Gold for Germany and Hungry

The EHF Beach Handball EURO 2023 was held in Nazaré, Portugal, in May. Hungary took their first title in the men’s competition, while Germany won their third women’s trophy.

The tournament saw 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams compete on the golden Portuguese sands. In the men’s competition, neither Hungary nor silver medallists Germany topped their respective preliminary round groups with both suffering losses along the way. They were drawn in the same main round group, which Hungary won ahead of Germany; but both won their quarter-final and semi-final games to set up the final.

In that last game, Hungary were strong and took a 2:0 victory over their rivals. Denmark beat hosts Portugal for bronze, again 2:0.

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In contrast, Germany were undefeated throughout the women’s competition. Spain pushed them hard in the semi-finals, forcing a shootout after winning the second set 24:16, but Germany took the shootout 7:6 to secure their spot in the gold medal match.

First-time finalists the Netherlands won three matches in the preliminary round, before slumping to third in their main round group – but they beat Norway 2:0 in the quarter-finals and Portugal 2:0 in the semi-finals to set up the final against Germany. That too went to a shootout, which Germany won 7:4.

Spain beat Portugal for bronze, leaving the hosts without a medal in either competition.

Despite their lack of medals, several Portuguese players made the tournament’s All-star Teams – men’s best defender Francisco Santos and MVP Gabriel Conceição, as well as women’s best defender Catarina Oliveira.

Germany’s Moritz Ebert and Denmark’s Ditte Folden Vind were voted best goalkeepers. Women’s top scorer María Asunción Batista Portero was also the women’s MVP, while her Spanish compatriot Domingo Jesús Luis Mosquera was the men’s top scorer.

Switzerland (men) and Hungary (women) received the tournament’s Fair Play Team awards.


Hungry and Netherlands claim gold

Hungary were the main candidates for gold in both events of the YAC 17 EHF Beach Handball EURO 2023 in Izmir, Türkiye. The men’s team lived up to that billing and defeated Spain 2:0 in the final, but the women’s team – which had not dropped a set coming into their final – lost 2:1 against Netherlands after a thrilling shootout. Bronze went to Sweden in both events.

It was a matter of ‘save the best for last’ on Sunday afternoon in Izmir as the women’s final provided the YAC 17 EHF Beach Handball EURO 2023 with a breathtaking ending. The Netherlands and Hungary shared the first two sets, leaving the decision about the gold medal to an enthralling shootout.

The first seven shooters on each side made no mistakes before the Netherlands were the first who failed to convert an attempt. However, with the title just a single point away, Hungary then suddenly missed as well. And after Esmee Stege had put the Dutch in front again, their defender Nienke Slippens blocked the next Hungarian shot by Krisztina Décsei, the MVP of the women's event, to help

Netherlands win the shootout 15:13 – and thus the European title.

The Dutch lifted the trophy for a third time, after their back-to-back triumphs in 2016 and 2017. They were the only team across both genders to win all their matches in Izmir. The Netherlands have been to at least the semi-finals in all six editions of the YAC EHF Beach handball EURO since 2016.

In the men’s final, Hungary had defeated Spain 2:0 in two close sets (21:20, 26:23), with the tournament's MVP Bulcsú Hován (18 points) and Balázs Hajdú (14) their leading scorers. Spain’s Max Tejedor Sierra also scored 14 points.

It was the third year in a row that former two-time winners Spain (2016, 2017) have lost the final – in 2021 against Sweden, in 2022 and in 2023 against Hungary.

In the women’s bronze medal match, Sweden defeated Spain 2:1; in the men’s event, Sweden beat Germany 2:0 for bronze.

Norway’s Mathilde Fjelddalen was the top scorer of the women’s competition with 112 points, edging out Lucía Martínez of Spain, who finished with 111.

Julius Mellqvist scored 42 points in Sweden’s two matches on Sunday and raised his tally for the tournament to 129, overtaking Croatia’s Simun Jerkan, who previously led the top-scorer standings and finished second with 114 points.