France claim gold at Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016Article
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REVIEW:France have won the Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016 with a 40:38 win against tournament hosts Croatia. Third place went to Germany who beat Slovenia 32:31 after double extra time

»EHF Euro Events Channel »2016 Men's News

France claim gold at Men's 18 EHF EURO 2016

On the day when Denmark ended France's eight-year long Olympic reign with the 28:26 win in the gold medal match at the Rio Olympics, the French Handball Federation might find small consolation in the fact that their supply of talented players will not dry out.

A couple of hours before the Olympic final, the French under 18 team won the Men's 18 EHF EURO with a 40:38 against tournament hosts Croatia. Just like in Rio, bronze went to Germany who beat Slovenia 32:31 after double extra time.

Another important decision was already made on Saturday when Switzerland lost the match for 13th place 35:27 against Poland and became the third team besides Czech Republic and Slovakia to get relegated to the Men's 20 EHF Championships 2018.

"We have a good group, not only six or seven, but we have 16 players. We rotated a lot and we came to this match fresh enough. I’m happy because this was a good handball match, good for fans and for the players to mature; so everything is positive," said France's coach Eric Quintin after the final.

After Croatia had led 19:18 at the break, the tournament hosts also dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half. A series of first four and then three unanswered goals - with two consecutive French goals in between - granted them a 26:20 lead and everything seemed going their way.

However, France immediately stepped up their game, and between the 41st and the 50th minute they scored 10 times while Croatia only netted once - and suddenly France led 31:28. They even extended this lead to 40:35 with one minute left, making the three consecutive goals Croatia scored in the final 60 seconds simply come to late.

"This team is incredible! We were losing  by six goals, we came back and won with two. Incredible!” said France's Gael Tribillon.

All-stars on extra shift

Earlier on Sunday Germany and Slovenia had to put in extra shifts as the match for third place went to double extra time.

The score had stood at 22:22 after 60 minutes and at 26:26 after 70 minutes of play, before Germany turned the game in their favour in the second extra time period.

“These were the hardest 80 minutes I ever played. We survived and in the end had a lucky punch. The second extra time was good. We are just happy and enjoying this final win against Slovenia. We are celebrating and going crazy right now," said Germany's Gregor Remke.

With goalkeeper Till Klimpke and left back Sebastian Heymann, two Germans made it into the All-star team. Slovenia's Miha Kavcic earned the best defender award.

From France right wing Benjamin Richert and Kyllian Villeminot as MVP made the cut. Croatia sent line player Adrian Milicevic and right back Ivan Martinovic to the All-stars.

Serbia's Stefan Sunajko became best left wing and Spain's Ian Tarrafeta Serrano became best centre back and also the tournament's top scorer with 58 goals.

TEXT: EHF / ts