REVIEW: Norway and Spain have won gold at the Beach Handball EURO 2017, while Spain and Croatia claim bronze. For Spain it is already the third title, for Norway it is the first
Norway and Spain claim gold at Beach Handball EURO 2017
The Beach Handball EURO 2017 in Zagreb has come to an end with Norway in the women's event and Spain in the men's event topping the podium.
Silver and bronze went to Poland and Spain in the women's and to Russia and Croatia in the men's tournament respectively.
For Norway it was the first time they won Europe's biggest beach handball event. Spain won gold in 2002 and 2006. Both had won silver two years ago at the Beach Handball EURO 2015.
The men's final was eventually decided by golden goal. Spain had won the first set 27:22, but while Russia were also trailing for most of the time in the second set, they had levelled it at 26:26 by the end of it.
Hagi Toure then won the all-important tip-off and Alberto Castro Duarte scored the final goal of the Beach Handball EURO 2017.
Consolatian for Croatia and Dumencic
In the women's final, Norway were in control from the beginning to the end, scoring the decisive goals twice at the end of the first as well as of the second set.
Defending champions Croatia, who had not reached the final for the first time since 2006, ended their 'home' EURO with a 2:0 victory against Hungary and the bronze medal.
Croatia's hero was specialist Ivan Dumencic. On the buzzer he scored the decisive goal in the second set, turning Hungary's 23:22 lead into a 24:23 for Croatia at the very last moment.
For Dumencic it was a small consolation after he had failed with his attempt in Saturday's semi-final shoot-out against Russia.
Reigning women's world champions Spain became the first medallists of the day when they beat Denmark 2:1 in the match for third place. It is the first European beach handball medal for the Spaniards.
Another decision was taken in the men's match for 5th place which Sweden won 2:1 against Ukraine. The win booked the Scandinavian team the ticket to the World Championship 2018 in Russia.
Besides Sweden, Russia as hosts, Croatia as defending champions as well as Hungary and Spain are the European men's teams at the 16-nation event in Sochi next year.
The women's teams qualified for the World Championships are defending champions Spain, hosts Russia, Norway, Poland, Denmark and Greece.
All-stars being named
At the end of the Beach Handball EURO 2017, the All-stars of the final tournament were named.
For the men, Russia's Anton Zabolotskyi claimed the best goalkeeper award, while Hungary's Andras John became MVP. The Fair Play award went to Germany.
In the women's tournament, Denmark Sandra Mittet became best goalkeeper, Norway's Maren Aardahl was awarded MVP. The award for the fairest team was given to Italy.
Top scorer in the women's were the Netherlands' Eefke Ter Sluis with 152 points and Ukraine's Igor Kopyshynskyi with 181 points in the men's event. Norway's Maren Aardahl had also scored 152 points, but while Ter Sluis had scored 74 2-point goals, Aardahl had 'only' scored 73.
Earlier beach handball fans across the globe had the opportunity to vote for their personal All-stars of the event. In this non-official mixed vote Croatia's David Heningman was selected best goalkeeper and Greece's Nikolina Kepesidou became best specialist.
Jörn Wolterink from Germany and Jesper Knutsson from Sweden completed the fans' All-star Team.
TEXT: EHF / ts
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