Penalty dramas mark Men's 18 EHF Championships Semi-finalsArticle
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REVIEW: The finalists are known at the Men's 18 EHF Championships in Bulgaria, Georgia and Lithuania and there was no shortage of drama in the semis as three of them were only decided after penalties

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Penalty dramas mark Men's 18 EHF Championships Semi-finals

Back on Monday this week, 27 teams embarked on a journey to glory at the first Men's 18 EHF Championships, played in Bulgaria, Georgia and Lithuania.

The prize at stake is a promotion to the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2018 for the respective first ranked team and after the vast majority of matches has been played, the finals are known and six teams are still in the race to claim it.

At the Bulgaria event the group phase came to an end on Saturday. After Turkey had already qualified on Friday for the final as the winners of Group B, they confirmed their top spot with their fourth consecutive win at this tournament, beating Finland 29:23.

In Group A Hungary faced FYR Macedonia in a decisive game in which Hungary needed a win to occupy the group's top spot, while a draw was enough for FYR Macedonia. However, they did not even come close to it, as Hungary won 37:22 to face Turkey in Sunday's final.

In Georgia and Lithuania Saturday was the day of the semi-finals. Romania and Montenegro were the first to meet in Georgia, and Romania played a confident game right from the start, eventually winning 34:21.

Penalties then decided the second semi-final between Belarus and Bosnia-Herzegovina. After 60 minutes of play the score stood at 31:31 and because there is no extra time on the EHF Championship level, the match went straight to penalties. The Bosnian team failed two convert twice and Belarus reached the final with a 35:34 win.

Penalties were even more of an occurence at the Lithuania Championship as both semi-finals were only decided after 60 minutes had been played.

The score stood at 27:27 at the buzzer between the Netherlands and Israel. The Dutch squad failed to convert their second penalty attempt and when they also missed the fourth, Israel had won 31:29.

In the final on Sunday Israel will face Italy who beat Austria 27:26. After 60 minutes this semi-final stood at 23:23. Both teams missed their respective second penalty, but Austria also failed to convert their last attempt while Italy scored to win.

Live streams and live ticker

All finals will take place on Sunday. Matches from all three tournaments are streamed live. The streams can be accessed via the respective official website for each event.

The EHF live ticker is also available for these matches.

For the European Handball Federation the Men's 18 EHF EURO in Croatia and the three Championships are the first tournaments that are played since a new system for the younger age categories was introduced.

This means that at the end of the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016 the three lowest ranked teams will be downgraded to the Men's 20 EHF Championships 2018, while the three winners of the Men's 18 EHF Championships will be promoted to the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2018.

TEXT: EHF / ts