The last few seconds ran, the Brazilian defence were compact and allowed for no gaps. Domagoj Duvnjak was a last desperate throw of about nine meters, easy prey for the opposing Keeper, and in return, fell the 29:26 for Brazil, the two-time Olympic champion was beaten. Croatian handball players had squandered their good position in the battle for the semi-finals.

The German Team is likely to have on Brazil’s victory on Sunday was happy. If the DHB-selection in the evening (20.30 clock, live Ticker SPIEGEL ONLINE, TV: ZDF) on Croatia hits, it can make your athletic goal in the world Cup already perfect: A win and Germany is in the semi-finals of Hamburg, which takes place on Friday. It is the first match ball, he should be forgiven, there remains the third and last main round match against Spain on Wednesday. For Croatia, the duel falls in the category of “Everything or nothing”.

How the table looks currently:

1. France, 4 games, 7:1 points, goals: +14
2. Germany, 3 games, 5:1 points, goals: +18
3. Croatia, 3 games, 4:2 points goals: +5
4. Spain, 3 games, 2:4, goals: 0
5. Brazil, 3 games, 2:4, doors: -12
6. Island, 4 games, 0:8 points, doors: -25

“If a had said before the tournament that we can do it now, even in advance, we would have declared him crazy”, said Bob Hanning. Brazil has now done for the second Time in this world Cup for the German team. In the preliminary round, the German draw was, thanks to the victory of the South Americans against Russia, against the Russians to the string result.

importantly, beat Brazil and Croatia. National coach Christian Prokop sat in the Cologne Arena to the stands, and is likely to be interested have followed, such as the Croats of the game of the opponent a beat, like Duvnjak was disturbed.

How to beat Croatia?

The world handball player of 2013 is the most influential figure in the technical and combative strong Croats. Time Duvnjak lead with a brilliant action a hit, then throwing a huge back-room player from THW Kiel. Each turn goes over the 30-Year-old, he makes the famous distinction.

Domagoj Duvnjak

As Duvnjak at the home European Championships a year ago hit went to the tournament and later was failed, ended the championship of Croatia with a disappointing fifth place. The concentration on Duvnjak makes the offensive game of the Croats also predictable.

Brazil went ahead with a 5-1 Formation, with five players defending in the circle, the sixth was standing a few meters in front of team-mates and attacked Duvnjak already short on the middle line. Almost the entire 60 minutes, the went so. The Croats continued on Duvnjak as a passer and a playmaker, tried to give him gaps for breakthroughs, mostly technical error or hasty statements, however, were the result. There were a total of nine goals to pace against bumps.

6-0, 5-1 or 3-2-1?

from the game, you can’t take a Duvnjak, of course, the evidence of his six goals against Brazil. No other Croatian scored more goals. The strong German defense will not get Duvnjak completely in the handle. But it is a lot of evidence that the DHB-selection may be similar to attacking pressure, such as Brazil.

Prokop has prepared his team well for the world Cup and with the help of two defensive systems play. With the classic 6-0-Formation, with all six field players to defend tight on a line and move, so as to leave no gaps. It is the most common defence system in Handball, and Duvnjak could give too much space for his brilliant through-balls and strong throws from the nine meter line.

Better suited to the 3-2-1-defence seems to be. With this Formation of the national coach and his team have already put France under massive pressure, especially in the initial phase, as the German team was nearly seven minutes without conceding a goal. Against Iceland, Germany, the first of which, as Procopius on 3-2-1 surrounded.


In this variant, similar to the 5-1 System of the Brazilians – in addition to the foremost player and interferes with the opponent’s playmaker, so Duvnjak. The Chance: In the case of ball loss of the opponent, the German team can switch quickly and get a simple lock gates close to the transition in Brazil.

The risk: The defense chief (Hendrik Pekeler or Patrick Wiencek) needs to talk more and coordinate in addition to people more than in the 6-0 composite, the System requires enormous concentration, and is one of the points that you can blame the German team so far. Against Russia was playful in the final phase of a safe felt the victory yet.

But the world Cup has just shown that the German defence to goalkeeper Andreas Wolff is the showpiece, perhaps even as strong as the EM-victory in 2016. This is good sign before the match against Croatia, and Superstar Duvnjak, especially with Luka Cindric, the second playmaker in the Team, his use hurt have to cancel – Croatia will be even more dependent on Duvnjak.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.