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Croatia claims bronze in men's handball

London, England (Sports Network) - Croatia nabbed its third ever men's handball medal and denied Hungary its first with a 33-26 victory on Sunday in the bronze medal match at the London Games.

Ivan Cupic had eight goals, Blazenko Lackovic scored on all seven of his shots and Domagoj Duvnjak added six markers on eight shots as Croatia rebounded from a fourth-place finish at the 2008 Beijing Games. It added to its Olympic medal total that includes a pair of golds in 1996 and 2004.

Marko Kopljar was also perfect on the day, scoring three times on three shots.

"We could have done better but we showed our character in this game. We were a team and we deserved the medal," said Cupic.

Hungary was paced by seven goals from Gergely Harsanyi and also got six from Laszlo Nagy. The Hungarians matched their best finish in Olympic history with fourth place, done four times prior and most recently at the 2004 Athens Games.

Croatia, which beat Hungary 26-19 during the preliminary round, started to pull away late in the first half with three straight goals as Cupic's tally at the 27th-minute mark made it an 18-12 game.

Four goals by Hungary -- two each from Gergo Ivancsik and Mate Lekai -- early in the second half pulled it to within 23-20, but Croatia put the match away by scoring seven goals over a 10-minute span soon after.

08/12 08:48:18 ET


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