Portugal strike gold at the 2022 World & European Wheelchair Handball Championship (six-a-side)

20 Nov. 2022

Portugal strike gold at the 2022 World & European Wheelchair Handball Championship (six-a-side)

With a five-game winning streak and some excellent handball displayed, hosts Portugal were crowned champions at the 2022 World & European Wheelchair Handball Championship (six-a-side). They totally outplayed their opponents and clinched the gold medal with an 18:10 win in the final against the Netherlands.

Portugal had previously won all their games in the competition, including three in the preliminary round, which saw the hosts clinch a place in the semi-finals early and have some precious time to rest.

The last day of the competition started with a clear 23:11 win over India, a team they struggled against in the preliminary round. Still, their excellent attack saw Portugal start strong and never look back, with Ricardo Queiros scoring 10 goals in the semi-final against the only Asian side still alive for the trophy.

The other semi-final saw the Netherlands use their experience to dominate Norway in what proved to be a cagey affair, as the Dutch side took a 3:1 lead at the break with an excellent defence spearheaded by goalkeeper Joyce van Haaster. Eventually, the Netherlands proved too strong for an inexperienced Scandinavian side, taking a clear 11:5 win.

However, they were no match for Portugal in the final, who were head and shoulders above all the other sides in the competition. Two goals from Iderlindo Gomes saw Portugal take an early 2:0 lead, but the Netherlands came back and tied the game. Another 6:2 run for Portugal started to open up their game as Gomes and Ricardo Queiros became unstoppable.

But it was the defence that really stood firm for Portugal in the second half, with a 9:7 lead at the break being the building block for their win, as they conceded only three goals in the second half, scoring nine more, clinching the first edition of the 2022 World & European Wheelchair Handball Championship (six-a-side) with an 18:10 win.

Gomes and Queiros scored 17 goals between them, as they were truly unstoppable, as the two players also combined for 46 of Portugal's 100 goals in the competition, being their top scorers.

In the bronze medal match, Norway mounted an otherworldly comeback after being down 8:2 at the break, with the game finishing in a tie (11:11) after 40 minutes. The Scandinavian side won the ensuing penalty shootout. The 15:14 win brought Norway their first medal in an international competition.

This is the second gold medal in a major wheelchair international tournament for Portugal after they had previously won the 2018 EHF European Wheelchair Handball Nations' Tournament with a 20:7 win over Croatia when they also hosted the competition.

The last day of the competition also saw the other teams feature in the Placement Matches, with Spain finishing on the fifth place, a remarkable achievement for a side that has not played in a major tournament. They sealed their place with a 14:13 win over Croatia, which saw a superb comeback from Spain after being down 4:6 at the break, as the tournament's top scorer, Miguel Garcia Gomar, scored seven goals.

In what virtually was the Placement Match 7/8, Hungary clinched an 11:10 win over Romania after being down 2:7 at the break. Romania lost all their matches played in the tournament apart from the one against Pakistan, which they sealed (18:7). It was considered a 10:0 win because all of Pakistan's games were not counted, though, due to them not meeting the requirements to enter the tournament.

Ricardo Quieros from Portugal was the competition's top scorer with 37 goals. One goal less scored Spain's Miguel Garcia Gomar, who was followed in the ranking by India's Javed Ramjan Choudhari and Croatia's Ante Stimac with 35 goals each.

Six players were selected for the All-Star team, with Netherlands' Joyce van Haaster being the top goalkeeper at the 2022 World & European Wheelchair Handball Championship (six-a-side) after also being named the Most Valuable Female Player at the 2022 IHF Four-a-Side Wheelchair Handball World Championship.

Spain's Oscar Perales Perez, Croatia's Ante Stimac, India's Javed Ramjan Choudhari, Norway's Thor-Erik Strand and Portugal's Ricardo Quieros were also named in the All-Star team, joining van Haaster with their superb performances.

2022 World & European Wheelchair Handball Championship (six-a-side) final results

1. Portugal
2. Netherlands
3. Norway
4. India, 5. Spain, 6. Croatia, 7. Hungary, 8. Romania, 9. Pakistan

Photo: Handball Federation Portugal