The World Cup has kicked off, and in just ten days, the Croatian handball team will begin their journey against Senegal in Gothenburg on December 1st. Two days later, they will face China, and for the final match of the group stage, they believe that a derby for first place against Sweden is in store. Compared to the last European Championship qualifiers, the team has a new coach, Ivica Obrvan, who has only ten days to get to know the players and for them to get to know him. He is currently training some of the players in Podravka and met with the rest of the team before they left for Poreč for a week of preparation.
Obrvan believes that his team is ready for the World Cup, despite some injury problems a few weeks ago. He is confident that they can be among the top two teams to advance to the second round and reach the quarterfinals, which would mean qualification for the Olympic Games. To prepare for this grand tournament, Croatia will play matches against Congo and Montenegro in Novigrad as part of their Croatia Cup competition.
The absence of Ana Debelić due to her motherhood has been one of the biggest challenges faced by this team since their last campaign. However, Obrvan is relieved that they have been playing together as a group for a long time. Although there are still some unknowns about their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses during this group stage matchup, their determination to qualify for Paris remains strong as it represents their biggest wish as a generation.