FINAL REVIEW: The gold medal of the Women's Youth World Championship has gone to Russia again following a 29:27 victory over Hungary in Sunday's final
Russia win record third women’s under-18 world title
The women’s under-18 world title belongs to Russia - once again.
The team from coach Liubov Sidoricheva won the Women’s Youth IHF World Championship 2018 in Kielce, Poland, after defeating unheralded Hungary 29:27 (15:12) in the final on Sunday evening.
The result made Russia the first nation to win the title in this age category for a third time, after earlier triumphs in 2008 and 2016.
Hungary had not been beyond the quarter-finals before. Their run to the final came just one month after Hungary's under-20 team had won their maiden world title on home court in July.
Sunday’s victory capped an impressive tournament by the Russian team. Their unbeaten streak had not been in danger coming into the final as their smallest winning margin was three goals - 30:27 against the Netherlands in the preliminary round.
Sunday’s triumph came exactly one year after the same generation of players lost to Hungary 25:19 at the Women’s 17 EHF EURO and ended that competition in fifth place.
This time Russia were untouchable
However, this time Russia were untouchable, though Hungary came close in the final.
In the first half, both teams swapped the lead many times as no more than one goal was separating them until the 28th minute, when centre back Elena Mikhaylichenko netted for 14:12 before a penalty by Valeriia Kirdiasheva gave Russia a three-goal advantage at half-time (15:12).
Russia remained ahead of Hungary for the entire second half. Their biggest lead was five (21:16 after 41 minutes), but Hungary got within one goal several times.
And Hungary still had everything to play for while trailing only 28:26 in the 56th minute, but they squandered a few opportunities due to sloppy passing and technical faults.
The game was over when Russia right wing Anna Sheina scored 29:26 in the closing minute. The immediate reply by Hungary line player Armilla Simon (29:27) couldn’t affect the outcome anymore.
Mikhaylichenko with 10 and Kirdiasheva with eight goals led for Russia, while Csenge Kuczora was Hungary’s most productive player with eight.
Earlier Sunday, South Korea defeated Sweden 34:27 (17:14) in the bronze-medal match. Yun Yejin led with nine goals for the Asian champions, who also finished third two years ago. Isabelle Andersson netted seven times for Sweden.
Russia and South Korea both have two All-stars
The Women's Youth IHF World Championship 2018 All-star Team was announced shortly after the final. Russia and South Korea both had two players selected, while Hungary was represented once:
Goalkeeper: Anna Vereshchak, Russia
Top scorer: Nikita van der Vliet, Netherlands - 64 goals
Visit the official tournament website for more info.
TEXT: EHF / ew
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