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23.06.2009, 16:09
Beach Euro begins in Norway
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The 6th European Beach Handball Championships have begun in Larvik, Norway. 23 men's and women's teams are competiting for the Euro title.
 

Action from the Beach Euro 2009The 6th European Beach Handball Championships opened in Larvik, Norway on Tuesday, 23 June to glorious summer sunshine as Larvik enjoys a very welcome heatwave.

23 national teams will compete over the next six days in men’s and women’s tournaments to decide not only who will win the European beach crown, but also who will qualify for the next Beach World Championships.

Four teams in the men’s competition and five in the women’s, in addition to the men’s and women’s reigning world champions, Croatia, will qualify for the event, which will take place in Turkey in 2010.

There was an early start for the women’s teams from Turkey, Ukraine, Croatia and Switzerland with the first matches of the championship throwing off at 10.00 am. A total of 22 matches were played on the opening day.

WOMEN GROUP A

The Euro hosts, Norway, share the top spot in Group A with the Hungarians, both having four points a piece. Spain and Italy trail them, each with two points, but both teams fought hard against the group leaders in their respective matches, and their 2-0 score lines belie the quality of these Mediterranean teams. The two leaders meet on Court 1 at 11.00 am on Day 2 in a crucial match that could well decide the winner of the Group.

WOMEN GROUP B

The reigning world champions, Croatia, join the Ukraine with full points in Group B. Turkey, Sweden and Switzerland have yet to notch up points in the championship. Both of the group leaders had easy wins in their group, though Switzerland came close to pulling off a shock as the Ukraine eased off the gas and only managed a one goal win in their final set of the day. Croatia and Ukraine meet on Wednesday at 4.00 pm (GMT plus 2) on Court 1, which will be streamed live by TV2 on their Beach Euro website.

MEN GROUP A

Russia proved unbeatable in their opening clashes of the tournament, as they try to defend their Euro title, demolishing Sweden as well as the Euro hosts. Denmark, Ukraine, Norway and Sweden all have a win under their belts whereas Turkey has yet to gain any points.

The Group saw the only shoot-outs of the tournament so far, Ukraine beat Denmark in their first game by just one goal one against the goalkeeper, but made a serious error against Sweden. The Swedes won their first set 20-19, and then fell apart in the second losing 7-27, only to win 7-5 in the shoot-out.

MEN GROUP B

World champions, Croatia, made a strong start to the championship with wins against Italy and Switzerland. They head Group B but have Spain and Hungary close behind them, equal on points. Switzerland, Italy and Poland will be hoping for better performances on Wednesday as they look for their first points of the European Championship.

LIVE COVERAGE

Beach Handball fans across the world have been enjoying the live streaming service from host broadcaster, TV2 with all matches on the main show-court broadcast live starting every hour.

Missed the action? TV2 are also offering an on-demand service with all matches from the day’s competition. Visit the TV2 website for further information.


TEXT: JJ Rowland
 
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