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28.10.2013, 14:44
Three Olympic champions are coaching Croatia
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NEWS REPORT: Two and a half months out the Men's EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark, changes are taking place in the Croatian men's team that shall ultimately lead to an end of the squad's 'bronze spell'
 

Three Olympic champions are coaching Croatia

Croatia finished third at the past three consecutive major tournaments, the EHF EURO 2012, the 2012 Olympic Games and the World Championship 2013, but they are now willing to achieve more.

In a first step the teams two assistant coaches, Zeljko Babic and Zdenko Zorko, were replaced.

New on the sideline next to head coach Slavko Goluza is Zdravko Zovko. The former Croatian and Yugoslavian international won gold at 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He was also part of the Croatian team that won bronze at the EHF EURO 1994 and silver at the World Championship 1995.

As a coach he steered Veszprem into the final of the EHF Champions League in the 2001/02 season. He has also coached Croatia's women's team previously.

Croatia's new goalkeeper coach is two-time Olympic champion (1996 Atlanta and 2004 Athens), Valter Matosevic.

He is currently coaching HC Zamet and was the Croatian junior national team's goalkeeper coach at the Youth World Championship this summer in Hungary at which Croatia won silver.

This means that together with Goluza (Olympic champion in 1996 and 2004) three Olympic champions with a combined tally of five gold medals are at the helm of the Croatian team.

Respect for the opponents

Furthermore Goluza has announced the players he is going to take to the inaugural edition of the Men's Golden League which will throw off on 1 November in Oslo, Norway.

Croatia face Norway, Denmark and France in the four-nation tournament that lasts for three days.

''There are no big changes for the Golden League and there will be no big changes either in the national team's roster for the European Championship,“ said Goluza.

“There is no time to make any major changes. We'll do our best to make our game better in some details and to keep what was good in the past.

“At the tournament we'll give some players who are not playing so much in their clubs a chance. My only wish is that no one gets injured.”

At the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark Croatia were drawn in Group D together with Sweden, Belarus and Montenegro.

“We respect each team very much. Playing against Sweden in Copenhagen will be like playing against a home team, and they are playing nice handball as they proved at the Olympic Games in London,” commented Goluza.

“Montenegro are something new for us but they are definitely a good and ambitious team. They overcame Germany in their qualification group with which says enough for itself.

“Belarus have showed improvement at the World Championship Spain which is also visible in their club handball and their league.

“Our goal is to pass the group with as much points as possible and get closer to semifinal. There will be no easy opponents and we will have to be on high level from the very beginning.”

The Croatian squad for the Golden League from 1 to 3 November

Goalkeepers: Mirko Alilovic, Venio Losert

Wing players: Manuel Strlek, Lovro Sprem, Ivan Cupic, Zlatko Horvat.

Line players: Igor Vori, Zeljko Musa

Back court players: Jakov Gojun, Damir Bicanic, Stipe Mandalinic, Blazenko Lackovic, Domagoj Duvnjak, Drago Vukovic, Josip Valcic, Denis Buntic, Marko Kopljar


TEXT: Bruno Pinevic / ts
 
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