Croatia started the EC 2015 in Macedonia with well deserved victory over Netherlands (24-22).
Netherlands has support from group of around thirty fans in “oranje” but Croatia was the team that showed better performance in opening minutes of their clash.
For twenty minutes Croatians controlled result but they didn’t manage to get more than two goals advantage. As the time passes by Netherlands became more confident, managed to put more pressure on the opponent and finally equalize after 25 minutes. But Croatia successfully defended their lead until the end of the first half. After 30 minutes Croatia was one goal ahead (12:11).
Croatia lead by 14:13 after five minutes of second half when Netherlands missed penalty and made another unforced mistake that lead to 16:14. Five minutes later result was 16:16 and Netherlands missed a clear shot for first lead.
Punishment came almost immediately.
Croatia scored twice before Netherlands manage to hit the net from counter attack (18:17). Five minutes until the end Croatia had 24:21 lead, extra player and two clear shots to put an end of the story. They missed twice, but the Netherlands players didn’t take their chances neither, so the match finished with the Croatian victory od 24-22.
Ivan Jerkovic, head coach of Croatia:
It was hard match, Netherlands have good players, good school.But we were prepared. We controlled the match since the beginning and when we reach three goal lead before the end our only goal was to keep the distance.
Robert Nijdam, head coach of Netherlands:
“It was tough match. We missed few shots at the beginning and were forced to spend more energy to catch up. We played twenty minutes with less player, they have 10 penalty shots and that made thing more complicated for us. At the end when all is taken account 24:22 is not a such bad result”