The national teams of Spain and Denmark dominated the beach handball tournament played in Tarnow during the 3rd European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023. The Polish women’s and men’s teams finished both in 8th place.
After defeats in Wednesday’s quarter-finals, the hosts had to compete for places 5th to 8th. Unfortunately for all the Polish fans who came to watch Thursday’s matches at Beach Arena, both teams ended the tournament with defeats.
The men lost to Norway 0:2 and then to Germany 1:2 in the 7th place match. “Our appetite was bigger and our hopes and goals were different, but unfortunately, nothing went our way in these matches,” assessed Bartosz Wojdak.
The women’s team, in turn, first lost to the Portuguese 1:2, and then in the match for the 7th place was weaker than the Greeks (0:2). The second game was a special one for the whole team, as Iwona Niedzwiedz played for the last time in her career. A touching farewell took place after the final. There was applause, tears and joint photos. “I did not expect to receive such a fantastic farewell,” said Niedzwiedz with emotion.
Huge drama took place in the medal matches. Three of them, including both finals, ended in shoot-outs. In the men’s competition, the Spanish triumphed, beating the current European champions Hungary (2:1) in the gold match. The bronze went to the Danes, who also defeated the Portuguese in the shoot-outs. In the women’s competition, only the bronze match was one-sided, with the German women winning confidently against Norway (2:0). The gold medals went to the Danes, who proved to be better than the Spanish women after a fierce final (2:1).
The MVP of the women’s tournament was Spain’s Alba Diaz Gonzales. In the men, an award went to her compatriot Adrian Ortola Lopez.
Beach handball – results:
5th-8th place matches
Portugal – Poland 2:1 (18:23, 22:21, 18:16)
Netherlands – Greece 2:1 (22:12, 21:26, 8:6)
7th place: Poland – Greece 0:2 (18:24, 20:21)
5th place: Portugal – Netherlands 0:2 (12:21, 18:19)
Denmark – Germany 2:0 (28:26, 33:32)
Norway – Spain 0:2 (20:23, 22:25)
3rd place: Germany – Norway 2:0 (26:18, 27:26)
Final: Denmark – Spain 2:1 (22:20, 20:21, 10:8
MVP: Alba Diaz Gonzales (Spain)
Best scorer: Line G. Kristensen (Denmark) – 110 points
Best goalkeeper: Josefine I. Mahler (Denmark)
Best defender: Elizabeth Hammerstad (Norway)
Fair Play: Netherlands
5th-8th place matches
Croatia – Germany 2:0 (28:23, 31:26)
Norway – Poland 2:0 (19:12, 23:20)
7th place: Germany – Poland 2:1 (21:18, 20:24, 9:8)
5th place: Croatia – Norway 2:1 (29:22, 22:23, 7:4)
Denmark – Spain 1:2 (20:21, 25:20, 8:9)
Portugal – Hungary 0:2 (20:22, 14:20)
3rd place: Denmark – Portugal 2:1 (10:20, 23:18, 8:6)
Finał: Spain – Hungary 2:1 (23:22, 24:25, 13:12)
MVP: Adrian Ortola Lopez (Spain)
Best scorer: Kristoffer Henriksen (Norway) – 96 points
Best goalkeeper: Ricardo Castro (Portugal)
Best defender: Peter Hajdu (Hungary)
Fair Play: Hungary