Hungary, Romania and Israel win Men's 18 EHF ChampionshipsArticle
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REVIEW: The first Men's 18 EHF Championships have come to an end with Hungary, Romania and Israel securing the first places and a promotion to the Men's 20 EHF EURO

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Hungary, Romania and Israel win Men's 18 EHF Championships

Hungary, Romania and Israel are the three winners of the first Men's 18 EHF Championships that were played in Bulgaria, Georgia and Lithuania over the past week.

Their respective final victory on Sunday not only gained the three nations a winners' cup but also promotion to the top 16 European under 20 teams which will take to the court in two years' time at the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2018.

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

It meant that at the end of the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016 the three lowest ranked teams (Switzerland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) are downgraded to the Men's 20 EHF Championships 2018, while the three winners of the Men's 18 EHF Championships are promoted to the Men's 20 EHF EURO 2018.

At the Bulgaria Championship, Hungary met Turkey in the final and made clear right from the start that this game was theirs to take. Almost every Hungarian attack found the back of the net, and at half-time they already led 20:14.

Turkey never got close again and Bulgaria eventually celebrated a 36:28 victory. Faroe Islands came third with a 33:32 win after penalties against Finland.

"The feeling is great. We came first in the tournament and achieved our goal. I congratulate my teammates for today’s game. I think we deserved to win and take the gold medal," said Hungary's centre back Uros Borzas.

Romania win on the buzzer

The final in Tbilisi, Georgia between Romania and Belarus was a much a tighter affair. Only one goal separated the two teams in the end, with Romania celebrating a 26:25 win. Romania's top scorer of the game, Calin Cabut (nine goals), scored with the decisive penalty two seconds before the buzzer.

The incredible amount of 81 goals was scored in the match for third place in which Bosnia-Herzegovina beat Montenegro 48:33.

Also just one goal separated Israel and Italy at the EHF Championship in Lithuania. Italy's Nicolo D'Antino scored 11 goals on his own, but 13 of the 16 Israeli players put their name on score sheet and eventually that was enough for a 26:25 win.

Austria came third with a 33:23 win against the Netherlands.

All-star teams named

At all three tournaments the respective All-star teams were named after the final.

All-star team Men's 18 EHF Championship Bulgaria

  • Goalkeeper: Huseyin Bereket (Turkey)
  • Left wing: Dimitar Dimitrioski (FYR Macedonia)
  • Left back: Doruk Pehlivan (Turkey)
  • Centre back: Uros Borzas (Hungary)
  • Line player: Ivan Burzak (Ukraine)
  • Right back: Georgi Atanasov (Bulgaria)
  • Right wing: Kevin Rozner (Hungary)
  • Top scorer: Dimitar Dimitrioski (FYR Macedonia) – 49 goals
  • Best defender: Brandur Halgirsson (Faroe Islands)
  • MVP: Benjamin Helander (Finland)

All-star team Men's 18 EHF Championship Georgia

  • Goalkeeper: Ante Grbavac (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
  • Left wing: Valentin Iulian Micu (Romania)
  • Left back: Petar Abramovic (Montenegro)
  • Centre back: Iosif Andrei Buzle (Romania)
  • Line player: Martins Stepulenoks-Stukanovs (Latvia)
  • Right back: Branko Vujovic (Montenegro)
  • Right wing: Mikalai Aliokhin (Belarus) 
  • Best defender: George Mikava (Georgia)
  • Top scorer: Raivis Gorbunovs (Latvia) - 38 goals
  • MVP: Valiantsin Kuran (Belarus)

All-star team Men's 18 EHF Championship Lithuania

  • Goalkeeper: Yahav Shamir (Israel)
  • Left wing: Stefano Arcieri (Italy)
  • Left back: Adir Cohen (Israel)
  • Centre back: Dani Baijens (Netherlands)
  • Line player: Panos Karampourniotis (Greece)
  • Right back: Roman Dodica (Moldova)
  • Right wing: Felix Fuchs (Austria)
  • Top scorer Sander Sarapuu (Estonia) - 45 goals
  • Best defender: Jeroen Roefs (Netherlands)
  • MVP: Dani Baijens (Netherlands)

TEXT: EHF / ts