first in a run of goals from Croatia that opened the first distance of more than one in their favour since the fourth minute — but they could not hold onto the clearer lead
- Croatia coach Hrvoje Horvat in particular used the chance to favour his less experienced players. Martinovic stepped into the role of penalty taker and notched up five from five from seven metres, while line player Marin Sipic netted eight
- Croatia wing Ivan Cupic rocketed up the all-time top scorer standings at the EHF EURO 2022, moving from 159 in the competition in his career to a tally of 188 at the end of his side’s campaign. He sits joint fifth with Danish legend Lars Christiansen
- it was the 10th EHF EURO match for the Netherlands and four of their players have been on court for all their games up to now: Luc Steins, Dani Baijens, Bobby Schagen and Ivo Steins
The Netherlands leave fans with great memories
While it was only the Netherlands’ 10th EHF EURO game, it was the 107th for Croatia — and the Netherlands finished their campaign in Budapest showing just how far they have come. From one win on their debut in the championship two years ago, to three and a draw at the EHF EURO 2022.
Both teams had some absences, so although the Netherlands did not face the best possible Croatia squad, they were also depleted and the game clearly showed the positive journey the team have travelled. No matter the result, the Netherlands leave as one of the stories of the EHF EURO 2022 — and no team will ever expect an easy game against them again.
It was a very tough game at the end of a tough tournament. We played a lot of excited handball, with a lot of speed. We can look back on that tournament and be proud, it is the best result ever for our country, it was a big achievement. We wanted to go the main round, we did it, and we can be happy we also took some points there. And hopefully, there is more to come in the future.
Tonight, we saw two wounded teams on the court, with new players. I want to congratulate the Netherlands, they made a big step forward in European handball in the last few years. Handball needs new teams and national teams like the Netherlands. They played one of the best handball in the tournament, at least before they had all these problems.