Denmark on double duty again on finals day
Denmark will be on double duty again on the finals day of the Beach Handball EURO 2021 in Varna.
Just like in 2019, both the men’s and the women’s team qualified for the gold medal match by winning their semi-finals on Saturday.
And while they both lifted the trophy two years ago, the Danish teams will face fierce opposition on Sunday in order to repeat that feat.
Record four-time champions Croatia advanced to the men’s final, while Germany returned to the women’s final for the first time in 14 years.
Croatia had smoother path into final than Denmark
In the men’s event, Denmark had to dig deep to get past Russia. Appearing in their 10th semi-final, Russia snatched the opening set 18:16 coming from well behind.
Denmark recovered to take the second 19:16, and saw Ronnie Vilstrup Andersen performing two stunning saves in the shoot-out to win it 8:6.
Croatia had a smoother path into their first final in six years. They edged Spain 25:24 in the opening set before comfortably wrapping up the win in the second, 28:20. Lucian Bura scored 13 points in the first set, and 23 in total.
Germany battle past Spain to enter their fourth final
In the women’s event, the defending champions defeated Norway 2:0, just like the day before in the main round. But the set scores 23:18, 22:18 do not properly reflect how close the game was, as Denmark had to come from four points behind halfway through the second set.
Germany took the opener of their semi against Spain 22:18 but completely lost their way in the second, 27:11. A nervy shoot-out went in favour of Germany, 5:2.
Germany are into their fourth final, having won the title once so far – back in 2006.
Several 2019 medallists out in quarter-finals
Earlier Saturday in the men’s event, the story ended for Norway in the quarter-final. After the 2019 runners-up had only just managed to survive both the preliminary round and the main round, they came up short against Croatia.
Russia entered a semi-final for the 10th time in 12 Beach Handball EUROs with a clear 2:0 win over France, while Denmark were pushed by Portugal before getting through 2:0 on a last-second goal from Simon Moss.
Spain had to go through a shoot-out against Poland to keep their dream alive of another gold, after the title in 2002 and 2017.
In the women’s event, two teams that won medals in 2019 missed the semi-finals this time.
Hungary, the runners-up two years ago, did well to force Germany into their first shoot-out, but then stumbled over goalkeeper Isabel Kattner, who blocked two Hungarian attempts and allowed Lucie Kretzschmar to score the decisive point for a narrow 7:6 win.
And Netherlands, who took their first bronze last time, came back from a set down against Norway but lost the shoot-out 8:4.
The other two quarter-finals ended in straight-set wins, for Denmark over Poland and for Spain over Portugal.