Introducing teams, men: Croatia
- After becoming an independent country, the Croats won their first medal in 1999 at the Europeans, a silver (before that their ranks were: 5., 4., 4.). This was followed by some ups and downs: 2001: 4., 2003: 2., 2006: 7., 2008: 4., before making the top at home in 2010, when they won the European title in Zagreb. But next came the worst ever performance in Eindhoven 2012, when they came 9th. Then they were 5th in Budapest and 7th in Belgrade. After making the semis 7 times in 9 editions, they couldn’t advance to the top four in three straight occasions. This bad run was halted in 2018 when they made the semis and beat Italy for the bronze – their first-ever third place finish in history.
- The Croats played back-to-back Olympic finals in the last two editions, captured gold in London 2012, came second in Rio 2016. They also had a silver on their debut in Atlanta 1996, followed by three modest showings (7th, 10th, 6th).
- In the Worlds they have an amazing run: after five medal-less performances between 1994 and 2005, they claimed medals in 7 successive editions, including titles from 2007 and 2017, four bronze medals in 2009-11-13 and 2019, and a silver from 2015.
- They have one World League crown from 2012, had three silvers and three bronzes. In the World Cup they earned one silver and a bronze as their best efforts.
- Indeed, the Croats were twice one goal away from the Olympic qualification last season but they lost both the World League final against Serbia in Belgrade and the World Championship semi-final against Spain by a single goal.
- So far at the European Championships, they played 97 games with 57 wins, 10 draws and 30 losses. Goal difference: 967-744. Thus, their third preliminary game against Slovakia will be their 100th match at the European Championships and the 23rd goal scored in Budapest will be the No. 1000 for Croatia.