Hungary and Germany each secured victories on the first day of the Eon ‘Five Nations’ Cup in Budapest.
The hosts commenced the tournament, a friendly series of games preceding the European Championships next month, with a shoot-out triumph over Spain (17-15). In the late game, a spirited German side caught Serbia by surprise, defeating the heavily rotated Serbs 11-9.
Romania begins its campaign in this tournament tomorrow against Spain.
Hungary punish missed Spanish chances
Hungary needed penalties to overcome Spain after an exciting 13-13 tie in regulation time.
The well-poised spectacle at Komjadi was a tasty affair, played in front of a 3,000-strong crowd. The margins were fine, but two missed penalties in normal time, and subsequently, two missed 5m penalties in the shoot-out cost the 2022 world champions dearly.
Hat-tricks from Krisztian Manhercz, Denes Varga, and Marton Vamos did the damage up front for the Magyars, but it was the Hungarian defense that proved stronger than the Spaniards, ultimately tipping the balance in the match.
Spain’s primary shooting threat, Alvaro Granados (three goals), was closely-guarded from the get-go. Alberto Munarriz provided the fire-power from the top, but the Hungarian blocks were formidable, firm and frequent.
Hungary saw it fit to blood a few youngsters in the match but played the majority of their big hitters. Felipe Perrone and Roger Tahull watched the games from the stands, while Unai Aguirre was in the matchday squad but did not feature in the match.
Hungary 17 – 15 Spain (5-4, 3-3, 3-5, 2-1, PSO: 4-2)
Hungary: M. Levai, D. Angyal 1, K. Manhercz 3, P. Kovacs, M. Vamos 3, D. Tatrai 1, G. Zalanki 2, Ve. Vigvari 1, M. Meszaros 1, D. Varga 3, S. Jansik 2, B. Harai, V. Gyapjas
Spain: U. Aguirre, A. Munarriz, A. Granados, U. Biel, M. De Toro, M. Famera, S. Cabanas, O. Asensio, B. Mallarach, A. Bustos Sanchez, E. Lorrio
There was room for improvement defensively for the reigning World Champions and their opponents after the first eight minutes. A missed Granados penalty would have leveled the visitors after the first quarter, but Novi Beograd’s dangerous striker had to settle for a brace — as did the Magyar’s captain Szilard Jansik, who put his team 5-4 up after the first quarter.
Hungary struck an early punch in the second period, but fine efforts from Sergi Cabanas and Blai Mallarach pulled the Spaniards level at 6-6. Despite the hosts beginning to assert a bit more control, their lead tallied only a single score at halftime, courtesy of a debut international goal from BVSC’s Matyas Meszaros.
The Spaniards turned the game in their favor early in the second half, with consecutive scores (De Toro and Munarriz) giving Spain a 9-8 lead. While Hungary continuously piled on the pressure, the visitors held a one-score lead heading into the final sector of the game.
A crucial moment passed the Spaniards by early in the last quarter when Alberto Barroso could only hit the top frame of the goal from a 5-meter penalty against Marton Vamos – who was filling in for an excluded Viktor Gyapjas. The Hungarians leveled the match at 12-12, and then at 13-13, setting up a nail-biter of a final two and a half minutes.
Both sides had chances, although it was Hungary who looked more likely to make the breakthrough. Both sides called timeouts in the last minute, but with no avail. Penalties ensued.
Taking on Hungarians on penalties, in Hungary, is always a tough ask. Still, the Spaniards were really up against it when their star shooter Alvaro Granados couldn’t convert from the 5m line. Hungary scored all four of their penalties before Unai Biel fired into Marton Levai’s outstretched grasp.
Throughout the course of the Hungary match, the junior national teams (U20 men and women, U15 men and U17 women) were honored for their golden exploits over the summer.
Huge confidence boost for Germany who punish depleted but subpar Serbian outfit
A brilliant team display from Germany helped them stun a rusty-looking Serbian side to secure a historic 11-9 win in Budapest.
Despite heavy changes from the Serbs, the Germans showed excellent tenacity in defense and a maturity that frustrated a sub-par Serbian side that included the likes of Dusan Mandic, Strahinja Rasovic, and Radomir Drasovic.
Serbia led for the first quarter, but from there, they couldn’t find a foothold in the match. Germany created, and importantly, took their chances; in the end, their resolute defense held firm to keep the reigning Olympic champions out.
It is worth underlining that Serbia was without a large contingent of their ‘established’ players; Branislav Mitrovic, Sava Randjelovic, Nikola Jaksic, Djordje Lazic, and Djorde Vucinic were all unavailable for selection with injury, while Viktor Rasovic, Nemanja Ubovicic, Nikola Lukic, and Marko Radulovic were all rested, watching the game from Komjadi’s wooden stands. Even so, the performance level was well below what would be expected of this team.
Germany deserves a lot of credit for their defending and showed promise with some well-taken attacking moves. Their keeper, Felix Benke, was pivotal, while Zoran Bozic and Denis Strelezkij scored crucial goals.
Serbia 9 – 11 Germany (3-2, 1-4, 4-2, 1-3)
Serbia: R. Filipovic, D. Mandic 3, S. Rasovic, L. Pljevancic 1, B. Gavrilovic 1, L. Gladovic, R. Drasovic 1, V. Martinovic 1, N. Vico 1, M. Dimitrijevic, P. Jaksic, M. Radovic 1, V. Misovic.
Germany: F. Benke, Z. Bozic 2, F. Korbel, S. Seifert, F. Schutze 2, L. Kuppers 1, D. Strelezkij 3, Y. Chiru 1, A. Sekulic, P. Dolff 1, N. Schipper 1, M. Gansen, K. Gotz.
Serbia led 3-2 after eight minutes but couldn’t shake a strong resistance from the Germans in the second period. Serbia’s young Luka Gladovic extended their lead to two within their first attack in the second quarter (4-2), but from there, it was all about Germany – who found four consecutive goals (Schipper, Schutze & Bozic 2), resulting in a two-goal lead at half-time.
Serbia certainly upped the tempo in the second half, but Germany, spurred on by a brilliant Felix Benke penalty save, kept the Serbs at arm’s length (8-6).
Uros Stevanovic’s side chipped away at the German lead, with Mandic and Martinovic both netting crucial scores to level the game at the end of the third. Serbia re-took the lead for the first time in 15 minutes in the match via Drasovic’s well-taken penalty early in the fourth, but the Germans stayed alive and hit a quick double (Strelezkij and Schutze) to retake the lead with four minutes left in the contest.
Germany then found themselves on the brink of a historic result, as Yannek Chiru carefully tucked the ball past Radoslav Filipovic in the Serbia goal to give the Germans a two-score lead with two minutes on the clock (11-9). The Serbs pushed hard, searching for the goals they needed, but the German wall held firm and thrust the Germans to a confidence-boosting victory over the reigning Olympic Champions
Eon Cup Schedule
Tuesday 19th December
09:30 – Serbia vs Romania
17:30 – Hungary vs Romania
19:00 – Spain vs Germany
Wednesday 20th December
18:30 – Spain vs Romania
20:00 – Hungary vs Serbia
Thurday 21st December
09:30 – Romania vs Germany
17:30 – Serbia vs Romania
19:00 – Hungary vs Germany