Slovenia Women’s National Handball Team Enters the Final Tournament of the World Cup
For the first time in 12 years, the Slovenia women’s national handball team has managed to qualify for the final tournament of the World Cup, having defeated the Croatian national team by the sum of two matches (28:23, 27:28). Despite losing the home match with a minimum score (27:28), the Slovenian handball players, due to an effective away victory, won a ticket to the World Cup, which will be held in Germany on 1–17 December 2017.
The return match did not become a walk in the park for the Slovenian athletes. They did not start the meeting properly, and as a result, the ineffective attack and weak defense of the Slovenian team led to a disadvantage of 7 goals in the 24th minute (7:13). By the end of the first 30 minutes, the Slovenes managed to level the game, reducing the gap in score to 4 points (12:16).
During the second 30 minutes, the Slovenes played better. Miša Marinček was keeping the goal. She parried a dangerous attack by a Croatian handball player. Afterwards, Tamara Mavsar made a resulting throw (13:16). The pace of the game accelerated, and in the 6th minute of the second period, after a beautiful counterattack, the luck smiled on Polona Barič, who reduced the gap to a minimum (18:19). However, the Croats continued fighting. On the 43rd minute, Maja Užmah, the central defender of the Slovenian national team, got a third two-minute sending-off and a red card, while Slovenia was at a disadvantage of 4 goals (19:23) by that time.
At the game’s crucial moments, the trainees of Uroš Bregar played at their worst and made a series of mistakes, however, thanks to self-sacrifice, they managed to avoid the least. At the 52nd minute, the Slovenes, after a goal by Tamara Mavsar, cut the gap in score to a minimum (23:24) and during the final 7 minutes they managed to withstand and preserved the necessary result. In the last attack, the Slovenian handball players had a chance to even the score, but the Croatian goalkeeper parried the Gros’s attack.
The best scorers in the Slovenian team were Tjaša Stanko (7 goals) and Tamara Mavsar (6 goals).
The last time, the Slovenia women’s national handball team performed in the final tournament of the World Handball Championship in Russia (2005) and took the 14th place. In their debut performance at the World Championships in Germany (1997), the Slovenes were 18th; at the second World Championships in Italy (2001), they took the 9th place; and the best result was shown by Slovenian handball players in the final of the World Championships in Croatia (2003), when they took the 8th place.
Qualifying Round for the Right to Enter the World Cup
Return Play-off Matches
Slovenia – Croatia 28:23
Slovenia: Stanko 7 (2), Mavsar 6, Gros and Jeriček — 4 for each, Ferfolja and Barič — 2 for each, Lazović and Irman — 1 for each.
Croatia: Marić and Benko — 6 for each, Krsnik and Debelić — 4 for each, S. Posavec and Kožnjak — 3 for each, Mičijević and Plahinek — 1 for each.
Seven-metre free kicks: 2/3; 3/4.
Sending-offs: 8; 6 min.
Red card: Užmah, 43/Slovenia