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06.08.2017, 22:58
France are Women’s 19 champions of Europe
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FINAL DAY REVIEW: Russia lose to France in final 31:26, Denmark claim bronze after seeing off Hungary
 

France are Women’s 19 champions of Europe

The final day of an incredible Women’s 19 EHF EURO in Slovenia came to an end with France beating Russia by five in the final to claim gold. Women's 17 EHF EURO 2015 champions Denmark grabbed bronze as they beat Hungary in a close encounter.

Furthermore, France and Denmark secured themselves a direct qualification to the Women's 20 World Championship which will take place in Hungary in the summer of 2018.

Russia, as the reigning Women's 18 world champions, had already secured their direct qualification. 

FINAL

France vs Russia 31:26 (18:15)

If you are going to get your first medal in a competition, it may as well be the gold one. And so it was to be as France finally got a medal in the Women’s 19 EHF EURO in Slovenia, beating Russia in an exhilarating final in Celje, Slovenia. Despite hosting the tournament in 2000, the best result for the French in this competition was a fourth place in 2004, but in 2017 they went all the way.


Topping their preliminary group with three wins from three (vs Serbia, Germany and Spain), the French had a small hiccup, losing to Denmark in the Main Round, but a 10-goal win saw them finish in second and set up a semi-final against Hungary which they comfortably won.

For the Russians, it was the same story; three wins in the Preliminary Group (vs Norway, FYR Macedonia and Croatia) were interrupted by a Main Round loss (against Hungary), before an easy win against Netherlands saw them through to their semi-final – a much tougher match than the French had, as they squeezed past Denmark 28:27.

Maybe the final was a step too far for the Russians but what was certain was that it was the two strongest teams playing for gold in the Dvorana Zlatorog.

An 18:15 half-time lead saw the French have the initiative going into the break and a strong defence limited the Russians to just 11 half-time strikes despite the best attentions of the free-scoring Antonina Skorobogatchenko.

The first half had seen an unhappy Russian coach, Viacheslav Kirilenko take a time out after just 16 minutes as his side struggled to contain Karichma Ekoh (seven goals in total), All-Star Team right back Jannela Blonbou (6) and Meline Nocandy (6), who was named best player for the French, who had opened their first two-goal lead (10:8) in the 21st minute.

Six goals from Russia’s best player Elena Mikhaylichenko were not enough for her side, who are not able to add to their IHF Women’s Youth World Championship they picked up last year and who finish with a silver medal for the second Women’s 19 EHF EURO running after their second place at Spain 2015.

Best players of the match: Meline Nocandy (France) and Elena Mikhaylichenko (Russia).

“Our win came as a small surprise," said Eric Baradat, France’s head coach. "When we lost against Denmark, we remained quiet and kept on working hard. I told the girls that we were winning and losing together and we made it to the final step by step and remained ambitious.

"Above all, it was important that we kept the focus on our play; defence, transition and attack," he continued. "We have a number of promising and talented players in this generation, but they all have to take the final step in their careers and make their way into the senior national team.

"Becoming the junior European champions does not mean anything yet.”

BRONZE (PLACEMENT 3/4)

Hungary vs Denmark 26:28 (13:14)

Denmark went some way to making up for their semi-final loss against Russia by claiming bronze in a match which saw both halves end 14:13 to the Danes.

The title holders of this competition could not defend their crown but their bronze medal will go some way to easing the pain – a familiar pain for Hungary who finished in fourth for the second competition running after losing to Sweden at Spain 2015.

EHF Rising Star Noemi Hafra slotted home nine goals to take the best player award for the Hungarians, but she was not backed up by any other shooters in her team as All-Star Team right winger Katrin Klujber could only manage four goals.

On the Danish side the difference was clear in front of goal as two players (Kristina Joergensen and Louise Hansegaard Ellebaek) both scored eight goals - Ellebaek was later named best player for her side – and Ida-Marie Moesgaard Dahl scored six.

Despite the win, Danish coach Heine Mogensen Eriksen was not happy with his side after just eight minutes, and the first of three time-outs reminded the Danish team what they were fighting for. Jano Hajdu desperately tried to salvage the game with his own time out late in the game, but the Danes were clear and could celebrate bronze – and the tournament MVP Award for Joergensen and All-Star Team place for goalkeeper Amalie Milling.

Best players of the match: Noemi Hafra (Hungary) and Louise Hansegaard Ellebaek (Denmark).

“We did not play out best handball in the semi-final and we made quite a few mistakes today as well," said Hungary's goalkeeping coach Bela Bartalos after the game. "We are very tired after our last match in the championship because we played nearly all matches with nine players, as two players stayed at home. I hope that we will achieve a better result in the world championship.”

Winning Danish coach Heine Mogensen Eriksen said after the match: "We played an excellent match at a very high level and both teams showed a strong desire to win and put a lot of energy into it. After losing in the semi-final, it is very important that we won the third place and we are very happy for this success which we will celebrate."

PLACEMENT 5/6

Germany vs Netherlands 27:26 (11:16)

The Dutch had a disastrous second half, letting slip a five-goal half-time lead (16:11), to lose against the Germans, who outscored them 16:10 in the second period.

Two late time outs from German coach Marielle Bohm calmed her sides’ nerves in the last 10 minutes, although Mia Zschocke could not be calmed enough, seeing her third two-minute suspension and being shown a red card. Her five goals had already helped put her side in contention for the victory with Lena Degenhardt and Julia Maidhof adding six goals each to help their side squeeze through with the added skills of their best player Sarah Wachter in goal.

A charitable Netherlands side conceded seven seven-metre penalties with the Germans making use of five of them, while the team in orange could only convert one of their four. Bo van Wetering did score seven goals in the game and the Netherlands’ best player Merel Freriks chipped in with five, but it was just short for Robert Nidjam’s side who managed to cut the lead to only one goal at the end, but Wachter saved a clear goal-scoring opportunity with 15 seconds to play.

PLACEMENT 7/8

Norway vs Montenegro 28:23 (14:13)

Vigdis Holmeset’s Norwegian team ended their W19 campaign on a high, pulling away from a one-goal half-time lead (14:13) to beat Montenegro 28:23.

Best player for Norway, Mari Finstad Bergum, scored three goals, while teammate Karoline Lund doubled that with six. Goalkeeper Tea Marinovic won the best player for the Montenegrins while Tatjana Brnovic top-scored on five.

Ahead of the final day of matches today, places 9-16 were decided yesterday (Saturday 5 August).

PLACEMENT 9/10
Sorina Maria Tirca cemented her position as the tournament top-scorer as she struck 12 times against a Swedish side who were already seven goals down at half-time, but who managed to make a game of it, despite eventually losing 32:30 (19:12). With 20 seconds to play, Hannah Scheuer Larsson cut the deficit to one goal (30:31), but there was not enough time to even the game up.

PLACEMENT 11/12
Unfortunately, the host nation could not end their tournament on a win as they lost 29:28 (18:15) to Spain. Best player for the home side Hana Vucko struck seven times as Spain took a time-out with just 45 seconds left to help them to victory in a tense end which saw Spain win with a penalty shot.

PLACEMENT 13/14
An eighth-goal half-time lead was enough for Croatia to see out the second half, beating Portugal 32:22 (17:9) with Tena Japundza scoring eight times for the Croatians.

PLACEMENT 15/16
Serbia beat FYR Macedonia 24:21 (12:10) to avoid finishing last in a tense match which saw Marija Guguljanova receive her marching orders with 10 minutes remaining after picking up her third two-minute suspension.

WOMEN’S 19 EHF EURO – FINAL RANKING

1. France
2. Russia
3. Denmark
4. Hungary
5. Germany
6. Netherlands
7. Norway
8. Montenegro
9. Romania
10. Sweden
11. Spain
12. Slovenia
13. Croatia
14. Portugal
15. Serbia
16. FYR Macedonia


TEXT: EHF/amc
 
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