The title of the European U15 champion for boys stays in Hungary.
The Hungarian national team defeated Montenegro 10:8 in the final of the 3rd edition of the U15 Europeans in Podgorica and repeated the successes achieved by the older generations. Hungary won the gold medal in the first two editions of the European championships for the youngest age group, held in 2019 and 2021.
Hungary adapted the best to the new competition formula. The Hungarians finished the competition in Group A at the bottom of the table, with no points. But, they found their rhythm and improved their play until the second half of the tournament and the knockout matches. They played better as the end of the Championships approached.
On the other hand, Montenegro had remained unbeaten until the final, but they couldn’t maintain their momentum in the crucial match.
Greece won the bronze medal. The Greeks beat Serbia in the 3rd-place match after a penalty shootout (14:12). This time, luck in a penalty shootout was on the Greeks’ side (yesterday, the penalty shots decided the winner in the semifinal Montenegro – Greece).
Spain finished in 5th, Italy in 6th, Croatia in 7th, Turkey in 8th place, etc.
All medal winners
2019 (Burgas): 1. Hungary, 2. Montenegro, 3. Italy
2021 (Loule): 1. Hungary, 2. Spain, 3. Greece
2023 (Podgorica): 1. Hungary, 2. Montenegro, 3. Greece
2023 Men’s European U15 Championships, Podgorica, Day 9
Montenegro – Hungary 8:10 (2:3, 2:2, 2:2, 2:3)
The final was played in front of the packed stands. The hosts had great support, but Hungary had many fans. Parents, cousins, brothers, sisters, etc, arrived in Podgorica to cheer for the kids from Hungary. After all, almost all teams were supported by groups of fans (mostly composed of family members) throughout the tournament.
The home atmosphere didn’t help Montenegro beat Hungary for the second time in the tournament. The hosts opened the tournament with an 11:8 win in the group stage over the Hungarians.
Today, Hungary controlled the result. Montenegro was never in front. It managed to equalize twice (1:1 and 4:4). After the hosts’ 4th goal, the Hungarians produced a 3:0 rush, which proved crucial for the outcome.Pinter closed the first half with a power-play goal for 5:4. The same player doubled the Hungarians’ advantage shortly after halftime. In the 21st minute, Jambor (the best scorer with three goals) made it 7:4. Montenegro was without a goal for almost ten minutes. But, the hosts scored two back-to-back goals after a long silence and trailed 6:7 before the final eight minutes.
Hungary rebuilt a 3-goal lead in the final quarter (9:6 and 10:7) and didn’t let the match enter a thrilling finish.
Bronze medal game
Greece – Serbia 14:13 (2:2, 2:3, 4:1, 1:3, PSO 5:4)
In a rollercoaster game six days prior, Greece emerged victorious over Serbia despite initially trailing 1:6, winning 11:9. Today’s game was much closer. More than one goal separated the rivals for only two minutes.
Serbia held a narrow lead in the first half, but Greece managed to level the score at 5:5 in the third period. Although Serbia briefly regained the lead, Greece went on a 3:0 run and secured an 8:6 advantage inthe 24th minute. The two teams remained tightly matched, and Serbia managed to equalize at 8:8 with two quick goals in the fourth period. Rahpeyma gave Serbia a 9:8 lead from a rebound with two and a half minutes remaining, but Chatzis equalized immediately from a man-up situation. In the last 73 seconds, Serbia had two 6 on 5 opportunities but failed to score, leading to a penalty shootout. After six series of shots, Greece emerged victorious after only missing one shot, while Serbia missed twice and left without a medal.
Spain – Italy 8:7 (1:1, 4:3, 1:2, 2:1)
Spain took revenge for an 8:9 loss to Italy on the opening day and finished in 5th place. The first half of the game had some twists and turns. Italy took a 4:3 lead in the 13th minute, but Spain kept them from scoring for the next ten minutes. During that time, Spain scored three goals and went ahead by two goals for the first time in the game, making it 6:4. Italy managed to level the score at 6:6 with two goals in the last two minutes of the third period.
However, Spain’s Marc Combella scored two goals in 56 seconds, giving his team a 2-goal lead (8:6) with 04:17 minutes left on the clock. This proved to be a turning point in the game, as Italy’s seventh goal came too late, in the 32nd minute.
Turkey – Croatia 0:12 (0:2, 0:2, 0:5, 0:3)
Croatia, which opened the tournament excellently, had to settle for 7th place. The Croats found enough motivation to prove a big difference in quality between them and the Turks.
Classification matches, 9th – 16th place
For 9th place: Germany – Malta 11:6 (3:1, 3:1, 3:3, 2:1)
For 11th place: Netherlands – Romania 8:14 (2:4,2:2, 1:2, 3:6)
For 13th place: Georgia – Israel 14:12 (4:1, 0:1, 3:5, 3:3, PSO 4:2)
For 15th place:Poland – Moldova 12:6 (2:1, 2:1, 3:2, 5:2)
Germany took 9th place thanks to an excellent first half in the game against Malta. The Germans earned a 6:1 lead (the 14th minute). From that point on, the difference was never smaller than three goals.
Romania’s Marc-Nicolas Angelescu (pictured down) saved enough energy for the last day of an exhausting tournament. He led Romania scoring nine goals (three from the penalty line) to a 14:8 victory over the Netherlands in the 11th-place game. Romania was always in front. The Dutch came close several times (1:2, 3:4, 4:5, 5:6), but couldn’t avoid a big defeat.
The encounter between Georgia and Israel was the most exciting in today’s morning session, even though the beginning didn’t indicate that the game could have a thrilling ending. Georgia had a 4:1 lead at the first break. But, Israel was able to come back and to go ahead (7:6). Georgia regained the lead (8:7), but Israel leveled at 8:8, 9:9 and 10:10 in the final quarter. The last equalizer came just five seconds before the end. The Georgians had stronger nerves in the shootout.
Moldova scored an opening goal in the 15th-place match, but Poland responded with four and earned a 4:1 lead, which set the tone of the game. Moldova cut the deficit to one early in the third period (3:4). That was followed by Poland’s 3:0 series for a safe 7:3 advantage in the middle of the third quarter.
22. Czech Republic
25. Bosnia and Herzegovina