Gold and Olympic 'Hispanics'

The Spanish handball team tomb 22-20 to Croatia to revalidate its continental crown and get the ticket to Tokyo

MADRID, Jan. 26 (SportsFinding) –

The Spanish men's handball team has revalidated its title of European champion after beating in the final this Sunday at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm to Croatia (22-20), a result that gives them their second continental crown and gives them the direct ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The tight marker of the last minutes was elucidated when Aleix Gómez, from seven meters and in the absence of just over a minute, undid the tie so that Alex Dujshebaev, after a Stepancic throwing error and as he did against Slovenia, resolved with a powerful shot that reminded his father Talant.

In this way, the 'Hispanics' revalidate the title they won two years ago in Zagreb and hang their eighth European medal, with the added prize of guaranteeing their presence this summer in Tokyo without having to play the Pre-Olympic, taking off the 'spine' who had been left out of the previous Games despite being months before European champions.

With a Croatian majority in the stands of Stockholm's Tele2 Arena, those of Lino Cervar jumped to the court spurred and without accusing the fatigue of the hard semifinals against Norway. A great counterattack went up the 0-2 to the scoreboard after Raul Entrerríos, who played his 60th Europa game – a figure only surpassed by Nikola Karabatic – crashed a ball in the post.

And it is that the Balkan team knew how to read Spanish 5: 1 very well, pausing the game and replicating back with the same system and with Domagoj Duvnjak advanced. The central Kiel, 'MVP' of the tournament and natural successor of the mythical Ivano Balic, put in great trouble the Spanish defense and, above all, Rodrigo Corrales, who won the game in his three seven-meter throws in the first quarter of an hour.

It was from the fateful point from where Duvnjak returned to his team the advantage of two so that in the next play Maric achieved the maximum income of the match (7-10), a circumstance that caused the dead time of Jordi Ribera.

Spain then went down to 6: 0, gave way to Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas in goal and the results were not long in coming. With the new system they managed to manage the Croatian attack so that Jorge Maqueda, in two cons after stops by goalkeeper Toledo, cut the distance (9-10).

The tie came from the hand of Dani Sarmiento, who shortly afterwards saw how Sego avoided, with his face, that the 'Hispanics' would get ahead. It had to be the solvency of Pérez de Vargas – who finished the first half with 6 stops and a 75% effectiveness – that returned the Spain initiative, stopping a seven meters that led to Cañellas on 11-10. With that income of a goal, the intermediate was reached (12-11).


Stepancic unleashed hostilities around the locker room to restore the equalizer, but defensive intensity gave way to the best minutes of the Spanish team. Two recoveries with two goals from Aleix Gómez behind the empty door gave wings to the team, which found maximum advantage with Cañellas's second goal (16-12).

However, a blackout of more than eight minutes, in which those of Ribera were not able to score, allowed Croatia to catch its breath. Determined to enter the center, the losses weighed the 'Hispanics', who only re-entered the game when Alex Dujshebaev broke the drought.

Duvnjak dismantled the Spanish defense to put the tie (18-18), and Stepancic managed to turn the light (18-19), the beginning of the last seven frantic minutes in which Aleix Gómez and Sarmiento scored before Brozovic signed the 20-20

Two minutes were ahead, and Spain did not lose its cool. He looked patiently for his moment and found a prize with a seven meters that the Catalan right wing materialized in the absence of a minute. A foul in rival attack put the gold close, sentenced when with only 25 seconds left when the oldest of the Dujshebaev lodged a whip at the bottom of the tights to confirm the title and the ticket to Tokyo, where the 'Hispanics' will try to Get your first Olympic gold.


– RESULT: SPAIN, 22 – CROATIA, 20 (12-11, at rest).


SPAIN: Corrales (p); Goñi (1), Morros, Gómez (5, 3 pen.), Entrerríos (3), A.Dujshebaev (1) and Solé (1) – initial seven–; Pérez de Vargas (p), Maqueda (3), Fernández (1), Sarmiento (2), Aginagalde (2), Figueras (1), Cañellas (2), Ariño and Guardiola.

CROATIA: Sego (p); Musa, Horvat (2, 1 pen.), Mandic (1), Maric (3), Karacic (4) and Stepancic (3) – initial seven–; Asanin (p), Duvnjak (5, 3 pen.), Hrstic, Sarac, Mamic (1), Cindric, Brozovic (1), Matanovic and Sipic.

– PARTIALS EVERY 5 MINUTES: 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, 8-10, 10-10, 12-11 – rest–; 14-12, 16-14, 17-15, 18-18, 19-19 and 22-20 –final–.

– ARBITRATORS: Nikolov and Nachevski (MKD). They excluded two minutes from Dani Sarmiento and Entrerríos from Spain and Horvat and Karacic from Croatia.

– PAVILION: Tele2 Arena in Stockholm.