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29.01.2012, 20:01
Denmark win Gold at EHF EURO 2012
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Scandinavians beat host Serbia in a thrilling final and qualify directly for the Olympics.
 

Denmark win Gold at EHF EURO 2012

Ice cold Denmark could resist the hot atmosphere in the pressure cooker in Belgrade and became European champions in the thrilling final against hosts Serbia. The Danes did not only have to fight against the seven players but against 20,000 spectators, who pushed their team to the limit. But in the end the 21:19 (9:7) victory was well-deserved – and the Danish men’s team won their second EHF EURO title after 2008 in Norway.

This title additionally means the direct qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, as Serbia (like FYR Macedonia) booked their ticket to the Olympic Qualification Tournaments.

 Last year the Danes were absolutely disappointed after losing in the World Championship final in Malmö against France after extra-time, this year they jumped for joy on top of the podium in Belgrade. Thanks to their outstanding goalkeeper Niklas Landin and their brilliant top shooter Mikkel Hansen (nine goals in the final) they could raise the winner’s plate, handed over by EHF President Tor Lian. And this final victory is a miracle, as Denmark reached the Main Round with zero points, but then won all their upcoming five matches.

In the first half of the final the spectators only saw 16 goals, with the Danes in lead 9:7. The Serbs lacked the passion, the emotion and the power they had shown in the semi-final victory against Croatia and had to thank their outstanding all-star-team goalkeeper Darko Stanic that the gap was not even higher.

On the other side the Danes – pushed by their goalkeeper Niklas Landin and counter attack ace Anders Eggert – played as cold as ice, were not impressed by the crowd and calmed down the mass very early. As the Serbs could not decrease the number of mistakes in attack, they were below all the time before the break.

But when the Danes were in lead with a four goal margin for the first time at 11:7, the 20.000 spectators gave new life and extra motivation to the host – scoring three straight goals – with their loud and fantastic support.

And the Serbian defence in this period stood like a wall – with only one exception: all-star-team player Mikkel Hansen found the holes with his powerful way of playing and again increased the distance to constantly three or even more goals also thanks to the Landin saves in the middle of the second half. And Hansen took the responsibility with his hammered shots when the Serbs had come closer again at 15:16 and were close to turn the game.

In the end the Danes did not only have more power and alternatives than the host, but the same luck they already had in their semi victory against Spain. With 20 seconds to go world class Hansen latest decided the game with his ninth goal and the 21:18.

Before the final, Croatia had won their first EHF EURO Bronze medal since 1994 after beating Spain in the Bronze match. After winning this encounter 31:27 (13:12), their series of EHF EURO medals continued after winning Silver both 2008 in Norway and 2010 in Austria. Top scorer Blazenko Lackovic decided the game with his seven goals.

It was a close fight for a long time, as both teams had their ups and downs. Croatia started perfectly, but then did not score for seven minutes, so Spain was close to turn the match at the break. Despite a six goal lead in the middle of the second half, the Croats had not been save, as the Iberians reduced again to 26:28, before Igor Vori decided the match. Spain missed their fifth EHF EURO medal very closely and returned home with empty hands after they had dominated the tournament until the end of the Main Round. But after losing the semi-final against Denmark they were unlucky again.

EHF EURO 2012 – Final ranking

Gold: Denmark
Silver: Serbia
Bronze: Croatia

4. Spain
5. FYR Macedonia
6. Slovenia
7. Germany
8. Hungary
9. Poland
10. Iceland
11. France
12. Sweden
13. Norway
14. Czech Republic
15. Russia
16. Slovakia

Serbia, Denmark and Croatia are directly qualified for the 2013 World Championship in Spain, together with the hosts and defending champions France.

Spectator record

In total, more than 300,000 spectators had been at the 47 matches of the EHF EURO in Serbia – a new all time record for European Championships, including each 20.000 fans in Belgrade on the final and semi-final day.

EHF EURO 2012 – All Star Team

Best goalkeeper: Darko Stanic (Serbia)
Best Goalkeeper - Darko STANIC (Serbia)
Best Left Wing - Gudjon Valur SIGURDSSON (Iceland)
Best Left Back - Mikkel HANSEN (Denmark)
Best Centre Back - Uros ZORMAN (Slovenia)
Best Pivot - Rene TOFT HANSEN (Denmark)
Best Right Back - Marko KOPLJAR (Croatia)
Best Right Wing - Christian SPRENGER (Germany)

Top Scorer - Kiril LAZAROV (FYR Macedonia)

Best Defence Player – Virán MORROS (Spain)

Most Valuable Player (MVP) Momir ILIC (Serbia)

Olympic Qualification

Due to this final ranking of the EHF EURO 2012 also the final constellation of the three Olympic Qualification Tournaments is known.

Tournament 1 (in Spain): Spain, Poland, Serbia, Algeria
Tournament 2 (in Sweden): Sweden, Hungary, Brazil, FYR Macedonia
Tournament 3 (in Croatia): Croatia, Iceland, Japan, Chile

Those tournaments will take place 6- 8 April, the two best ranked teams of each tournament book their tickets for London.

European Champions Denmark  are directly qualified for the Olympics like Great Britain (host), France (World Champion), Korea (Asian representative), Tunisia (Africa) and Argentina (Pan America) before.

Further information

View all information on EHF EURO 2012 on the Official Website and on the official facebook page.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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