The ninth Beach Handball EURO came to an end on Sunday with the same teams topping the podium as in 2013 - however, there was no shortage of excitement on the tournament's last day
Croatia win fourth consecutive men's gold; Hungary defend women's title
Croatia's men's team remain the undeniable powerhouse in beach handball as they claimed gold again at Lloret 2015 on Sunday. This marked the fourth time since 2009 that they topped the podium.
In the women's event Hungary successfully defended their title they won at Randers 2013 with a hard-fought 2:1 win against Norway.
Earlier in the day Ukraine had taken men's bronze with a win against Hungary, and Italy had won women's bronze in the match for third place against Spain.
In the women's match for 5th place Poland secured themselves a berth for next year's World Championship in Hungary when they beat Netherlands.
Apart from Poland all four teams that reached the medal matches - Croatia, Spain, Ukraine, Hungary in the men's event; Hungary, Norway, Italy and Spain in the women's event - will play at the event next summer.
In the men's final Croatia's opponents, Spain, had the better start to the game and took the first set 17:15. However, Croatia recovered quickly, broke Spain's resistance early in the second set to eventually take it 32:23.
The game went into shoot-out, and when Juan Vazquez failed to convert Spain's sixth attempt, Ivan Dumencic took the responsibility and successfully converted Croatia's golden shot.
The women's final also needed the shoot-out to decide. Norway won the first set 17:16, Hungary took the second 18:17. And when the first two Norwegian players failed in the shoot-out, Hungary carved out a lead that they would not allow to slip from their hands and won 7:4.
And there was no shortage on shoot-outs in the matches for third place either, as both Italy in their match against Spain and Ukraine in their match against Hungary needed the third set to claim their medals.
In Sunday's placement matches Poland won the all-important battle against Netherlands for the last remaining World Championship place in the women's match for fifth place. Russia came seventh by beating Ukraine.
In the men's event Russia came fifth after a 2:1 win against Serbia, and Norway finished seventh after a 2:1 win against Germany.
All-star team named
After all matches had been played and the medals were awarded, the tournament's all-stars were named.
In the men's event the MVP award went to Spain's Juan Vazquez who also became the tournament's top scorer with 164 points.
Best goalkeeper was Igor Totic from Croatia and the Fair Play Award went to Norway.
In the women's tournament Hungary's Kitti Groz was named MVP. Monika Pruenster from Italy became the best goalkeeper and Isabel Barnard from Netherlands the top scorer with 108 points.
The Fair Play Award went to Serbia.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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