VIDEO REPORT: Croatia beat Russia 2:0 in the final of the Men's 2013 European Beach Handball Championship, while the Danish hosts claim bronze following a shoot-out victory against Serbia
Croatia successfully defend European beach handball crown
The Croatian dominance of European beach handball continues with the winners of the 2009 and 2011 events also claiming the title at the 2013 European Beach Handball Championships in Randers.
The final was a re-match of the 2011 final as once again Croatia faced Russia. And once again the score stood at 2:0 in favour of Croatia at the end of the match.
Croatia and Russia together have won five of the the last six European Beach Handball Championships.
Denmark claimed bronze with 2:1 victory after shoot-out against Serbia
Brilliant Totic is Croatia's key to gold
Croatia powered into the final as if they wanted show straight away that no one else but them would leave the court with the gold medal around their necks.
After four minutes they led 14:4, while their brilliant goalkeeper, Igor Totic, made the Russian attack look utterly desperate at times.
Croatia, on the other side, showed some superb beach handball with several classy combinations and fly-in goals.
In front of 2,000 spectators Russia could close the gap to 14:18, but Croatia took the first half 24:18.
There was a shimmer of hope for Russia in the second half to take the match to shoot-out, when Croatia's Mladen Paradzik was red carded following his second personal foul.
Russia managed to keep the match open for most of the time, but with Totic still in extraordinary form, Croatia had gone away to 18:14 with 90 seconds to go.
It was a gap that Russia could not close and when the final whistle was blown with the score at 21:16, Croatia started celebrating their third consecutive European beach handball title.
Denmark take bronze in shoot-out
Denmark started stronger into the bronze medal match, pulling away to an 8:4 lead after five minutes.
But Serbia fought back, with Aleksandar Laovic making it 12:12 and Marko Pavlovic granting Serbia their first lead at 14:12.
Serbia continued to play strongly and took the first set 18:16.
The first five minutes of the second half became a battle of the goalkeepers, with Jens Freedsgard on the Danish side and Stevan Simic for Serbia saving several shots, keeping the score at a low 4:4 all after more than four minutes had been played.
But with almost the entire court clapping in favour of the hosts, Denmark gained momentum, went away 16:11 and won the second half 18:13.
In the shoot-out Denmark recovered quickly from the first attempt which Mick Schubert missed.
When neither Ivan Dimitrijevic nor Veljko Milosevic scored, they had the upper hand once again, before Danish top star Hans Lindberg rifled his team's last attempt into the goal's top left corner and sealed the bronze for Denmark.
Placement matches and consolation round
Earlier in the day the placement matches, determining ranks 5 to 8, were played.
Spain claimed fifth rank with a 2:0 victory against Ukraine, while Hungary came fifth following their 2:0 win against Norway.
The consolation round, which determined ranks to 9 to 13 for teams that did not progress to the main round, already concluded on Saturday.
Poland came first in this group of five ahead Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy.
An entire results overview for the 2013 Men's European Beach Handball Championships can be viewed here.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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