The scene of the game: Just recently, the Croats had thrown the ball on the bar and Fabian Wiede in return to 18:15 increased when Kai Häfner offered the chance to 19:15. But Croatia goalkeeper Marin Sego prevented the four-goal lead with a strong parade. Instead of a final spurt with a tailwind, the big wobbling began after this missed chance.
The result: Germany qualified early in the semi-final on Friday in Hamburg with a 22:21 (11:11) against Croatia. Click here for the game report.
Uwe Gensheimer (left) and Fabian Wiede
The first half: Both teams began with offensive defensive lines to keep the opponent's strongest throwers away from their own goal and put pressure on the attackers. This succeeded. Throughout the entire 30 minutes were consistently running games in short supply, many litters landed in distress next to the box or the final man. No team won more than two goals, after 1: 3, 6: 6 and 10: 9 Germany's again outstanding offensive player Wiede was able to equalize for 11:11 with 15 seconds to go.
The second half: Started similarly hectically, as the first passage ended. Germany took the lead, after 18:15 fell despite a brilliant parade by Andreas Wolff against Zeljko Musa four Croatian hits in a row. National coach Christian Prokop surprisingly changed the goalkeeper, but after two unlucky draws Silvio Heinevetter had to clear his place again. Wiede and Steffen Fäth made up for the 19:19 and 20:20, Hendrik Pekeler brought the DHB selection after a fast-paced 21:20 in the lead, before the hitherto sovereign referee surprisingly Stürmerfoul decided against the Croats. "A very good whistle," said TV expert Markus Baur, the guest players were outraged and did not want to calm down until the final whistle (and beyond). Uwe Gensheimer increased to 22:20, the opponent could only shorten.
No respite: "At the back we win the game," said the coach of his players in one of the time-outs in the second half. "They played yesterday" - a mantra that runs through the entire World Cup. The schedule is so tight that the team is almost always a favorite in tight final stages with one more day's break. The Croats still had their game against Brazil from the day before in the bones, the Germans with nearly 20,000 spectators in the back more power reserves. The deeper bank - what else should go wrong? Almost everything, as the last minutes showed.
The we-feeling: that the hall speaker after three minutes the audience with karnevalesk throaty voice "All together!" and "Now we get the lead, Cologne!" roaring, we have already gotten used to it in the course of this World Cup. That ZDF commentator Christoph Hamm of "We" speaks when he means the German team, however, is an irritating lack of distance, to which one should not get used.
The mood mute: After eight and a half minutes, the game and the World Cup for the German playmaker Martin Strobel had ended. In an actually harmless duel, he twisted his knee unhappily and had to leave the field on the stretcher. Since the playmaker fails injured, Prokop may take another actor in his squad.
Bitter diagnosis for Martin #Strobel. He suffered an internal ligament tear in the left knee against #Croatia and there is a suspicion of a cruciate ligament tear. #CROGER #dhb #WM # handball2019- DW Sport (@dw_sport) January 21, 2019
Gense-Cam: Like against France, German captain Uwe Gensheimer missed his first seven-meter penalty. Double doubling: As against the French, he took the second attempt and met. Strong signals of self-esteem are of great importance especially for opponents at eye level. Gensheimer has been several times in this tournament in a position to send them, even if he freestanding left a lot.
Duvnjak-Cam: The Brazilians had shown the day before, how to take the outstanding Croats as well as possible from the game. The Germans had looked at this very closely and forced Domagoj Duvnjak to wild throws. Martin Strlek, Igor Karacic and Zlatko Horvat set the pin-pricks to which their visibly battered superstar was not able to. The Kieler showed greatness after the game when he quickly gets his turn despite the disputable decision against his team shortly before the end and, besides a "ridiculous!" nothing bad wanted to say. Instead, congratulations to the German team.
The outlook: The advantage for Germany is obvious. While they can let loose the main round against Spain (Wednesday, 20.30 clock), all potential opponents have to play for victory to reach the semi-final day on Friday in Hamburg.