Twenty-nine minutes and a fraction of a second. Lucas Moscarillo, who fought with two exceptions for 50 minutes without being fired, leaves court. A few meters away from him, off the bench, Colo Vainstein cannot hold back in tears for the historic victory that is about to end. Two goals and one minute, the wrestlers unite for a round and celebrate the 23-19 scoreline over Croatia, runners-up to Europe and world power, leaving them one step away from the World Handball Cup quarter-finals for the first time in history.
Cairo for the second phase of World Cup for EgyptArgentina played super focused because they knew the importance of the main game to their aspirations for writing a gold leaf. Like a wall, the wrestlers started the match in a defensive set to avoid any breakthrough for the European runners-up and shoot towards the opposing goal. The score was quick 1-0 by Nacho Pizarro as the clock ticked 50 seconds.
That immense strength and stance translated into 5-0 in 5 minutes – two of which with one less player – by the hot hands of Nacho, Federico Pizarro, Diego, Sebastian Simone and Lionel Maciel’s main balls.
After this jolt, Croatia managed to enter the match and force fouls to simplify the mission to cut the distance on the scoreboard. The data that Argentina played in 10 of the 30 minutes of the first stage with one man less will not be less in the analysis, which also generated penalties that Kubic changed them for a goal every time he scored in front of the goal, and if for the first it took 10 minutes.
Ivan Kubik, the main player of Croatia. Photo EFE / EPA / Anne-Christine Poujoulat
In just 17 minutes, one of the most powerful players in the world managed to score only two goals, and this confidence encouraged him to strive for an equalizer, which he finally achieved in the 29th minute, when luck was not on Maciel’s side and the shot leaked Sepic.
The draw was not deserved by the excellent defense and effectiveness of the Argentines. It looked like a trophy for Croatian history. The panorama was not easy in the second half, as two players, Lucas Moscariello and Pedro Martinez, who were excluded again, were excluded from the match.
Lionel Maciel vs Evan Kubik at the match moment. Photo EFE / EPA / Anne-Christine Poujoulat /
The sequel above began with an attack from a mamic placed Croatia for the first time on the scoreboard. But Argentina did not allow their opponent to recover: a goal from Fede Pizarro and two Santiago Baroneto back the advantage.
He saved a penalty kick for Vidi Fernandez in the age of seven and sent off Gonzalo Caro, a key Argentine defender, after one minute that could have changed the balance of the wrestlers and strengthened Croatia. But this did not happen. And the magic appeared, with the goal of Seba Simonet, Masiel and Bonano to score the goals without a goalkeeper. Also, substitute goalkeeper Juan Barr’s strength when Kubik stopped the penalty kick at 15, cutting his effectiveness.
The wrestlers, who were two points behind in the first round and added 4 units per second, clung to victory with good play and self-esteem, which historically has been reversed, won or lost. They beat Croatia, which came one point below Denmark and survived without a coach after their defeat, and on Monday they will pursue their dream against Qatar.
Only the first two will qualify for the quarter-finals. Denmark (world and Olympic champion) has confirmed that it is the favorite and that Argentina wants to join her in that group of the eight best players in the world. He showed with Japan, in his first victory in the second round match of the World Cup, that he is able to achieve this, and he confirmed that Saturday.
With six points, on Monday they will face Qatar, who have four, while Croatia will wait by five points in their last duel with the Danes. The victory of the wrestlers – which would also be achieved through a draw – would put them directly into the quarter-finals, making the dream come true.