M19 EHF EURO, Croatia
Germany claimed the Men's 19 EHF EURO 2021 title in Croatia with a dominant 34:20 victory over hosts Croatia.
Germany, who were the last remaining unbeaten team in the competition, took control in the last 10 minutes of the first half and raced away from their opponents in the second half.
In the early stages of the M19 EHF EURO 2021 final, it appeared as though the match might be settled through a scoring battle between two right backs: Croatia’s David Jurisic and Germany’s Renars Uscins.
As the first half developed, Croatia’s errors in attack allowed Germany to capitalise through fast breaks. Indeed, a fast break goal from Florian Kranzmann gave Germany their first three-goal lead of the final, 11:8, after 19 minutes.
While Croatia reduced Germany's lead to two goals in the 26th minute, the final moments of the first half provided Croatia with a crushing blow. With Germany leading 18:14 as half-time approached, Justus Fischer's shot was saved but Tim Freihöfer's rebound beat the buzzer.
In the first 15 minutes of the second half, Germany's defence thwarted any comeback attempt from Croatia, who trailed by 10 goals with 15 minutes remaining. With Tim Freihöfer, Nico Schöttle and Robert Krass among the players scoring freely, Germany's lead reached its highest point of 14 goals with 30 seconds remaining.
Meanwhile, in the bronze medal match, Spain secured third place with a convincing 37:28 win over Slovenia.
M19 EHF Championship, North Macedonia
Runners-up: North Macedonia
Poland denied North Macedonia the opportunity to claim a Men's 19 EHF Championship title on home court in Skopje. Poland beat the hosts 35:33 in a final that had no shortage of action from start to finish.
When Poland met North Macedonia in group A of the preliminary round, the hosts earned a valuable 30:25 win. A repeat would have been special for North Macedonia's players, but a polished attacking performance from Poland denied the hosts victory in the final.
With three players scoring six goals or more for Poland – Pawel Krawczyk, Dawid Molski and Jakub Bedzikowski – North Macedonia could not stop their opponents often enough. For Poland, who recorded a shot efficiency of more than 70 per cent in both halves, victory was assured when Molski's goal in the 55th minute gave them a 32:26 lead.
Having won three matches from three played in group B, Switzerland's ambition was to play in the final on Sunday in Skopje. However, after a narrow loss against North Macedonia on Friday evening, they met Bosnia and Herzegovina in the bronze medal match.
Switzerland's loss against North Macedonia featured a total of 67 goals scored, and the bronze medal match against Bosnia and Herzegovina also had more than 60 goals. On this occasion, Switzerland came out on the right side of a high-scoring match that was only decided by one goal, despite the team incurring 11 two-minute suspensions.
M19 EHF Championship, Bulgaria
Winners: Faroe Islands
Bronze: Czech Republic
The Faroe Islands confirmed their ongoing rise in international handball, winning the Men's 19 EHF Championship 2021 in Varna coming from behind to beat Belarus to win gold.
Elias Ellefsen a Skipagotu was the big man for the Faroe Islands, scoring a decisive 13 times in the final to raise his tally to a tournament-leading 44 for the week and being named MVP of the tournament.
For years handball in the Faroe Islands has been on the rise. Two years ago, their under-17 team beat Sweden to win the M17 European Open so their triumph in the M19 EHF Championship 2021 is not as big as a surprise as some might think.
Skipagotu was top scorer at that event two years ago, and he repeated his achievement in Varna, with the 13 in the final.
Belarus were led by Aliaksandr Piatrovich and Ihar Bialiauski, who each scored seven. His side led for almost the entire first half and were still ahead with 20 minutes ahead. The Faroes got themselves on level terms with nine minutes remaining and then Skipagotu and Janus Dam Djurhuus nosed the Islanders ahead and they never looked back to secure a historic gold.
Czech Republic also had a one-goal win, 27:26, to edge neighbours Slovakia in the battle for bronze.
M19 EHF Championship, Latvia
Montenegro recorded another close win over the Netherlands to win the Men’s 19 EHF Championship in Riga.
The winners came out on top by 30:28 in the final, six days after they had also beaten the Dutch team in the group phase: 31:30.
Beating the team that scored the most goals in the tournament, Montenegro have rewarded themselves with the gold medal.
Montenegro did well to keep the Dutch attack in check. Led by Niko Blaauw, who had already scored eight times in the semi-final against Romania (28:25), the Netherlands built an early lead but Montenegro refused to let them run away with it.
Thanks to their strong second half, Montenegro came out on top, with Luki Vukicevic (eight) and Arsenije Dragasevic (seven) their most productive players.
Hosts Latvia missed out on the bronze medal, going down 38:35 in the third-place match against Romania.
Having beating Latvia 40:29 in the group phase, Romania were clear favourites coming into the match – however, it turned out no walk in the park this time.
Led by a stunning 14-goal outing from Endijs Kusners, Latvia kept up with their opponents for the first three quarters – only for Romania to make the difference in the closing 15 minutes.
W19 EHF EURO, Slovenia
After winning the gold medal at the W17 EHF EURO in 2019, could this generation of Hungary players follow up with another gold medal at the W19 EHF EURO 2021 in Slovenia? In the final in Celje, they provided an emphatic answer to the question as they took the title with a 31:22 win against Russia.
Having scored 184 goals in six matches prior to the final, Hungary's attack held a clear edge over Russia. Playing in front of some Hungarian fans who were present in the arena, Hungary made a near-perfect start as they took a 5:2 lead.
Russia coach Mikhail Izmailov called for an immediate timeout, but as Anna Kukely and Johanna Farkas continued their goal scoring exploits in the first half, Hungary's advantage grew to 14:7 in the 23rd minute. By the end of the first half, Hungary's superior depth was apparent as eight players had scored.
If Russia still had a chance at the break, Blanka Kajdon's – who was subsequently named as the MVP of the tournament – influence on the game was about to make it even more difficult.
As the last 10 minutes played out, Hungary's lead remained at between eight and 10 goals. Shortly after Petra Koronczai scored Hungary's 31st and final goal of the match, Hungary's title-winning celebrations could begin.
In the bronze medal match, Lena Grandveau's performance inspired France to a 30:29 victory against Sweden to take third place.
W19 EHF Championship, Italy
Would playing at home in the final of a Women's 19 EHF Championship benefit Italy or prove to be too much of a burden? Italy left it late against Lithuania – but they ultimately claimed the crown courtesy of a 27:25 victory.
Italy certainly made a tentative start in the final that was played on their home court in Chieti. After several of Italy's shots were saved in the first six minutes, Lithuania built the first three-goal lead of the match, 4:1.
Lithuania extended their advantage to four goals (8:4) in the 15th minute. But as Giulia Fabbo and Ramona Manojlovic found the back of the net more frequently in the final 15 minutes of the half, Italy were back within one goal at the break – as Lithuania led 11:10.
As the lead changed hands on several occasions, a close contest continued throughout the second half. With just 10 under minutes remaining, Martyna Ustilaite's equaliser for Lithuania left the match tantalisingly poised at 21:21.
Guilia Fabbo's eight goals in the match for Italy came from 15 shots, but her final two goals of the match ensured her team had a three-goal cushion with less than two minutes left on the clock.
Serbia beat Spain (23:22) in a match that was only decided after Spain's last shot of the match, a direct free-throw, went wide.
W19 EHF Championship, North Macedonia
After making a powerful start in the Women's 19 EHF Championship in North Macedonia, the Netherlands held on in the second half to take a 26:23 win and the title.
With Sanna Van Galen and Catharina Molenaar both delivering outstanding performances for their team, the Netherlands established a clear lead midway through the first half.
The Netherlands made a slow start in the semi-finals versus Belarus, trailing 7:2 after nine minutes, but they certainly did not repeat that mistake in the final against Poland.
When Molenaar raced away on the fast break in the 24th minute to score her sixth goal of the game, the Netherlands had scored 14 goals from 17 shots and were ahead by nine goals for the first time.
As Poland continued to find it challenging to beat Van Galen at the start of the second half, the Netherlands remained in control after 42 minutes (21:13) and were seemingly cruising to victory.
Poland certainly made the match interesting in the last quarter, as they reduced the difference to 23:20 in the 52nd minute, but a late red card for Julia Niewiadomska did not help their cause. When Jessie de Ruit scored her fourth goal of the match – and her team's 26th goal – with just over two minutes, the Netherlands were assured of their victory.
Meanwhile, in the bronze medal match, Belarus beat the Faroe Islands 27:25 as Darya Vakulich scored seven goals for the winning team.
W17 EHF EURO, Montenegro
Hungary recorded yet another gold medal at a Younger Age Category EHF EURO event – this time overcoming a slow start against Germany to record a six-goal win, 25:19, in the Women's 17 EHF EURO 2021 final.
After scoring 12 goals in Germany’s thrilling semi-final win against Russia, Viola Leuchter looked as though she wanted to repeat the feat in the final. Leuchter scored three goals in the opening five minutes as Germany took a 4:0 lead – prompting Hungary to call an early timeout.
Unsurprisingly, though, Hungary regrouped and their mission of eliminating Germany's lead was already underway when Germany called a timeout in the 18th minute (8:6). A 5:0 run for Hungary, which included
Liliana Csernyanszki's fourth goal of the game, put them ahead 11:9 after 26 minutes.
Although Germany struggled to score in the first 10 minutes of the second half, Hungary's lead was only three goals. That changed when Julia Farkas extended her side's advantage to five goals – 19:14 – for the first time in the 47th minute.
Whilst Nieke Kühne and Viola Leuchter did their utmost in attack for Germany, the result was beyond any doubt when Luca Csikos increased Hungary's lead to eight goals, 24:16, in the 58th minute.
In the bronze medal match, Russia produced an impressive attacking performance as they beat Denmark by seven goals, 37:30.
W17 EHF Championship, Lithuania
Winners: North Macedonia
An 11-goal performance from Teodora Dukoska inspired North Macedonia to a 27:26 victory against Iceland in the Women's 17 EHF Championship final in Lithuania.
In North Macedonia's semi-final victory against Poland, one player stood out on the court: Iva Mladenovska. Mladenovska opened her account against Iceland in the 13th minute, but as a tight first half developed in Lithuania, other players stepped up in attack for North Macedonia.
In what was perhaps a sign of things to come, Teodora Dukoska scored three consecutive goals for North Macedonia from the 23rd minute to the 26th minute. Although North Macedonia generally held a one-goal lead as half-time approached, Iceland were not overwhelmed and equalised through Embla Steindorsdottir 30 seconds before half-time.
With two strikes from Elin Klara Gustsdottir and a goal from Elisa Eliasdottir, Iceland moved two goals clear, 15:13, early in the second half. But with Dukoska continuing to add to her total, North Macedonia reclaimed the lead in the 51st minute.
While Dukoska deserves credit for her inspirational performance, four goals in the last 10 minutes from Emilijana Rizoska lifted North Macedonia across the finish line.
The bronze medal match featured group winners Spain and Poland. After Spain came back from a four-goal deficit in the second half to snatch a 22:22 draw in normal time, they also won the subsequent penalty shootout.
W17 EHF Championship, Georgia
Bronze: Faroe Islands
In a final that was only truly decided in the last 10 minutes, the Netherlands clinched the Women's 17 EHF Championship title in Georgia with a 25:19 win against Serbia.
The Netherlands could not have wished for a better start to the final of the W17 EHF Championship. With two goals apiece from Alieke Van Maurik and Jalisha Loy, the Netherlands raced into a 5:0 lead after eight minutes.
The defensive side of the ledger remained healthy for the Netherlands in the first half, as goalkeeper Bianca Schanssema frequently denied Serbia when called upon, but a period of almost nine minutes without a goal for the Netherlands saw Serbia close to the gap to just two goals at half-time.
Aleksandra Vasic, who scored three times for Serbia in the first half, levelled the score at 10:10 in the 36th minute. Although the Netherlands held a four-goal lead in the 46th minute, 18:14, Serbia responded again and only trailed by one goal with seven minutes left.
The Netherlands needed a strong finish to claim the title – and they produced it. Donna Bakker's fast break goal in the 56th minute restored a four-goal cushion, 22:18, and when Alieke Van Maurik converted a penalty that increased the lead to 24:19 with less than two minutes remaining, Dutch celebrations were underway on the bench.
Meanwhile, in the bronze medal match, the Faroe Islands won a high-scoring encounter against Ukraine, 35:27.
YAC 17 Women’s EHF Beach Handball EURO
Hungary’s women battled through two shootouts to win the under-17 EHF Beach Handball EURO in Varna.
Having dispatched Spain in the semi-final on penalties, the Hungarians secured their nation’s eighth women’s junior title with a shootout win over the Netherlands in the final.
The first set belonged to the Dutch, who were indebted to a series of fine saves from goalkeeper Veerie Meerstad. Those stops enabled the Netherlands to take the first set 25:20.
Hungary began the second set on top and, having opened up a strong lead thanks to some excellent goalkeeping from Dorina Bartok, they maintained a five-point lead to take it to a shootout.
The Hungarians took the initiative after the Dutch missed two penalties in a row. With a chance to win the title, a miss-throw from the Hungary goalkeeper handed the Netherlands a lifeline. However, it was left to Kitti Kreuz to find the target with the one point the Hungarians needed with their final penalty to cue the celebrations.
Spain, whose under-17 age group won the gold medal at the 2019 edition, were on the podium once again – this time securing bronze with a straight sets win over Norway.
It was the second medal for Spain's women at a Beach Handball EURO, four years after they also took bronze at in 2017 - the same year Norway won gold.
YAC 17 Men’s EHF Beach Handball EURO
Sweden goalkeeper Oscar Johannson was the hero as his two flying saves in a dramatic shootout helped win his nation their first ever EHF Beach Handball EURO title.
The drama began in a second set that looked to be heading Sweden’s way when they led by six points. Spain, however, got to within two points with 20 seconds left on the clock and then completed the comeback to level the score when Joaquin Varo Gallardo equalised with just four seconds remaining.
That goal took the second set to a golden goal period and, after Sweden secured the ball from throw-off, that man Paldanius scored the one point required to take the game to a shootout.
What followed was a remarkable fight for the gold medal as both sides traded two-point penalties. After 16 perfect points for each team, Sweden were the first to miss. However, that was the cue for Johansson to leap out of his goal to deny Spain their shot at the title.
Back at 18 points apiece in the shootout, Johansson then re-enacted his best Superman impression with another brilliant diving save to tip the scales in the Swedes’ favour.
It was then left to tournament goal-getter Paldanius to fittingly finish the job, the young Swede holding his nerve to find the target to give Sweden a historic and memorable victory.
In the bronze medal match it was Ukraine who took the honours, beating Croatia in straight sets (24:21, 16:12).