Golden generations: Hungary also win W17 EHF EURO
Hungarian women’s Handball looks set for a bright future: three weeks after the under-19 team won the European title in front of their home crowd in Györ, the next generation of Hungarian talents followed the example and took gold at the Women’s 17 EHF EURO 2019 in Slovenia.
In Sunday’s final, Hungary defeated Sweden 28:24 and finished the tournament with a perfect seven wins from seven matches. Earlier, France beat Denmark 28:21 in the bronze-medal match.
Hungary became the 10th different nation to win the competition since its inauguration in 1992. Only Denmark and Russia (three titles each) have won this trophy more than once.
Despite not winning the women’s under-17 European title before, Hungary soon established themselves as one of the main gold contenders in Celje.
The team from head coach Szilárd Kiss started the preliminary round with two straight double-digit victories and became the only team to score more than 100 goals in that first phase of the tournament.
Hungary continued their winning streak in the main round, where they also beat Sweden (26:22), and in the semi-final, where Denmark (25:21) came up short.
While right wing Laura Kuerthi made the W17 EHF EURO 2019 All-star Team, her Hungarian teammate Blanka Kajdon was elected MVP of the tournament.
Hungary lead Sweden from first minute
Anna Kukely netted in the opening minute to give Hungary a 1:0 lead, and head coach Kiss’ team would stay ahead of Sweden for the entire final.
For the first quarter, Sweden remained within touching distance and trailed by just one goal most of the time. However, a 5:1 run gave Hungary their first substantial advantage, 12:7.
After the break (13:9), Hungary extended their lead, and when Petra Koronczai made it 21:14 midway through the second half, the match seemed close to being decided.
However, Sweden hit back one more time: Kajsa Stojilkovic and Kajsa Lindberg Blohm both netted twice when the Scandinavians suddenly were back in the game at 21:19.
The gap was still only two (24:22) with four minutes left, but as soon as Johanna Farkas and Koronczai (twice) scored three unanswered goals for 27:22 with 90 seconds left, the Hungarians knew the trophy was theirs.
Koronczai netted seven times for Hungary, while Stojilkovic (nine) and Lindberg Blohm (eight) led for Sweden.
Hours earlier, the bronze-medal match between France and Denmark was still level at 6:6 in the 14th minute. But led by five first-half goals from right wing Julie Abadie, France stormed into a six-goal lead (15:9) before half-time.
There was no way back for Sweden as France ran away into a double-digit lead (25:15) with seven minutes left. Sweden reduced the gap seven in the end, 28:21.
Abadie finished the match with seven goals, Thea Rasmussen and Maria Wierzba both had four for Denmark.
Apart from the four teams that played the medal matches, the four other main-round teams (Russia, Norway, Germany and Austria) have qualified for Women’s Youth (U-18) World Championship 2020 in China.
In a dramatic battle on Saturday night Montenegro edged hosts Slovenia after two extra times and a penalty shoot-out for the ninth and last qualifying spot for China.
Women’s 17 EHF EURO 2019 All-star Team:
Goalkeeper: Hanna Popaja – Sweden
Left wing: Ida Trolle Handreck – Denmark
Left back: Tyra Axner – Sweden
Centre back: Léna Grandveau – France
Right back: Juliia Baeva – Russia
Right wing: Laura Kuerthi – Hungary
Line player: Sarah Bouktit – France
MVP: Blanka Kajdon – Hungary
Top scorer: Katarina Pandza – Austria (66 goals)
Final standings of Women’s 17 EHF EURO 2019:
Gold: Hungary (*)
Silver: Sweden (*)
Bronze: France (*)
4. Denmark (*)
5. Russia (*)
6. Norway (*)
7. Germany (*)
8. Austria (*)
9. Montenegro (*)
15. Netherlands (**)
16 Spain (**)
(*) qualified for Women’s Youth (U-18) World Championship 2020 in China
(**) relegated to W17/W19 EHF Championships in 2021
TEXT: EHF / ew