Ivan Martinovic, player of Croatia:
’It is a great feeling that we won the last game of our group. Now we hope that France will beat Serbia and we can go through to the main round. We enjoyed this match, but we had some problems in the first half. Ukraine played great handball, but in the second period we were better. Tight in defense and Mate Sunjic was in top form between the posts. We made some fast and easy goals so it was well deserved. In the future, we should play the full 60 minutes according to the previous plans, because we had a short freeze in every game.’
Luka Cindric, player of Croatia:
‘It was a really hard game for us mentally. We knew that we needed to win to have our chances to go through to the next round. That is why we started nervously. Anyway, I think we deserved to win. We have done our job, we also know that France is the favourite against Serbia, but everything is open. You can never know for sure, we will see. We are only focusing on the following steps, but if we are getting through to the main round, it is going to be tough for us.’
Oleksandr Kasai, player of Ukraine:
‘Unfortunately, it was a very hard game that we lost. I think we can learn from all of our clashes in this EURO. Every game was a great chance to show our strength. Now it is time to go home. Some of us will play in the Champions League in the coming weeks and some of us will rest a bit.’
France-Serbia 29-25 (16-7)
France put the icing on the cake
France started the game with two quick goals, but Cupara kept the Serbian team in the game until 3-3. From then on, however, the Olympic gold medallists shifted gears offensively and defended aggressively. Goalkeeper Gerard made save after save as his team scored seven goals in a row with no answer from the other side. Guillaume Gille's side made it look like men against boys to entertain their ever happy fans. The beginning of the second half saw the French pick up where they left off. They did let up a little midway through the half, but it was only enough for the Serbian side to make the result look better. Croatia were the winners of the day, with the French proving once again that they are a force to be reckoned at the EHF EUROs.
Therefore, France will have two points in the main round.
Nicola Karabatic, player of France:
’Well, today it was a great game for us, we knew that Serbia will fighting for qualification, so they are dangerous, and from the last two games they beat us once, and played a draw. We wanted to take our revenge, and we are going with two points into the Main Group, we had a great defence today, Vincent (Gerard) made a lot of saves, and then we are able to play good tactics in the offense, score some goals. We could score more in the second half, but we made some easy mistakes, lost some balls. We are happy, because it was a though group. But it was only the beginning, the toughest is coming. I am happy that plenty of supporters came and cheer for us, I do not know what is waiting for us at Budapest, but I hope that arena will be full, and everyone could enjoy great handball games.”
Uros Borzas, player of Serbia:
‘Obviously, that is not how we wanted to finish this tournament, but I am glad we could show our character in the last 10 minutes and fought back to a 4-goal difference. It was tough as it felt like the game against Croatia was very tiring, and we could not recover from that. We will keep on working. We have a young team, we hope that we have a bright future ahead.’