Serbia won the gold medal at the European U17 Championships in Malta.
The Serbs beat Greece convincingly (10:6) in the gold-medal match this evening.
Hungary takes home the bronze medal, after defeating Spain in the third-place game, which was ended in a penalty shootout (13:12). Interestingly, the final placement of the first four teams is the same as at the Tokyo Games.
The title in Malta is the third gold medal for Serbian national teams in the last month and a half. Serbia won the Olympic gold in Tokyo (beating Greece in the final). Two weeks ago, the Serbs climbed the highest step of the podium at the World U20 Championships. The juniors ended the golden row in Malta.
This summer, Serbia didn’t win gold only at the European U15 Championships in Portugal. The Serbs were eliminated in the quarterfinals, while Hungary finished 1st in Portugal.
Montenegro defeated Croatia in the 5th-place match (14:12), while the Netherlands was better than Italy (11:9) in the game for 7th place.
Serbia – Greece 10:6 (2:0, 2:3, 3:1, 3:2)
Serbia: Pajkovic, Jaukovic, Dimitrijevic 1, Musikic 2, Kojic 1, Gajic, Bozovic 1, Urosevic, Kovacevic 1, Brescanski 3, Stanic 1, Pavlovic, Virijevic. Head coach: Korolija.
Greece: Damigos, Tourkomenis, Kandanoleon 1, Nikolaidis, Almyras, Kastranakis 1, Bitsakos 2, Ampazis 1, Myrilos, Spachits, Egnatiadis 1, Aleiftras 1. Head coach: Macheiras.
The Serbs had a 2:0 lead after five minutes of play. They played well in defense and kept the Greeks goalless until the 12th minute, when Kastrinakis converted a man-up for 1:2. That was the start of Greece’s 3:0 series. Less than a minute later, Egnatiadis leveled at 2:2. A minute and 42 seconds before the middle break Bitsakos found the net from a counter-attack, and Greeks quickly turned around a two-goal deficit to a 3:2 lead. But, Greece wasn’t in front for long. Immediately after Bitsakos’ goal, Stanic ended Serbia’s goalless phase, which lasted 10:21 minutes, while Dimitrijevic gave the Serbian team a 4:3 advantage 19 seconds before the end of the first half.
Greece leveled at 4:4 in its first possession in the third period. At the finish of this quarter, Serbia started breaking the opponent. Musikic converted a man-up for 5:4 (22nd minute). Brescanski scored two goals in the last 81 seconds of this period and the difference between the teams increased to three goals for the first time (7:4).
The Serbs opened the fourth quarter in the same way they closed the third. Just 24 seconds of the play in this quarter passed, and Serbia’s captain Bozovic hit the back of the net for 8:4. Serbia was very close to the title. Bitsakos made it 5:8 in the 27th minute, but Serbia’s center-forward replied shortly after (9:5). Four minutes and 16 seconds from the end, Almyras’ penalty shot was saved by Serbia’s goalkeeper Virijevic. In the next possession, Serbia earned a man-up, which Musikic converted to a 10:5 advantage, and that was the end of the contest. Greece couldn’t come back.
Serbia defeated Greece twice at this year’s European Junior Championships. The Serbs recorded a narrow win in the group stage (9:8).
Viktor Urosevic (Serbia) was voted the MVP of the Championships.
Serbia won three gold medals at the European Juniors as the independent state (2007, 2015, 2021), and four as a part of Yugoslavia or Serbia and Montenegro (all winners’ list at the end of the article). Greece has never been a European champion in this age category, although it played in the final three times. It won silver medals in2001, 2010, and 2021. Two years ago, at the European Junior Championships in Georgia, Greece finished 4th, while Serbia took 5th place.
Hungary- Spain 13:12 (1:2, 2:3, 3:2, 2:1, PSO 5:4)
Hungary: Nagy 3, Gaszt 3 (1 in PSO), Szepgalvi 1, Barics 1, Szecsi 1, Bede 1 (1), Meszaros 1 (1), Ionescu 1 (1), Szalai 1 (1).
Spain: Frigola 3 (1), Castro 3 (1), Perez 2, De La Cruz 1 (1), Gil 1 (1), Patchaliev 1.
Hungary was chasing Spain during all game, but it couldn’t take the lead in regular time. The Hungarians secured a draw in the 31st minute, and after that, they were better than the rival in the penalty shootout to win bronze.
Spain dictated the pace and managed to build a 2-goal difference several times (2:0, 5:3, 8:6). Hungary didn’t let Spain earn a big lead, but it didn’t have an advantage before the end of the 4th quarter. The Hungarians leveled at 2:2, 3:3, 5:5, and 6:6. In the 24th minute, Spain’s Patchaliev converted a man-up for 8:6. Early in the fourth, Perez added another goal from an extra for 8:6. But, Barics found the net for 7:8 immediately after. There were no goals for a while. Both teams strengthened their defenses. Only 69 seconds before the end, Hungary’s captain Roland Gaszt scored a great goal. He found the “hole” in Spain’s defense, and sent the ball into the net from the deep left. Both teams had chances to secure a victory in the remaining time, but the match entered the shootout.
All five players of the Hungarian team scored in the shootout. On the other end of the pool, Hungary’s goalie Gyapjas saved Lopez’s shot in the second round, and it turned out that it was crucial for the outcome.
Hungary won bronze, just like in Tbilisi two years ago, when Spain took silver, behind Italy.
Croatia – Montenegro 12:14 (4:3, 3:4, 3:2, 2:5)
Croatia: Mozara 4, Kolak 4, Cumbelic 1, Tiozzo 1, Burdjelez 1, Stojanac 1.
Montenegro: Boskovic 4, Vukicevic 4, Janovic 2, Vukicevic 1, Bastrica 1, D.Krivokapic 1, Hadzic 1.
Montenegro finished the tournament in 5th place as it played excellently in the last period of the game. The first three quarters were balanced, but Montenegro went ahead just once (7:6). Croatia had a slim advantage before the final eight minutes (10:9). After the last break, Montenegro scored three goals in three minutes and earned a 12:10 lead. Croatia’s Mozara netted for 11:12 three minutes and 15 seconds from the end. Everything was decided in the last minute and a half. Montenegro went to 14:11 with 26 seconds left. Croatia scored a consolation goal after that
Netherlands – Italy 11:9 (5:2, 2:2, 1:2, 3:3)
Netherlands:Wijgers 3, Snel 3, Ten Broek 2, Harreman 1, Voorvelt 1, Reijchard 1.
Italy: Braganti 2, Provenziani 2, Serino 2, Urbinati 1, Mancini 1, Rossi 1.
The Netherlands opened the Championships in Malta with a surprising victory over Italy on Day 1 of the group stage (8:5). Today, the Dutch beat the outgoing champion again, but the second win isn’t a surprise considering they played very well at the tournament. After a 5:2 first quarter, the Netherlands streched the margin to four in the 15th minute (7:3). By the end of the third period, the Italians halved the distance (6:8), while they cut the deficit to one goal (9:10) in the 31st minute. However, Ten Broek responded with a power-play goal for 11:9, and the Dutch secured the win.
European U18 Championships
1983 (Istanbul, Turkey): Hungary
1985 (La Valetta, Malta): USSR
1987 (Athens, Greece): Yugoslavia
1989 (Istanbul, Turkey): Hungary
1991: not held
1993 (Veenendaal, Netherlands): Hungary
1995 (Esslingen, Germany): Yugoslavia
1997 (Maribor, Slovenia): Hungary
1999 (Sofia, Bulgaria): Croatia
2001 (Hagen, Germany): Hungary
2003 (Istanbul, Turkey): Serbia and Montenegro
2005 (Sofia, Bulgaria): Serbia and Montenegro
2007 (Gzira, Malta): Serbia
European U17 Championships
2008 (Belgrade, Serbia): Hungary
2010 (Stuttgart, Germany): Italy
2011 (Rijeka, Croatia): Croatia
2013 (Gzira, Malta): Montenegro
2015 (Baku Azerbaijan): Serbia
2017 (Gzira, Malta): Montenegro
2019 (Tbilisi, Georgia): Italy
2021 (Gzira, Malta): Serbia