Hungary throw-off their title defence as Greece 2022 gets underway In Heraklion

14 Jun. 2022

Hungary throw-off their title defence as Greece 2022 gets underway In Heraklion

Live blog: Hungary, Thailand, Germany, Argentina and Poland claimed the first wins at Greece 2022, just as well as the host nation, Spain and the Netherlands. 

Today's matches:

  • 09:30 EEST Hungary vs Poland (2-0) / Thailand vs Uruguay (2-1) / Germany vs Romania (2-0)
  • 10:20 EEST Argentina vs France (2-1)
  • 12:00 EEST Greece vs Puerto Rico (2-0) / Netherlands vs Hong Kong (2-0)
  • 15:00 EEST Uruguay vs Hungary (0-2) / Poland vs Thailand (2-0)
  • 15:50 EEST France vs Germany (0-2) / Ukraine vs Spain (0-2) / Romania vs Argentina (1-2)
  • 17:30 EEST Puerto Rico vs Netherlands (0-2)
  • 18:20 EEST Hong Kong vs Greece (0-2)


20:00 EEST That's the end of action today, 13 matches down

After the opening ceremony, there will be no more games in the women's competition, just two more in the men's competition. Today was a good day for Greece, Netherlands, Argentina, Hungary and Germany who all won both of their games.

Surprisingly, maybe, Argentina had to win shoot-outs in both of theirs, overcoming France and Romania, who both lost their two matches each.

Join us tomorrow for action in 11 more matches from Heraklion as the preliminary group stage concludes.


19:35 EEST The 2022 IHF Men's and Women's Beach Handball Youth World Championships will officially open

We are now underway with the officially opening ceremony here in Heraklion. The IHF officials and referees have come out onto the sand now. They will be followed by all the nations competing. You can watch live on our YouTube channel.


19:15 EEST Netherlands and Greece make it a double winning day

The European Championship runners-up and host nation both had successful days at the office in Heraklion.

Netherlands, who restricted Hong Kong to just three points in their opening clash early this morning and scoring 53 themselves, showed their continental silver prowess, easily seeing off the North America and the Caribbean represenatives, Puerto Rico, scoring 60 points and letting in just eight.

However, they will face a stronger test against Greece tomorrow. The host nation made it two from two as well with a 2-0 win over Hong Kong.


18:20 EEST Asia vs Europe on central court

After their introduction to the global competition with a comprehensive defeat at the hands of European runners-up Netherlands, Hong Kong line-up against hosts Greece on the central court. The home side beat Puerto Rico 2-0 earlier and another win here will do nicely for the European side.


16:38 EEST So close but not enough

In the end, Argentina scored two points more than Romania and won the shoot-out 8:6. Ultimately, it came down to a crucial save from Argentina's Andra Roxana Banu. Her block from Romania set up the win which saw their coach Leticia Brunati celebrate the win, before the final shots had been taken knowing the game was in the bag.

They did not manage to claim their first win at this event just yet, an event which is historic for Romania. However, the European side took the South and Central American champions to a shoot-out, which is promising for the matches to come. 

In the meantime, Spain claimed a 2-0 win against Ukraine on court 3. 


16:28 EEST Romania taking Youth Olympic Games champions to a shoot-out

Earlier, Romania told us about the history they are making here in Greece. Could they make even more today by beating one of the pre-tournament favourites in a shoot-out?

After losing the first set in the last few seconds 18:19, they won the second just now 17:15.


16:25 EEST Germany make it two from two

Big celebrations from the German side who saw off France 14:13 in the second period on the central court to take a 2-0 win, their second of the day following their earlier dismantling of Romania.

Main Round here they come.


16:20 EEST Nerves everywhere

The Argentina women were in danger of losing the first period against Romania just now. With seven seconds left and just a solitary point behind (18:19), the Romanians took a time-out and went back to the sand knowing they could pull off a great upset.

However, Argentina goalkeeper Maria Constanza Suarez had other ideas, pulling off a great save. It was so good that the ball literally flew out of the arena, behind the stands.

The South Americans celebrated like they had won the game, but it was just the first period.

What can the Europeans do in the second?


15:50 EEST Six teams ready for throw-off

France await Germany, Ukraine face Spain and Romania play Argentina in the next session, starting now at 15:50 EEST. 


15:20 EEST Poland edge out Thailand in the first set

It's been neck and neck between Thailand and Poland, but a single point from the Asian champions sees them playing catch-up at the end of the first period.

They were 17:18 behind with just under two minutes to play and took a time-out with less than a minute remaining. They took to the sand again following the pause, went 19:18 ahead, but a last-second point from Poland ensured a first set win.

Defending champions Hungary took the first set 22:11 against Uruguay on the central court in the meantime.


15:00 EEST Back after the break

After a strong start this morning, Hungary aim to continue at Greece 2022 with a win against Uruguay on the central court.

The South Americans will be desperate they don’t lose again after suffering an early morning shoot-out loss to Thailand.

Poland take on the Asian champions and will be in a very strong position should they win.


14:00 EEST Christina Souska: "We haven't given away our secrets yet"

Greece's women ensured they started their home championship in the best possible way, defeating Puerto Rico 2-0 (23:20, 12:8).

"I'm pretty happy and very proud of the team," said Souska, who scored 10 points in the match.

"It was a big relief to finally play, we've been waiting for this moment for months now. We were so excited to come here and we finally arrived.

"Everything went perfectly, according to plan. We have more to give obviously, we haven't given away our secrets yet."


12:25 EEST Fair play

The very first rule of beach handball is Fair Play and we just saw that on central court.

After getting injured, Puerto Rico's Natasha Valle Martinez received treatment on court. When it was time to leave the court for further treatment, the Greek pair of Sotiria Kourti and Athina Kaprinioti, both on court too, carried her over to the stands carefully, sat her down, checked in with her and ran back to court to take their places back in the game.


12:20 EEST Midday sun

'Blinding Lights' by The Weeknd is playing on the sound system here. Another good choice considering it is just after midday and the sun is at its highest.

Life is good for Greece here, they already lead 2:0 in the second set against Puerto Rico.


12:15 EEST Hosts start strongly

Greece's women came out firing against fellow debutants Puerto Rico, going ahead 6:0 without reply. Eventually, the Puerto Ricans found their shooting angles but it has not been enough as the host side end the first set as 23:12 winners.

Magdalini Koukmisi has top-scored for the home side on 10 points, watched from the stands by women's senior coach Maria Karantoni, who led the senior women's side to that historic world title four years ago in Kazan. She is assisting youth coach Sofia Dimitrou from her position in the stands.


12:00 EEST The first showing of the host nation on Heraklion sand

It really, truly is a World Championship when you see the match Greece versus Puerto Rico. That is what is happening now on the central court as the Greek women line-up against the team from the North America and The Caribbean Handball Confederation.

This Greece team will have been inspired the heroic performances from their senior side back at the 2018 IHF Women's Beach Handball World Championships in Kazan, Russia when they won on their debut appearance.

While a gold at home may be a little too far out of reach for Greece here, they can only dream and the conditions are perfect.


11:45 EEST History-maker Chirila scores first-ever beach handball world championship points for Romania

More on Romania's debut at an IHF Beach Handball World Championship.

The CSS Viitorul Cluj left back Andrada Maria Chirila top-scored for Romania with eight points in their 0-2 opening match loss.

“I’m proud,” she said about scoring the first points for her nation and making a piece of handball history for Romania. “I’m proud because I worked hard to get here, but the points are because of teamwork.”

“Of course, we came here to win, but we couldn’t win this time, maybe next time. We’re the same as the other teams here. Even if we don't win all the games, we will win [some].”


11:15 EEST Romania coach Florin Ciupitu: “We are writing history here” 

After their 0-2 (16:31, 7:16) opening loss against Germany, Romania coach Florin Ciupitu reflected on the result with the side he has been with since they were formed just over three years ago.

“We expected to have a very hard game because we knew Germany from the European Championships last year (Germany beat them 2-1) and they are very strong.

“Our first set and defence was not so good. Germany did some new things and we didn't expect it. In the second set, we talked a little bit and we did good things in defence. I congratulate Germany on their victory.

“The players will rest now and we have two more games in this group. We hope that things will be better.”

Ciupitu is also assistant coach of CS Rapid București, who recently won the Romanian women’s indoor league, and he is leading the way with the relatively new discipline of beach in the historic handball country. The team in Greece is the first-ever from the country to appear at an IHF Beach Handball World Championship.

“It's very emotional,” he said. “I spoke with the girls and all staff before this championships, for us it’s a very good thing to be here. At this moment, we are writing history for beach handball in Romania even if we started with a loss. It’s very important.”


11:05 EEST Jet-fuelled second period from Argentina ensures opening victory 

With the sounds of planes from the adjoining Nikos Kazantzakis Heraklion International Airport taking off and landing, Leticia Brunati's side come from behind to win in a shoot-out 8:6.

While the shoot-out score sounds close, they were never in trouble, leading 7:2 at one stage.

After a 20:24 first-set loss, a 20:8 second set showed their quality – will it be enough to continue through to gold?


10:56 EEST It's a shoot-out! 

Argentina ease to a 20:8 second period victory. They will now go to a shoot-out.

Argentina's Magali Agustina Alfredi and France's Emma Viogne are speaking to the referees now to decide the shoot-out formalities, they all high-five and here we go!


10:49 EEST Argentina coming back strong, shoot-out likely 

France have just taken a second period time-out, with Argentina ahead 12:4 with just over five minutes remaining.

It is looking like we will already have our second shoot-out in four games of this championship so far.


10:40 EEST Sensation on the sand already 

One of the pre-tournament favourites Argentina have lost the first set against France in a high-scoring match, 20:24. We already have our first, certified upset in just the fourth game of Greece 2022.

France's Dorothee Blaise, one of their key players has delivered, scoring eight points, with her side sharing out the scoring. On the other side, Argentina captain Magali Agustina Alfredi has scored an incredible 16 points for her side.

They need to turn it around in the second period.

Brazilian coaching legend looking on

Antonio Guerra Peixe, who won numerous titles around the world with the Brazilian women's senior team was watching that first period between Argentina and France on the central court.

He worked with Argentina coach Leticia Brunati before the women won the 2018 Youth Olympic Games on home sand. Now, he is the senior men's Iran coach, but is assisting the youth team here this week – they throw off in 30 minutes against the USA.


10:35 EEST Lili Lévai on her Hungary squad “family” in Heraklion and defending the title 

LĂ©vai talked to us after the defending champions beat Poland 2-0 in their opening game. She was joint top-scorer for her country with 10 points.

“I'm very happy because we won the first match. We are looking forward to the afternoon where play against Uruguay. We are here to win.

“Maybe we were nervous in the whole game, because it was the first one for us,” she said about the difference in periods (Hungary won the first 18:10 and the second, 11:10).

“In the first place, we're just really fine. I don't know [why the sets were different], maybe in the second half, Poland played better and we made more mistakes than in the first one. But we won so we are happy.”

“We really want to defend the title,” she added. “We trained with them (the 2017 winners) and we learn a lot from them. Our objective is the same here as theirs was. We learnt from them to never give up.

“Family,” she answered when asked to describe her team in one word.

Let's see if that family will go all the way to gold here in Crete.


10:25 EEST The 'Kamikazes' of Argentina take to the sand in Heraklion

They are Youth Olympic Games champions and took bronze at the 2017 IHF Women's Youth World Championship in Mauritius. They have also overtaken the Brazilian women recently in their continent – can Argentina grab gold in Heraklion?

We will soon find out as they have just thrown off against France on the central court.


10:20 EEST Thailand beat Uruguay 2-1

It was a close one, but Thailand managed to take their first Greece 2022 win with a narrow 5:3 shoot-out victory against Uruguay. 


10:10 EEST 2-0 victory for defending champions

In the end, it was a clear 2-0 win for the defending champions, as Hungary claimed their first victory at Greece 2022, against Poland. 

In the meantime, the match Thailand versus Uruguay went to shoot-outs after Thailand won the first period closely 12:10 but Uruguay came back to win the second one 18:11. 


10:00 EEST Germany take a 2-0 win over Romania

It was a closer score in the second set (16:7), but Germany ensure a good, solid start to their campaign, winning 2-0.


09:55 EEST Germany looking strong on court 2

A 31:16 first set win is in the bag for Germany who have a number of supporters here making themselves heard. They are leading the Romanians 14:7 in the second period.

These Romanian women are appearing at the first-ever beach handball championship at any level for the historic handball nation.


09:45 EEST Hungary in the lead

Poland had drawn level at 10:10 but Hungary claimed a commanding lead afterwards and won the first period 18:10.

On the other courts, Germany and Thailand also won their respective first sets. 


09:30 EEST Teams are ready for throw-off

It's the first day of the IHF Women's Youth Beach Handball World Championship and title holders Hungary are on the central court here in windy Heraklion, ready to defend the championship they won in Mauritius – back in 2017, Hungary beat then European champions Netherlands via a shoot-out (7:4) to take gold.
They are now European champions themselves, having recorded eight-straight wins on the Varna beaches in Bulgaria last July.

At the same time, Thailand face Uruguay and Germany play against Romania on a day which promises to be exciting.