Croatia vs. France / European Handball Cup – As it has been the case with numerous great competitions over the past years, Croatia and France are again playing an important match in the fight for placement in the semi-finals. These teams played the big finals and it is not excluded that they find themselves again in duel for the gold, because it is possible that both teams pass in the semi-finals. Croatia needs to win with three or more goals difference to make a safe pass, but a draw is also good if Sweden loses. The French would be satisfied with a draw, as well as the minimal defeat, while they are quite certain if Sweden does not win defeat Norway earlier. The last mutual duel of these rivals took place on OI 2016 and Croatia has celebrated a victory. Begins: 24.01.2018. – 20:30 CET
It can be said that Croatia is oscillating in shape, and therefore in mood. After the first two duels, there was euphoria, because they have easily defeated Serbia and Iceland, but then they experienced a “cold shower” in the third duel when they were mastered by Sweden and it could have been much more convincing than the final 35:31. Inadmissible large number of goals were received in this match and that is the main reason for this defeat.
This bad game was accompanied by a weak performance against Belarus, which they overcame with great struggle, and then the atmosphere fell completely as well as the confidence of the players. It was followed by the first of two games they had to solve in their favour, and their opponent was the unpleasant Norway. They came back to life again and played the best match in the championship, with the finally good effect of the goalkeeper Stevanovic and a very high efficiency. Now they are again under big imperative, against a powerful rival.
Probable lineups Croatia: Stevanovic, Strlek, Mamic, Cindric, Stepancic, Cupic, Musa
France is still at maximum performance when it comes to this championship and they are the only ones that have achieved all five wins, but any possible defeat could leave them without the semi-finals. There is nothing to complain about the current world champions and so far they have routinely done the job, with problems only in the first round against Norway. They have managed to close Sweden almost completely, with a rather bad offensive effect, which was covered by a brilliant game in defence headed by goalkeeper Gerard.
In the remaining three duels, France was keeping strength in defence because the attack was very effective and they were scoring over 30 goals, including with Serbia, against which they were very close to 40 goals scored. They have settled it all in the first half and then rested the players in the second, so they did not exhaust N.Karabatic, Sorhaindo and Mahe too much, while Guigou did not even enter the game and L.Karabatic has completely returned in the rhythm. If they are lucky, they may not have to play a draw in this duel.
Probable lineups France: Gerard, Guigou, N.Karabatic, Mahe, Mem, Porte, Sorhaindo
Croatia vs. France PICK
The problem for this duel's prognosis is that it not known which team needs what, because everything depends on Sweden, which plays something earlier. The French have shown more and maybe they do not need the points at all, but they want to eliminate Croatia and therefore the match could be very tough with a smaller number of goals.
Pick: under 53.5 goals
Odds: 1.85 at bet365 (down to 1.75 can be played)
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