15.01.2014, Group D, Copenhagen
Croatia 25:24 Sweden (10:9)
Sweden expected so much from this match. They were impressive in the first two rounds, they played in front of their fans, and were motivated and ready to take over Group D top spot. But Croatia’s centre back Domagoj Duvnjak showed no sign of being impressed of the atmosphere and scored his teams first three goals to grant them with a 3:1 lead. But with a great 5 unanswered goals in a row, Sweden took over the control of the game with 6-3. The celebration from the stands was interrupted after 20 minutes when Kopljar tied the match to 8-8. And Cupic made sure that Croatia will be in the lead at half time with a goal 15 seconds from the end.
50 minutes into the game the winner was uncertain, Croatia was in a lead, but Sweden did not let Balkans team go to safe distance. Then Croatia right back Denis Buntic had his show and in the last 5 minutes of the match, Croatia had 5 goals lead, which was enough to secure their third win and as Group D winners to qualify for the Main Round with 4 points, Sweden took 2 and Belarus will advance without
Belarus 27:22 Montenegro (13:12)
In the last match of the Preliminary Round, Belarus defeated Montenegro in a duel for the last spot in the Main Round.
First half was full of tension as the two teams played on eye level, and it was only in the second half that Montenegro ran out of steam. Montenegro’s defence went high up on the Belarusian shooters, as they tried to neutralize Rutenka, keeping him as far away as possible from the goal.
The task was almost successful as the left back, who normally hits the net pretty accurately and regularly, had trouble finding it this time and missed 50 per cent of his chances, before he reduced the score to 11:12 with his fifth goal. Despite missing their captain Drasko Mrvaljevic since the start tournament and several other players who got injured in the past two matches, Montenegro kept the match open until half-time (13:13).
The second half, Belarus players took matters in their own hands. They made two goals lead and managed to put extra pressure on Montenegrin team. Balkans team did not responded well, they were lagging with one/two goal the whole second half. Belarus went in the last 10 minutes with 4 goals advantage , which in the last minute was increased to the highest six goals difference 29-23 , for first points for Belarus on this tournament and ticket for the Main Round.