01 Jul. 2019
The YAC 17 Beach Handball EURO 2019 was played from June 27 to 30 in Stare Jablonki, Poland, deciding the continent’s young age titles right before the senior teams take the court for the Beach Handball EURO starting on July 2.
Croatia won the men’s U17 title and Spain celebrated the women’s, while Hungary were defeated in both finals and took the silver medals. Spain placed third in the men’s tournament and Germany claimed the women’s bronze.
Spain and Hungary in tight race to the title
Both finalists in the women’s competition, Spain and Hungary, entered the trophy match on the back of flawless campaigns. Spain topped preliminary Group D with two wins, over Portugal and Romania, then won main round Group II ahead of the Netherlands, Russia and Poland.
Hungary also collected only wins in the preliminary round, securing first place in Group A in front of Poland, Croatia and Slovakia. They continued their winning run, finishing on top of main round Group I, with Germany second, Portugal third and Lithuania fourth.
Therefore, Hungary, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands qualified for the semi-finals. Both Hungary and Spain won their semi-finals 2:0, before Spain recorded the same result in their favour in the final – however, it was extremely close, with Spain winning each set by just one goal, 27:26 and 23:22. Germany clinched the bronze medal after beating the Netherlands 2:0.
Hungary’s Zita Szalma was selected as the best goalkeeper in the competition, while Lithuania’s Mireta Rutyte was the best defender. The top scorer was Poland’s Setia Szulc, who tallied 113 points. Germany’s Michelle Köbrich was named MVP.
Finalists recover from tough main round competition
Unlike the women’s competition, the men’s finalists did not arrive at the trophy match with perfect records. Hungary took three wins, over Spain, France and Slovakia, to top preliminary Group C, then finished second in main round Group I after a loss to group winners the Netherlands in that stage. However, victories over Ukraine and Romania were enough to secure Hungary’s place in the semi-finals.
Croatia defeated Romania and Russia to rank on top of preliminary Group D. Though Croatia lost to both Spain and Poland in main round Group II, a victory over Portugal earned them second place in the group and with it the second semi-final ticket alongside group winners Spain.
In the semi-finals, both Croatia and Hungary earned strong 2:0 wins. The final between the two was decided in a shoot-out, with Croatia eventually taking a 2:1 (20:25, 20:19, 7:6) victory. Spain claimed the bronze medal with a clear 2:0 win over the Netherlands.
The best goalkeeper in the men’s competition was Hungary’s Balazs Nagy, while the best defender was Croatia’s Jan Kovacec. The top scorer was Germany’s Matthew Wollin with 127 points. The Netherlands’ Silas Speckman was named MVP.
Photos: EHF/Grzegorz Trzpil