16 Jun. 2019
Bulgaria claimed the bronze medal at the 3rd IHF Emerging Nations Championship with a dominant display against Great Britain, which saw them lead by nine goals at half-time and therefore decide the outcome in the first 30 minutes. Great Britain fought hard to come back in the second period but Bulgaria only extended their advantage.
Nevertheless, with the fourth place, Great Britain have secured their best ranking at the IHF Emerging Nations Championship. Bulgaria also improved their position, from fifth in 2017 to the medal win.
Bulgaria vs Great Britain 47:31 (26:17)
In a huge first half that saw 43 goals scored, Bulgaria clearly held the upper hand against their rivals. Bulgaria scored three goals before Great Britain added their first and had a commanding 13:7 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Great Britain’s defence had significant trouble, allowing almost one goal per minute in the opening period. Great Britain could not rely on their strongest goalkeeping performance at Georgia 2019, and their starting keeper Owen Insou came off for Craig Mcclelland after 20 minutes.
At the other end of the court, Bulgaria’s usual key keeper Ivaylo Kostov was also less effective in keeping his side’s opponents at bay than he has been in previous matches – including the semi-final, where he had an incredible game with 22 saves.
The result was a very high-scoring half, which saw Bulgaria well and truly in command though only six players contributed to the score board. By the end of the first period, Bulgaria’s top scorer in the match, Georgi Atanasov, had already scored eight goals and went on to a final tally of 12.
Great Britain’s most dangerous shooter, Sebastian Edgar, also had a strong first half with eight goals, which took him to first on the tournament’s top scorer ranking. At the final whistle, Edgar counted a total of 66 goals overall at the Emerging Nations Championship.
Kostov returned to Bulgaria’s goal in the 35th minute, and had a much stronger half to bring his number of saves to 10. As the last quarter of the game began, his team were in front 38:26 and it was clear the medal was going to Bulgaria.
Players of the match:
Bulgaria: Georgi Atanasov
Great Britain: Joshua Da Silva