Rewind: The 2015 Beach Handball EURO
As we countdown to EHF Beach Handball EURO 2021, we take a look back all previous events in the competition’s rich and colourful history. Today we take a trip to Spain for the ninth EHF Beach Handball EURO in 2015 in Lloret de Mar.
In a nutshell
The ninth edition of beach handball’s biggest national team event took place in the Spanish coastal town of Lloret de Mar. Lying 75 kilometres (47 miles) northeast of Barcelona, the town is a popular tourist attraction and according to our friend Wikipedia, its main beach (length: 1,630 m; width: 45 m; small, gravel-like stones) is consistently awarded the Blue Flag for cleanliness. What better place to play beach handball?
In total 26 teams (12 men’s, 14 women’s) took part, representing 14 nations: Croatia, Spain, Ukraine, Hungary, Russia, Serbia, Norway, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands and Montenegro.
From the President
In his opening words of the tournament, EHF President Jean Brihault wrote in his magazine foreword:
“We look forward to welcoming the participating teams to the 2015 Men’s and Women’s European Beach Handball Championships, the competition will be played out in a dedicated event area. The tournament follows directly after the younger age category tournament.
“As it is not only the golden Championship plate up for grabs, but also a ticket to the 2016 Beach Handball World Championships it is expected that as the matches progress, the excitement for the fans will reach fever pitch as they root for their teams.
“For all the participants and guests staying in Lloret de Mar for this handball extravaganza, they can look forward to unrivalled hospitality at this six-day event. So all that remains to be said is welcome to Spain and beach handball at its best!”
They tried but they failed. No team could stop Croatia from winning their fourth successive EHF Beach Handball EURO gold, despite the best efforts of Spain in the final. The host nation, playing in their first final since winning the competition in 2006, took the game to a shootout but it would be Croatia’s day once more in what was their fifth straight appearance in the final.
The bronze medal went to Ukraine, who also needed a shootout to claim the medal, beating Hungary. It was the fourth time the Ukrainian team had contested the bronze medal game. Russia, who had finished runners-up in the three previous events to Croatia, finished fifth.
There was also plenty of drama in the women’s final as Hungary followed up their 2013 victory with another gold. This time the Hungarians saw off the challenge of Norway in the final, winning in a shootout. It was the fifth final in a row that was decided by a shootout.
In the bronze medal match, 2009 winners Italy took third place, beating a Spain team who had reached the semi-finals of the competition for the first time in the history of the women’s event. The game was also settled by a shootout.
Worth a watch
Three minutes and 19 seconds of all of the best bits, including some words from Roman Kalashnikov, from the tournament are contained in this video for your viewing pleasure.
The best of the best
The All-star Team saw six players and two federations awarded for their efforts and fair play. For the second event running, Hungary’s Kitti Groz was named women’s MVP while Croatian keeper Igor Totic scooped the Best Goalkeeper award just like he did in 2013.
MVP – Kitti Groz (Hungary)
Top scorer – Isabel Barnard (Netherlands) – 108 points
Best goalkeeper – Monika Preunster (Italy)
Fair Play – Serbia (five suspensions)
MVP – Juan Antonio Vazquez Diz (Spain)
Top scorer – Juan Antonio Vazquez Diz (Spain) – 164 points
Best goalkeeper – Igor Totic (Croatia)
Fair Play – Norway (seven suspensions)
A special EURO because…
It was the fairest EURO to date. For the first time in the competition’s history, there was not one single direct red card shown in 127 matches.
“All the players and their coaches playing beach handball on a tremendous level and which is really impressive following the Fair Play spirit - the EHF Disciplinary Commission had an easy job because no red card with report was awarded in – and please note this figure – in 127 matches,” said former EHF Treasurer Ralf Dejaco in his closing speech.