Defending champions Croatia have reached their fifth consecutive Beach Handball EURO Final at Lloret 2015, while current women's champions Hungary also play for gold again on Sunday
Spanish hosts face champions Croatia in men's final
If someone ever needed another proof about the excitement factor of beach handball, it was provided on Saturday when the quarter- and semi-finals were played at Lloret 2015.
None of the semi-finals were decided in the regular two sets, hence on four occasions shoot-outs and eventually the better nerves decided the teams that play for gold tomorrow at these championships.
First to get to the final were defending women's champions Hungary. Earlier in the day they had beaten Russia 2:1 to reach the semis where they faced Italy.
In the first set it looked as if Italy were able to spring a surprise when they took the first set 20:11. But Hungary bounced back, won the second set 14:9 in convincing fashion and eventually also prevailed in the shoot-out (9:6).
They will face 2013 bronze medallists Norway, who made it to the final via a nail-biting semi-final against Spain. The first set went 13:10 to Spain, while Norway won the second with the exact same result.
Four players from each team then succeeded with their attempts in the regular shoot-out, and with the score at 8:8 another extension was needed. Cathrine Korvald granted Norway a 10:8 lead and when Jennifer Gutierrez' shot only hit the post, Norway had reached the final.
It was then up to the Spanish men to take revenge for the loss the women conceded - but when they played their semi-final, their opponents, Hungary, had the better start to the game taking the first set 18:22.
Spain then staged a successful comeback to take the second set 27:24, before Ramon Fuentes became the hero in the shoot-out as he saved all four of Hungary's attempts, hence Spain needed only two successful shots to make it to the final.
There they will meet no one less than defending champions Croatia who first got rid of Germany in the quarter-final but then had a probably tougher than expected semi-final against Ukraine.
With a golden goal Ukraine had decided the first set 28:29 in their favour, but then Croatia's experience prevailed and they took the second set 24:20 and the subsequent shoot-out 9:6
Timings and placement matches
The men's bronze medal match, Ukraine vs Hungary, will take place at 17:00 CET.
For TV reasons the schedule afterwards has changed, with the women's bronze medal match, Spain vs Italy, being played at 18:00 CET; the men's final, Spain vs Croatia, throws off at 18:45 CET and the women's final, Norway vs Hungary, takes place at 19:30 CET.
In the men's placement matches Germany and Norway play for 7th, while Russia and Serbia face in the match for 5th place. In the women's placement matches Ukraine play against Russia for 7th, while Poland and Netherlands play for 5th place.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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