Hungary won the gold medal at the 2nd Men’s European U15 Championships, finished in Loule (Portugal), after beating Spain 10:5 in the final game.
This is the second title for the Hungarians in this competition. Two years older Hungarian boys triumphed at the first-ever Men’s European U15 Championship, held in Burgas in 2019.
Hungarian water polo dominated in this age group this year. Last week, Hungary finished 1st at the Women’s U15 European Championship in Szentes.
Greece won the bronze medal, with an 11:7 victory over Croatia.
Final standings: 1.Hungary, 2.Spain, 3.Greece, 4.Croatia, 5.Russia, 6.Italy, 7.Serbia, 8.Turkey, 9.Montenegro, 10.Romania, 11.Poland, 12.Portugal, 13.Malta, 14.France, 15.Georgia.
Results of the group stage – here
Results of the playoffs and the quarterfinals – here
Hungary got off to a flying start in the first semifinal against Greece, gained a 4:0 lead, and had a 7:3 advantage in the 16th minute. However, Greece was able to come back and cut the deficit with three quick goals. In the 17th minute, the Greeks trailed 6:7. Hungary rebuilt a 4-goal lead (10:6), but the Greeks managed to produce a new comeback. In the 30th minute, they were just a goal behind the Hungarians (10:11). Shortly after, the Hungarians earned a 12:10 advantage and kept a 2-goal distance until the end.
Spain defeated Croatia. At halftime, the Spaniards led 5:3. They opened the third period with three straight goals for 8:3 and that proved crucial for their win. From that point on, the difference was never smaller than two goals (10:8)
Hungary – Greece 12:10 (4:0, 3:5, 3:2, 2:3)
Spain – Croatia 10:8 (3:1, 2:2, 4:2, 1:3)
Semifinals 5th – 8th
Turkey – Italy 11:12 (2:1, 2:2, 0:1, 2:2, PSO 5:6)
Serbia – Russia 6:7 (0:3, 1:1, 4:1, 1:2)
The final match, Hungary – Spain, lacked excitement. The first quarter was balanced. Hungary took a 1:0 lead, Spain went in front just once (2:1). After eight minutes of play, the sides were tied at 3:3. Hungary broke the Spaniards in the middle two periods. In the second quarter, Hungary earned a 4-goal lead (7:3). The Spaniards managed to narrow the margin (4:7). In the middle of the third period, Hungary built a big 5-goal lead (9:4) and maintained the difference until the end (10:5).
Greece defeated Croatia 11:7 in the bronze-medal game. Both sides netted four goals apiece in the first eight minutes, while Croatia opened the second quarter with a goal for 4:2, but the Greeks took control midway through this quarter and entered the second half with a 6:5 advantage. They kept the Croats scoreless in the third period, earned an 8:5 advantage before the final eight minutes and Croatia couldn’t come back.
Hungary – Spain 10:5 (3:3, 4:1, 2:0, 1:1)
Greece – Croatia 11:7 (3:3, 3:2, 2:0, 3:2)
Italy – Russia 8:10 (0:1, 1:1, 4:4, 3:4)
Turkey – Serbia 5:11 (0:4, 1:2, 2:1, 2:4)
Montenegro – Romania 12:7 (4:1, 2:2, 3:2, 3:2)
Poland – Portugal 21:5 (2:1, 7:0, 7:4, 5:0)
France – Malta 8:10 (1:2, 2:4, 3:1, 2:3)