Bronze final Pre-match: Slovenia-Croatia
Slovenia - Croatia
Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona. January 25, 19:15
After their defeats in semi-finals, Slovenia and Croatia want a medal in Spain 2013. Both teams finished their yersterday's matches very dissapointed, where nor Slovenians neither Croats had chances of qualifying to the final in the last minutes of their games versus Spain and Denmark. Both teams were unbeaten in this tournament up to this round and playing this match could be not enough for them.
The consolation could be maybe more for Slovenia, an almost 2 million people country that have already improved their best historical performance in a WCh at this edition (the tenth place of 2007). Differently could be the defeat for the Croats, who since their independence have been many times fighting for gold, and will need to change their mind in order to face this game. After the quarter and semi-finals, when he could not play due to a muscle injury, Dragan Gajic returns to the court, replacing Nenad Bilbija. In Croatia, the question is if Domagoj Duvnjak will be able to play more than in the semi-finals, when he just play few minutes due to his temperature.
- This will be the first time for Slovenia and Croatia to play a bronze medal match in a WCh. However, Croatia have won the bronze in the last two international handball events: ECh 2012 and London 2012.
- Until yesterday, Croatia had never lost a WCh semi-final. The Croats had played the final always if they reached the semis (1995, 2003, 2005 and 2009).
- Croatia and Slovenia have just met once in the WCh history. It was in the group phase of Iceland 1995. Croatia, who finally were runners-up, could not take more than a two goals lead versus Slovenia (26-24), who finally placed 18th.
- After the semi-final versus Denmark, Slavko Goluza remarked the many of his players' physical problems. Domagok Dunjak's temperature and the Drago Vukovic's injury during the match were decisive to the final result.
- Despite Croatia (235) have scored three more goals than Slovenia (232) in the tournament. The shooting accuracy of their Northern neighbours has been lightly higher so far (61% for Croatia and 63% for Slovenia).
- Despite Ivan Cupic did not netted a single goal (0/3), he still being the top scorer of his team with 42 goals. If Croatia do not want to come back without a medal, VIVE Targi Kielce's wing must come back.
- Skof's second youth. In the semi-final versus Spain, the veteran Slovenian keeper was the most outstanding player of his team. His brilliant first half with 9 saves and a 41% kept Slovenia just one goal behind in the halg time.