REVIEW: Portugal won their first-ever European Wheelchair Handball Nations’ Tournament with a clean sweep of victories including a 20:7 clear-cut win against Croatia in the final.
Hosts Portugal earn first title at European Wheelchair Handball Nations’ Tournament
Finally, there were tears of joy from the Portuguese national team after the 2018 European Wheelchair Handball Nations’ Tournament was over.
Portugal have twice played the final in the past editions of the tournament, only to lose against the Netherlands in 2015 and 2016.
But this time, everything changed, as Portugal swept away their three opponents in emphatic style, to win the first title on home soil in Leiria.
The path to the gold medal was cleared after the first game, when the hosts took on their biggest rivals, the Netherlands, to earn a crucial 12:9 win.
Next up were Croatia, who put up a fight. However they were but were no match for the Portuguese side, who sealed a 18:15 win.
Winning the group was assured by another emphatic 14:3 win over Hungary and Portugal were only getting better in the second day of the tournament.
But there was no three-peat of the Netherlands vs Portugal final, after the Dutch side faltered against Croatia in the last match of the group. Croatia earned a narrow 15:14 win to progress to the final.
While the Dutch side enjoyed a 13:5 lead to win the bronze medal, the big final was looming.
The Croatian top scorer of the tournament, Ademir Demirovic, who scored 26 goals over the four games played this weekend, could do little against a motivated Portuguese side.
Things were looking good for the hosts from half-time, when they boasted a healthy 10:2 lead. Croatia failed to impress in the second half and the final score read 20:7 for Portugal.
Portugal's Ricardo Queiros was named MVP of the tournament and the Netherlands' Joyce van Haaster was best goalkeeper.
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu/jh
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