Magnificent Hungary claim third W19 EHF EURO title in a row

17 Jul. 2023

Magnificent Hungary claim third W19 EHF EURO title in a row

On the back of an unprecedented 21-game winning streak at European championships dating back to 2017, Hungary clinched their third consecutive title at the W19 EHF EURO, an unprecedented feature, underlining the dominance at this young age category level for the side.

The under-19 generation, which earned the bronze medal last year at the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship, showed their experience, navigating through difficult moments but also sealing lopsided wins on their way to the trophy in the competition, which took place in Pitești and Mioveni between 6 and 16 July.

The first signs of Hungary’s domination were displayed in the preliminary round, where they clinched wins against France (30:29), Serbia (32:26) and Norway (28:20), but also in the main round with wins over Montenegro (28:25) and Denmark (41:23).

The win against the Scandinavian side, the runners-up at the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship, helped Hungary earn even more confidence in their game, displayed against hosts Romania in the semi-final with a clear 34:26 win.

It was always going to be a battle between Hungary and Denmark in the final after Denmark secured a 38:35 win after extra time in the other semi-final, as the Scandinavian side, led by the top scorer of the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship, Julie Scaglione, delivered six goals in the first 17 minutes to help her side create a four-goal lead.

But Hungary bounced back in the second half, shifted the game to their side after a 6:0 run, and eventually ran away with the trophy after a convincing 35:26 win after Denmark could only muster seven goals in the second half when Scaglione was marked man-to-man and could not help her side clinch a trophy.

Hungary secured their third gold medal in a row and jumped to the third place in the all-time medal list with three gold medals and three silver medals, while Denmark are still the most decorated side in history with seven medals – four gold, one silver and two bronze.

In the bronze medal match, hosts Romania capped off an impressive performance, having dropped only two matches in the competition, against Portugal in the preliminary round (30:36) and in the semi-final against Hungary.

Backed by over 2,000 fans, Romania delivered one of their best performances at the W19 EHF EURO 2023, clinching a 39:32 win in a rematch against Portugal, securing their first medal in 16 years, an important bronze, highlighted by the emergence of players like backs Alisia Boiciuc (53 goals) and Diana Lixăndroiu (51 goals), but also the All-Star right wing of the competition, Mihaela Mihai.

Hungary had two players in the All-Star team, goalkeeper Klara Zaj and centre back Petra Simon, with Simon also being named the MVP of the competition. Julie Scaglione, the top scorer of the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship, was the best scorer at the W19 EHF EURO 2023 with 68 goals, having also been named in the All-Star team as the best left back.

As the W19 EHF EURO 2023 was a qualifying event for the 2024 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship, 13 teams plus hosts North Macedonia clinched a spot for the competition. The last side to secure their berth were Iceland, after a 33:22 win over Serbia in the Placement Match 13/14.

Final ranking
1. Hungary
2. Denmark
3. Romania
4. Portugal, 5. Sweden, 6. France, 7. Switzerland, 8. Montenegro, 9. Netherlands, 10. Norway, 11. Germany, 12. Czech Republic, 13. Iceland, 14. Serbia, 15. North Macedonia, 16. Croatia

Photo: Marius Ionescu / Romanian Handball Federation