have two shots at gold at Beach EURO 2019

have never won gold in the 19-year-long history of the Beach EURO. On Sunday, they get two chances to end their wait for a an title.

Both the men’s and the women’s team of reached the final at the Beach Handball EURO 2019 in Stare Jablonki in Poland.

In Saturday’s semi-finals, the men’s team beat Hungary 2:0 (19:16, 22:18), just hours after the women had defeated Croatia in a shoot-out, 2:1 (19:12, 10:17, 7:4).

In the men’s final, will be up against , who came through a tight semi-final against Russia, 2:1 (20:18, 24:26, 7:4).

For the women’s title, will face two-time champions Hungary, who defeated Netherlands 2:0 (19:16, 15:12).

All matches of the Beach EURO 2019 are streamed live on ehfTV.com, and Sunday’s third-place matches and both finals will come with English commentary by Chris O’Reilly. The scores can also be followed on the dedicated beach handball liveticker.

Getting to the final means everything to

Appearing in their first semi-final since 2013, when they ended up winning bronze, downed Hungary in straight sets.

Jonas Corneliussen scored 11 points in the first half alone, and finished on a leading 15 for , while Andras John added 12 points for Hungary.

By reaching the final, are entering new territory as they have never been among the top four before.

“It means everything. We tried so many times,” goalkeeper Simen Johansen said. “Finally we reached the semi-finals and now the final. It’s amazing for a small country like us.”

Johansen said that got a huge boost from upsetting record-four-time champions Croatia in Friday’s quarter-final.

“Beating Croatia, maybe the best team of the world, gives us a lot of confidence,” said the goalkeeper, who made the difference in the shoot-out against Russia, as two brilliant saves by him paved the way to victory for .

According to Johansen, are ready to take on neighbours in the final.

“We play against them so many times so we know them, and they know all of us,” he said.

Hungary return to final after four years

In the first women’s semi-final, overcame a strong recovery from Croatia in the second set.

looked like cruising to the final after taking the opener 19:12, but conceded the second set by the same seven-point margin, 17:10, before closing out the win in a shoot-out.

’s Melanie Fuglsbjerg, Frederikke Laerke and Line Berggren Larsen all scored eight times, while Anja Vida Luksic led for Croatia with 10 points.

are going into their Beach EURO Final, after 2011 and ’13, when they ended up taking silver both times.

Hungary will be a tough contender in the final, as the two-time former champions (2013 and ’15) proved against Netherlands.

While they had clearly lost to ‘Oranje’ in a main round game on Thursday, they completely turned the tables around two days later.

Pressing Netherlands and forcing them to mistakes was the recipe for success, as the Dutch side found no solution to get their attack going.

Also, experienced Hungary goalkeeper Agnes Györi excelled in the second set to help her team back into the final after two years.

Renata Andrea Csiki netted 14 points for Hungary, while Krista Mol scored 16 points for Netherlands.

Schedule Beach EURO 2019 Finals, Sunday 7 July:

14:00 hrs – women’s bronze medal match: Croatia vs Netherlands
15:00 hrs – men’s bronze medal match: Hungary vs Russia
16:00 hrs – women’s final: vs Hungary
17:00 hrs – men’s final: vs

Photos: Uros Hocevar / kolektiff / EHF

TEXT: Eric Willemsen / ts
 

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