The opening day of the men’s competition at the 33rd European Championships in Barcelona offered a lot of goals, but there weren’t a lot of thrills. Favorites beat their respective rivals with an ease in almost all encounters. Montenegro was the only one that had a hard task. In the 1st match of Group C, Greece recorded the most convincing victory in the history of the competition and broke a 23-years-old record.
Italy stormed past Germany, thanks to an outstanding defense. The Italians ruled the field, they almost kept a clean sheet. Italy had a 14:0 advantage in the 31st minute when Reiko Zech netted Germany’s only goal for the final score (14:1). Ten of eleven Italy’s field players found a net.
Hungary needed a lot of time to secure a win against Georgia, which trailed 4:5 in the second minute of the 3rd period. In the remaining time, the game turned into a one-sided contest. The Hungarians let the Georgians just one goal until the end of the match and cruised to a 12:5 win.
The crucial match in this group will be played on Wednesday when Italy will meet Hungary.
The first match of the men’s championships saw a big battle, but a favorite didn’t let surprise.
The tournament was opened by an encounter between Montenegro and France. The Montenegrins, who won the gold in the World League a few weeks ago, had a strong start. They led 3:0 in the middle of the first period. But, the French came back and reduced the gap early in the third period (4:3). After that, rivals were in equal battle. Two minutes before the end, France came close for the last time when its captain Ugo Crouissillat netted for 6:7. Aleksandar Ivovic responded 30 seconds later and Montenegro earned a new 2-goal advantage. In the remaining time, the runner-up from the 2016 European Championships managed to keep the lead and achieved an 8:6 win. Ivovic and Crousillat were the top scorers, with three goals each.
“It’s the very much the beginning of the championships. We started off well but then missed a lot of shots. Later in the game we pulled trough. It did cost us a bit more physically from what we had expected but we remained focused till the end. – Vladimir Gojkovic, Montenegro’s head coach, said
France head coach Nenad Vukanic, who was Gojkovic’s assistant on the bench of the team od Montenegro, commented:
“We gave our best in the game. Our team went into the game wanting to play an even match for as much as we can. We aren’t just passers-by at the Europeans we want to learn and grow. The result? Well, it’s bitter sweet…I am very satisfied with the team as a whole, their approach to the match and how bravely they played.”
(Quotes source: LEN)
Spain trashed Malta in the last match of the day (21:4). Ten Spain’s players hit the target, Granados and Tahull did that 4 times.
Greece achieved the biggest win in the history of the European Championships for men, by beating Turkey 27:1. The Greeks surpassed the record which was held by the Croats for 23 years. Croatia trashed Austria in Vienna in 1995 by a 24-goals margin (26:2). The Greeks were very close to a single match scoring record, which was set at the 1991 European Championships in Athens (Spain – Great Britain 28:6). Greece had the last attack, but it didn’t score. Only seven Greece’s players made a scoresheet, the best scorer with 6 goals was captain Ioannis Fountoulis.
The record of the women’s ECH is held by the team of the Netherlands, which beat Sweden 37:1 in Oslo 1985 when ladies competed for the first time. The world record is too far. It’s probably unattainable: Yugoslavia demolished Guatemala 62:0 in the men’s competition at the 1985 Universiade in Kobe.
Croatia easily beat the Netherlands. The World champions took a flying start to jump at 4:0 in the 5th minute. They kept the advantage until halftime (7:3). After the big break, the Croats continued to dominate and posted a 15:8 win.
Title-holder and Olympic champion Serbia opened its campaign as it was expected, with a convincing win against Romania (11:5). The Romanians gave their best, but the Serbs were too strong for their neighbors. Serbia jumped to a 3:0 lead deep into the first period. By the end of the 1st half, the reigning champion built a five-goal lead for the first time (6:1). In the third and fourth quarter, Serbia slowed down but played well enough to maintain a big gap.
Russia defeated Slovakia (12:6). The Russians, led by Stepan Andryukov and Ivan Nagaev (four goals both), broke the rival in the middle of the game. They scored six unanswered goals from the 13th to the 23rd minute and jumped to a safe 9:2 lead.
European Championship for men, 1st round
Germany 1:14 Italy
(0:2, 0:4, 0:2, 1:6)
Italy: Figlioli 2, Echenique 2, Bodegas 2, Renzuto 2, Di Fulvio, Molina, Fondelli, Gallo, N. Presciutti, Bertoli.
Georgia 5:12 Hungary
(1:3, 2:2, 2:3, 0:4)
Georgia: Crepulja 2, Kavtaradze, Bitadze, Rurua.
Hungary: Batori 3, Kovacs 2, Vamos 2, Zalnaki 2, Erdelyi, Bedo, Manhercz.
1. Italy 1 – 3
2. Hungary 1 – 3
3. Georgia 1 – 0
4. Germany 1 – 0
Montenegro 8:6 France
(3:1, 1:1, 2:2, 2:2)
Montenegro: Ivovic 3, A. Radovic 2, Dj. Radovic, Spaic, Draskovic.
France:Crousillat 3, Saudadier, Bachelier, Guillaume.
Malta 4:21 Spain
(1:4, 0:5, 2:8,1:4)
Malta: S. Camilleri 2, Gabarretta, Zammit.
Spain: Granados 4, Tahull 4, Munarriz 3, Del Toro 2, Minguell 2, Perrone 2, Larumbe, Fernandez, Mallarach, Bustos.
1. Spain 1 – 3
2. Montenegro 1 – 3
3. France 1 – 0
4. Malta 1 – 0
Turkey 1:27 Greece
(1:5, 0:7, 0:6, 0:9)
Greece: Fountoulis 6, Gounas 5, Vlachopoulos 5, Dervisis 4, Argyropoulos 3, Kapotsis 3, Mourikis.
Croatia 15:8 Netherlands
(4:2, 3:1, 4:1, 4:4)
Croatia: Vukicevic 4, Vrlic 3, Jokovic 3, Fatovic 2, Loncar, Setka, Garcia.
Netherlands: Lindhout 3, Van den Burg, M. Filipovic, Muller, Janssen, Lucas.
1. Greece 1 – 3
2. Croatia 1 – 3
3. Netherlands 1 -0
4. Turkey 1 – 0
Serbia 11:5 Romania
(3:1, 3:1, 3:2, 2:1)
Serbia: Cuk 3, Pijetlovic 2, Aleksic 2, Prlainovic 2, Filipovic, Mandic.
Romania: Negrean 3, Fulea, Prioteasa.
Russia 12:6 Slovakia
(3:1, 2:1, 5:1, 2:3)
Russia: Nagaev 4, Andryukov 4, Kholod 2, Shepelev, Merkulov.
Slovakia: M. Tkac 2, Kolarik, Caraj, Durik, Zatovic.
1. Russia 1 – 3
2. Serbia 1 – 3
3. Slovakia 1 – 0
4. Romania 1 – 0