21.06.2017, 11:10
Beach Handball EURO 2017 throws off in Zagreb

REVIEW: The pinnacle event of this beach handball summer has started in Croatia's capital, with defending men's champions Croatia and women's world champions Spain getting off to a confident start

Beach Handball EURO 2017 throws off in Zagreb

Beach handball has taken over the shores of Jarun Lake. On Tuesday, 29 teams – 15 in the women's and 14 in the men's event – took to the sandy courts for the first time.

Hosts and defending men's EURO champions Croatia got off to a good start, beating Serbia in the morning, then France in the early afternoon and eventually Sweden in the final match on Court 1 to top Group B at the end of the first day – eventually the first four teams of each group will qualify for the main round.

"We had three matches today, but we had a really good preparation for them. It’s hard to say who was our hardest opponent - we always want to get the points. Tomorrow, Switzerland will be our rival. I think that we are the better team and we need the victory against them," said Croatia's Valentino Valentakovic.

Spain and Hungary in Group A as well as Ukraine in Group B also started their campaign with a flawless three wins from three matches.

Matches in the men's event continue at 11:00 hrs local time on Wednesday with the action from Court 1 and Court 2 being streamed live on youtube.com/ehfTV.

In the women's event, world champions Spain are jointly at the top of Group C together with Italy, bronze medallist at the EURO 2015, following wins against Greece and Switzerland. Italy beat Croatia and Switzerland.

In Group A, the Netherlands are the only unbeaten side. They first beat Germany and then Denmark. In Group B, Norway, silver medallist at the EURO 2015, won both their matches and so did Poland. The former against Ukraine and Sweden, the latter against Sweden and France.

The first four teams of each group qualify for the main round which will be played with two groups of six.

Matches in the women's competition will resume on Wednesday, with the first matches starting at 10:00 hrs.

Germany's men's head coach Kai Bierbaum received the Fair Play Award, sponsored by the EHF's sports outfitter Salming, for calming down his players following a referee decision in the match Germany vs Russia.

Introduced for the first time at this Beach Handball EURO, the Fair Play Award is given daily to one player or coach who showed in outstanding spirit of fair play in a particular match.

TEXT: EHF / ts

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