The 2024 Women’s European Championships are underway, with nail-biting first and last games sandwiching a largely unexciting opening day of action.
In the closing match of the day, Greece thwarted Hungary in a tense goal-for-goal duel (14-12) in Group A, while the tournament opener saw Czechia secure a last-gasp victory over Romania (13-12). In between, there were victories for the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, and Serbia.
2024 European Women’s Championships, Day 1
In the match of the day, silver medalists from 2022, Greece, edged out Hungary 14-12 in a nail-biter in Group A.
Before the game, the match promised to be a cracker, with both teams incredibly evenly matched. It didn’t disappoint.
In a match of fine margins, the lead changed multiple times, with both teams momentarily taking the initiative. However, a brilliant last quarter from Greece saw them gain a two-score lead which Hungary couldn’t break into.
Athina Giannopoulou (Vouliagmeni) played the match of her life, scoring four and setting up three. Left-handed center-forward, Eleni Xenaki, netted twice, alongside captain Margarita Plevritou and their Olympiacos teammate Nikoleta Elfetheriadou.
While Hungary had some excellent individual performers (Garda and Leimeter), they never looked in control of the game and were left frustrated by the better team on the day.
Hungary now needs to bounce back quickly as they face the World Champions, the Netherlands, tomorrow. Greece will position themselves very well indeed if they can beat Croatia tomorrow, as expected.
The Netherlands enjoyed the perfect start to their home Euros with a comprehensive 24-6 victory over Croatia.
Croatia was simply helpless in dealing with the Dutch attacking firepower, as the hosts barely missed a chance that came their way. Lieke Rogge and Maartje Keuning led the Orange attack with four goals each, but goals from every outfield player underline the point that it was a dominant team performance. Needless to say, the Netherlands will face much stiffer opponents tomorrow when they square up against Hungary.
There wasn’t much excitement in Group B, with both Spain and Italy showing the gulf in class between them and their respective ‘lower tiered’ opponents France and Israel.
The reigning champions, Spain, completely outplayed the French. In each quarter, the Spaniards relentlessly strung together a series of triple scores that left the French with no chance of gaining any sort of foothold in the match. What’s more, Miki Oca relished the opportunity to give his roster valuable minutes, setting them up well for the remainder of the tournament. Paula Crespi netted three goals; Bea Ortiz, Elena Ruiz, Isabel Piralkova, Judith Forca, and Paula Leiton were all double-scorers.
Israel proved no match for Italy in the first of the Division 1 matches in Eindhoven, with the Setterosa waltzing to a 20-11 victory.
While Carlo Silipo had to serve a one-match ban for the red card he received in Italy’s bronze medal match in Split, he must have been impressed with how his side started the game, taking a lead in the first period (6-2). Four consecutive scores in the second overwhelmed the Israelis, but it was Italy’s powerplay conversion (70%) that ruthlessly dispatched Israel. A dominant Valeria Palmieri finished the game with four goals to her name, while Domitilla Picozzi and Claudia Marletta chipped in with hat-tricks.
Czechia and Serbia opened the tournament in Eindhoven with victories in contrasting style. While Serbia’s win over Turkiye ultimately proved straightforward, Czechia needed a very late goal to secure the points over Romania.
A last-gasp score from Barbora Kilianova helped Czechia begin their first Euro campaign for 27 years with a narrow victory over Romania. Kilianova found the back of the net with just five seconds remaining on the clock to deal Romania a devastating defeat. The Czechs didn’t have everything their own way for most of the match, trailing by three scores in the third period. Nevertheless, the Czechs held on, and despite the lead bouncing back and forth, it was the Czech Republic that held on for vital points in Group C. Czechia’s 18-year-old Josefina Hola netted four goals, with Nikola Busauerova finding a hat-trick.
Serbia’s quest to top Group C got off to a confident start with a 13-6 win over Turkey. A dominant third period (5-0) put the result beyond doubt. Serbia and Rapallo’s young star Ana Milicevic showed great leadership and quality, bagging five in the match.
The two favorites to top Group D, Great Britain and Germany, both cruised to securing three points in the morning session in Eindhoven.
Team GB, after a decade hiatus in the competition, defeated Slovakia 12-7. Hot off the mark, GB took a 4-0 lead (5-1 after the first quarter) and proceeded to keep a defensive clean sheet in the second period, controlling the remainder of the match with relative comfort. Great Britain’s captain, Kathy Rogers (CN Catalunya), led the way for the Brits with a hat-trick.
Germany barely broke a sweat against tournament newbies Bulgaria, winning by a margin of twenty goals (29-9). The Germans deserve credit for their scoring rate (73%), but conceded a concerning nine goals to their far inferior opponents. German skipper, Belen Vosseberg (Catalunya), bulked up her stats with six scores; Gesa Deike (Spandau) and Aylin Fry (Lille) both notched five goals apiece
More articles about the European Championships