Expect a thrilling showdown in the EHF European Handball Championship on Monday as Croatia and Iceland take on each other in their opening Group D fixture in Serbia.
Croatia will make its 10th appearance in the EURO, joining France and Spain as the only countries that have qualified in every edition of the tournament since it began in 1994.
Croatia has made it to the medal round of the EURO in the past four editions of the tournament. They placed fourth in 2004 and 2006 and finished runner-up in 2008 and 2010.
They are the 2003 world champions and Olympic winners in 1996 and 2004. The EURO trophy is the only major silverware missing in Croatia's trophy cabinet.
The Croatians booked a ticket to Serbia by topping Group 2 of the qualifying tournament.
Two key players, however, are in danger of missing the upcoming EURO. Head coach Slavko Goluza announced that Ivano Balic and Drago Vukovic have yet to recover from their injuries.
"Their injuries are far from innocuous, but we are doing all we can to get them back to full fitness in time for the tournament," he said.
"Their recovery is slow although they have shown a tremendous amount of will-power and the desire to speed up their recovery."
Iceland is also targeting a winning start. They are making their seventh appearance in the EURO, which was made possible by finishing runner-up in Group 5.
Iceland has never won the EURO but bagged the bronze medal two years ago in Austria. They also brought home a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, losing to France in the final.
Iceland also has its share of woes. Olafur Stefansson and Snorri Steinn Gudjonsson will not see action in the biennial meet. Former World Handball Player of the year Stefansson is out with a knee injury while Gudjonsson opted to remain with his wife who has just given birth to their daughter.
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