Euro 2018

Spain is the new European Champion

photo: Sasa Pahic Szabo/EHF
Spain is the new European Champion
Ibolya Szekeres

EHF EURO 2018

Arena Zagreb

FINAL EHF EURO 2018

Both teams reached the final somehow surprisingly, none of them were expected to go so far in this EURO. And both teams are struggling with injuries: Spain lost Perez de Vargas, the goalkeeper was replaced with Arpad Sterbik. Sweden lost both right-backs, both Lagergren and Jakobsson are out with injuries, they are replaced with right-handed players.

The final has started with a storming tempo from both sides, none of the teams could have more than one goal advantage, 2-2, 4-4, until Sweden scored for 4-6, after their fourth fastbreak. Spanish timeout was meant to break this pace but without success, 4-7 for the Swedish team (13.min). Appelgreen had saved 60% of the Spanish shoots, but Entrerrios modified 5-7 and Sole reduced 6-7 on a fastbreak. Swedish advantage increased quickly again as Zachrisson and Wanne netted behind Corrales, 6-9. Guardiola managed to reduce from the line, but Eckberg scored from 7-meter against Sterbik, 7-10. Alex Dujsebajev scored with one man extra for his team, 8-10, when a time-out is called for Sweden. Spain came up to 9-10, but Arnesson made it 9-11. When Entrerrios failed in front of the Swedish goal, Nielsen increased to 9-12 from line player position. Spain sticks to the opponent, 11-12, but Sweden continued to impress, 11-14. Halftime result: 12-14.

Arpad Sterbik, Spain | Photo: Bjørn Kenneth Muggerud

Arpad Sterbik, Spain | Photo: Bjørn Kenneth Muggerud

The second half had a shaky start for Sweden as after five minutes they had zero goals against Sterbik, but Spain made 5-0 and took the lead of the game 16-14. later 17-15. Entrerrios, Balaguer, Sole were responsible for the Spanish goals, and after ten minutes of play, the result was 18-15. Sweden was unable to score and started to make mistakes in attack. The dynamic of the match had been totally changed as Balaguer netted for 19-15 when the third  Swedish time-out has been called. Sweden continued to fail against a well organized Spanish defense, and lost the control and the tempo of the game, scoring two goals after 14 minutes in the second half, 19-16. Sweden seemed to have a collective collapse, and none of the players managed to pull themselves together and adjust to the new situation. At the middle of the second half, Spain had a five-goal advantage, 20-15. The rest of the time Spanish defense stopped Swedish team in every possible situation, Sterbik saved the most of the shoots reaching his goal, and Spain scored when they had the opportunity, 25-17 (52.minute). Nilsson, Jepsson or Henningson managed to score, 26-20, 26-21, 28-22 (58.minute), but this was enough only to make the result to look prettier i the handball-history books. Spain won the final and took the trophy and it is very deserved.

Spain –  Sweden 29 – 23 (12 – 14)

Goals:

Spain: Corrales, Sterbik (GK) – Gurrbondo 1, Rivera 1, Entrerrios 4, A.Dujsebajev 4(1), Sarmiento 1, Aguinagalde 1, Canellas, Morros, Arino 4, Guardiola 1, Goni 1, Sole 5(3), Balaguer 5, Figueras 1

Sweden: Appelgren, Palicka (GK) – Henningson 2, Darj, Tollbring, Ekberg 4(1), Wanne 3, Pettersson, Gottfridsson 2, Arnesson 1, Cederholm, Østlund, Zachrisson 3, Nielsen 5, Nilsson 2, Jeppson 1

Suspensions: 4 minutes; 6 minutes

7 meters: 5/4; 2/1

Referees: Gubica, Milosevic (CRO)

Player of the match: Arpad Sterbik (ESP)

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Euro 2018
Ibolya Szekeres

Hungarian living in Norway with a great passion for handball, primarly women handball. Travels all over the world to follow handball matches and tournaments and to write good articles on this website.

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