The IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball World Championships wrapped in the capital city of Tatarstan. The Greece women’s team and the Brazil men’s team became the winners. If the victory of the Brazilians is expected, the Greek players made a miracle. The debutants of the championships won the tournament.The final competition day started with the men’s consolation round. New Zealand lost all their matches. They lost to Paraguay in the match for the 15th place and finished last in the tally. Australia got the upper hand over Vietnam and was placed 13th. Team Argentina could beat the USA by one point only in the shootout in the competition for the 11th place. The two Asian squads, Qatar and Oman, met to struggle for the 9th position. The players from Qatar were more precise and celebrated a win in their final match in Kazan. Teams Denmark and Iran played for the 7th place, the Europeans being stronger. Lastly, the Russians challenged the Spanish for the 5th place to be qualified for the World Games 2019 in the USA. Spain looked better, so they deserved the fifth place of the Kazan tournament, Team Russia occupying the sixth position of the tally. On July 29, the women’s tournament began with Thailand vs Australia to define the 15th place, the Asian side being luckier. Chinese Taipei played against the USA for the 13th place of the tournament. The Americans lost to the opponent and became 14th. The French competed against the Mexicans for the 11th place and as a result defeated the team from North America. The 9th place was taken by fast and proficient Vietnam whitewashing their rival, Team Uruguay. Team Russia played in the match for the 7th place and beat the national side from Paraguay with the score 2-0. The Danes faced the Polish to take the fifth place, but managed to do it only in the shootout.
The major matches of the day were held in the evening session. The women’s encounter Brazil vs Spain was a battle for bronze. Two years ago these teams fought for gold of the world championships in Hungary, but met in Kazan in the semifinal. The Brazilians lost to Norway, and the current world champions, Spain, were defeated by Greece, the debutants of the tournament. Maria Sanchez Hernandez got injured during the first minutes of the consolation match. The left winger of Team Spain had to leave the field of play. By the middle of the first half the score was 6-6, but the Brazilians played more calmly and confidently further on. This was enough to win in the first half with the score 14-10. The period the Spanish lost made them rush around after the break and as a result make a lot of mistakes. By the middle of the second set the Brazilians’ advantage made five points. In addition, the South Americans did not give the rival free space in the goal line, closing the door on points. Likely, the Spanish realised pretty well that it was practically impossible to earn 10 points one minute before the final buzzer. Brazil came out victorious and took the bronze medals in Kazan, Spain finished fourth.
In the men’s match for the bronze medals met Team Sweden and Team Hungary. The Scandinavian squad came to participate in the World Championships for the first time. They played without a hitch in the group and main rounds, but were defeated by Brazil in the semifinal. The Hungarians finished fourth in their domestic World Championships two years ago. In Russia they gained a chance to improve their result. In the quarterfinal they beat the host team, in the semifinal they lost to the reigning world champions, Croatia. The Hungarian team took the lead in the beginning thanks to their goalkeeper’s saves. They had a 6-point lead one minute ahead of the half. There is no way in beach handball to get them back. The Hungarians confidently won the set. The Swedes had a five-minute break to correct their tactics so that they led with a six-point difference by the middle of the second period. Hungary managed to catch up with the rival and take a leading position one minute before the final buzzer. The Swedes scored a two-point goal – Team Hungary had six seconds to answer. The specialist’s shot was a winner, and the Swedish powerhouse took the fourth place of their inaugural World Championships.
No one expected to see the debutants in the women’s final. No one put money down on Norway, either, despite their European title and the bronze medals of the previous World Championships. The Greek started the final more actively, but the Norwegians caught up with them and evened the score. This did not distract the bold debutants at all. They played excellently in defence, realised some shots and took the first half. The Norwegian players were not going to give up and started to lead by the middle of the second half. The Scandinavian players could keep the advantage till the end of the second period, so the shootout determined the gold medallists. It should be mentioned that the Greek beach handball players are experienced in this aspect. They defeated Spain in the semifinal and Russia in the quarterfinal by the shootout. Two saves were provided by Magdalini Kepesidou and one more goal was saved by Ntafina Dimitri. So the debutants of the World Championships became the winners of the Championships in Kazan.The men’s encounter of Croatia and Brazil was a true treat. These opponents met in the final match for the third time in a row. Four years ago the host team came out victorious in Recife, Brazil. The Croats won in the last World Championships in Budapest. Usually nuances decide the winner among such top teams. A couple of catches at the start enabled the Europeans to pull away. The South Americans ignored this fact and tied the score before the buzzer. João Paulo Souza’s shot secured a win in the first half. The second period was played to the similar scenario. Croatia was leading, Brazil was catching up. As a result, Brazil enjoyed the two-point lead two minutes before the end. The Croats urgently needed to tie the match. They did it, but then the South Americans had eight seconds more to score and the title is in the bag. They failed to do it during the match time, but did it with a golden goal. It was Souza who saved Team Brazil. The Brazil national team became world champions in beach handball for the fifth time. Now they can be named Pentacampeão following in the footsteps of their national football team.
Media and Communications Department of Directorate for Sports and Social Projects