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Date: 6/4/2018
 

Hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina took the 2018 IHF/EHF Women’s Trophy title thanks to an eight-goal best player performance from Helena Curic in the final against Belgium, in which they were behind by two goals at the break (14:12) but went on to win 27:26.

 

Earlier in the final, a strong first-half performance from the Belgians had put them in full control after a tournament which had seen them win all their matches by nine goals or more – including a 32:20 semi-final victory over Luxembourg. But the hosts, buoyed on by a home crowd of over 1,000 spectators in the KSPC Mejdan arena in the north-eastern city of Tuzl, mounted a fightback, resulting in their narrow one-goal victory.

 

Belgium had even gone up by three (17:14, 18:15) in the second period, but the home side eventually brought it even at 19:19 and Belgium were rocking. Both teams then exchanged goals, but the hosts went up by two (23:21) in the 50th minute and were never caught again.

 

A Bosnian team time-out with just over two minutes left on the clock and their side 26:25 up calmed their nerves and, following the break, a well-drilled attack saw Curic sink home from distance to make it two-clear again (27:25). But their on-court celebrations following the strike may have been premature as Lauranne Beckers brought Belgium within one (27:26) after a failed host attack.

 

However, time was not on Beckers’ side and the hosts ran down the clock with their final attack to take the title.

 

In the bronze-medal match Luxembourg beat Estonia 22:21. Moldova finished fifth with a dominant 41:24 win over Cyprus and Azerbaijan avoided last place with a 28:22 win over Great Britain in the 7/8 Placement Match.

 

Despite their last-place finish, Great Britain’s joint coach Bill Baillie was happy for his team to have a high-level international experience. “We are hugely proud of our players,” said Baillie. “This was a steep learning curve for the team, with many having no international experience whatsoever. However, they showed great fighting spirit throughout the week.”

 

At the other end of the rankings, Bosnia and Herzegovina coach Kornelija Rajkovic revealed the title was the result of some hard preparation.

 

“We would not have gathered [together as a team] if we did not mean to achieve a serious result in this tournament,” said Rajkovic to local media. “I dedicate this victory to all those disbelievers who have doubted us. Victory is not going to us – because we knew we could – but to them.

 

“It was not easy,” said the coach about the preparation for the tournament. “But we have shown that we have quality, although [there is] a lot of room for improvement.”

 

On the final day the All-Star Team was also announced with Azerbaijan’s Kamila Bayramova finishing top scorer (45 goals) and Belgium’s Estelle Ghijsens being named Most Valuable Player.

 

The final day of matches followed a rest day where an IHF/EHF Women’s Trophy ‘Coaches’ Clinic Programme’, overseen by EHF Lecturer Milan Petronijevic was delivered.

 

All match results, standings and scorers can be found HERE.

 

ALL-STAR TEAM

Goalkeeper: Alena Huremovic (Luxembourg)

Left Wing: Valeria Roscovan (Moldova)

Left Back: Teele Utsal (Estonia)

Line player: Lauranne Beckers (Belgium)

Right Back: Selma Rein (Estonia)

Right Wing: Michelle Jung (Luxembourg)

Playmaker: Adelisa Dautovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Best Defensive Player: Isidora Krsic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Top Scorer: Kamila Bayramova (Azerbaijan) - 45 goals

 

MVP: Estelle Ghijsens (Belgium)

 

FINAL RANKING

1 Gold – Bosnia and Herzegovina

2 Silver – Belgium

3 Bronze – Luxembourg

4 Estonia

5 Moldova

6 Cyprus

7 Azerbaijan

8 Great Britain

 

RESULTS

 

Tuesday 29 May

EST vs BEL 18:31

MDA vs CYP 30:22

GBR vs LUX 20:28

AZE vs BIH 16:34

 

Wednesday 30 May

CYP vs EST 14:34

BEL vs MDA 37:28

LUX vs AZE 27:27

BIH vs GBR 34:20

 

Thursday 31 May

BEL vs CYP 27:18

EST vs MDA 33:25

AZE vs GBR 28:29

BIH vs LUX 39:14

 

Friday 1 June

Rest Day

 

Saturday 2 June

Placement Round 5-8: MDA vs AZE 32:22 (18:9)

Placement Round 5-8: GBR vs CYP 19:24 (10:11)

Semi-Final 1: BEL vs LUX 32:20 (16:10)

Semi-Final 2: BIH vs EST 30:24 (15:15)

 

Sunday 3 June

Placement Match 7/8: AZE vs GBR 28:22 (14:10)

Placement Match 5/6: MDA vs CYP 41:24 (23:15)

Bronze Medal: LUX vs EST 22:21 (12:10)

Final: BEL vs BIH 26:27 (14:12)

 

Photos: EHF

 

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