Montenegro and Croatia head into the quarterfinals of the Men’s European U15 Championships as unbeaten group winners in Division 1. Both teams had a perfect record in the group play.
Croatia, which secured 1st place in Group B yesterday, completed the group stage with an easy 12:4 victory over Turkey today. Montenegro demonstrated its power in the match against Spain and collected the points with a 10:6 win. Everything was decided after Montenegro earned a 9:3 lead in the third quarter.
In other matches of Division 1, Greece beat Serbia in a rollercoaster match (11:9), while Italy defeated Hungary by a single goal (6:5).
Besides the group winners, Italy, Spain, Greece and Serbia advanced to the semifinals. Hungary and Turkey will play in the eighth-finals.
The Netherlands and Romania are the last two teams that qualified for the playoffs in Division 2.
Tomorrow, all teams in Division 1 will have a day off. The top three teams from each group will return to the competition on Friday. Hungary and Turkey will play in Thursday’s eight-finals (crossover round). Hungary’s rival will be Malta or the Netherlands. Turkey will face the winner of the match Germany – Romania.
Pairs of the quarterfinals: (July 14): Croatia – the team from the eight-finals (Hungary, Malta, or the Netherlands), Greece – Spain, Serbia – Italy, Montenegro- the team from the eight-finals (Turkey, Germany, or Romania).
Tomorrow’s schedule is at the end of the article.
2023 Men’s European U15 Championships, Podgorica, Day 4
GROUP A, round 3
Hungary – Italy 5:6 (1:1,1:3, 2:1, 1:1)
Spain – Montenegro 6:10 (1:4, 3:3, 2:3, 1:1)
Hungary missed the chance to avoid the bottom of the table and advance directly to the quarterfinals. It narrowly lost to Italy. The second quarter was crucial. The Hungarians earned a 2:1 lead shortly after the first break, but “Settebello” produced a 3:0 run for a 4:2 lead at halftime.
As the game was approaching an end, the defenses became stronger and stronger, and that rhythm suited the Italians. Hungary leveled at 4:4 by the middle of the third period. Still, the Italians went to 6:4 in the 27th minute and didn’t let Hungary catch up with them. The team in the white caps cut the deficit to one two minutes before the end and had a man-up twice in the final minute but failed to equalize.
Montenegro needed a draw and Spain a win in the last match of the group stage to win 1st place. The Montenegrins didn’t calculate or leave the decision for the final quarter. The hosts built a 4:1 lead in the first quarter. Spain cut the deficit to 3:4, but then Montenegro started dominating. It rebuilt a 3-goal lead before halftime (6:3) and continued its series with three straight goals in the third period for a huge 9:3 advantage (20th minute). After that, the hosts killed three Spain’s extra player attacks.
The Spaniards scored two goals at the finish of the third quarter (5:9), but there was no way back.
Final standings: 1. Montenegro 9, 2. Italy 6, 3. Spain 3, 4. Hungary 0.
GROUP B, round 3
Croatia – Turkey 12:4 (4:0, 2:0, 3:2, 3:2)
Greece – Serbia 11:9 (1:5, 3:1, 4:0, 3:3)
Croatia didn’t waste energy in the match against Turkey. Playing without any pressure, the Croats downed the Turks in the first half and confirmed earlier won 1st place.
Greece beat Serbia in a crazy match with big twists and turns. Early in the second quarter, Serbia led 6:1. Then, Greece did something similar as it did in yesterday’s game against Croatia. The Greeks started returning from a big deficit. But, this time, they endured until the end and recorded the victory. Greece produced a 7:0 series to enter the final quarter leading 8:7. Serbia woke up after the last break and scored three goals in a row for a 10:8 lead. But, Greece responded in the same way, with a 3:0 run to record an 11:9 victory.
Greece finished 2nd, Serbia 3rd. But it’s questionable if 2nd place is a big advantage. Both teams will have challenging rivals in the quarterfinals. Moreover, Croatia, which deserved 1st place in this group, will have a very demanding task at the start of the knockout round as it will probably face Hungary.
Final standings: 1. Croatia 9, 2. Greece 6, 3. Serbia 3, 4. Turkey 0.
GROUP C, round 3
Malta -Lithuania 25:7 (6:1, 6:1, 5:4, 8:1)
Moldova – Bulgaria 9:9 (3:3, 2:2, 3:4, 1:0)
Final standings: 1. Malta 9, 2. Moldova 4 (+5), 3. Bulgaria 4 (-8), 4. Lithuania 0.
GROUP D, round 5
Ireland – Bosnia and Herzegovina 11:10 (1:3, 5:2, 2:4, 3:1)
France – Netherlands 9:10 (1:3, 3:3, 3:2, 2:2)
Final standings: 1. Netherlands 12, 2. Israel 9, 3. France 6, 4. Ireland 3, 5. Bosnia and Herzegovina 0.
Final standings: 1. Germany 9, 2. Georgia 6, 3. Ukraine 3, 4. Switzerland 0
GROUP F, round 3
Romania – Slovenia 35:3 (8:0, 10:1, 9:1, 8:1)
Poland – Czech Republic 19:5 (4:1, 5:3, 4:1, 6:0)
Final standings: 1. Romania 9, 2. Poland 6, 3. Slovenia 3, 4. Czech Republic 0.
Romania and the Netherlands secured their spots in the playoffs and joined Germany and Malta, which cemented 1st places in their respective groups earlier.
Romania trashed Slovenia 35:3 to confirm 1st place in Group F.
The Netherlands needed a point in the clash with France to keep the top spot in Group D. The Dutch opened the match with a 3:0 lead, and it seemed they would easily beat the French. But France was able to come back and level at 3:3 in the second quarter and, again, at 8:8 in the fourth period. Midway through the final quarter, the Dutch went to 10:8. France scored a consolation goal in the last second.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the first team that finished the tournament. It took 5th place in Group D and didn’t advance to the 17th-24th place classification. Bosnia and Herzegovina had a lead for most of the match against Ireland, but the Irish secured an 11:10 victory and 4th place with two unanswered goals in the last two minutes.
Day 5 (July 12)
17th-24th place classification, quarterfinals: Lithuania – France (09:00), Bulgaria – Ireland (10:30), Switzerland – Slovenia (12:00), Ukraine – Czech Republic (13:30).
9th-16th place classification, crossover matches Moldova – Israel (16:00), Georgia – Poland (17:30) – the winners will go to the 9th-12th place classification, the losers to the 13th-16th place classification.
Playoffs: Malta – Netherlands (19:00), Germany – Romania (20:30). The winners go to the eight-finals, the losers to the 9th-12th place classification.
The winner of the match Malta – Netherlands, will play against Hungary, and the winner of the encounter between Germany and Romania will play against Turkey. (The losing team in the eight-final matches will go to the 9th-12th place classifications).