Day of upsets shakes up beach handball competition

The Hungarian and Croatian men’s beach handball teams were the centre of attention on the second day of competition after their respective victories over the current world champions, Spain, and the runner-ups, Italy.

Picture by Florian Eisele for OIS / IOC

Hungary and Spain gave fans a dazzling spectacle during the first match of the day in the men’s beach handball tournament. The match ended with Hungary’s shootout victory over the current world champion.

Playing in front of full stands, Hungary managed to win the first period with a goal on their last play, but Spain picked up their game and took the second period with a 21-16 score.

With the match tied at 1-1, the winner was decided in a shootout, where the Hungarians were more accurate and beat the Spaniards 7-6.

"Our goal was to finish first in the group, so we are happy to have achieved that. Spain is a great team. We faced them several times last year and they defeated us by just a few points. It's a pleasure to play against them," said Hungary’s Viktor Melnicsuk.

 Hungary also got a 2-1 victory over Thailand in their second match of the day.

Day of upsets shakes up beach handball competition

Florian Eisele for OIS/IOC

Croatia defeated Italy and Paraguay and is now among the favourites to win a medal at Buenos Aires 2018. (Photo: Florian Eisele / OIS).

Croatia emerged as another surprise of the day. The Croatians had solid performances in the two matches they played and left no doubt about their skills after getting a 2-0 win against Italy, one of the favourites to ascend the podium at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

"We are happy about our two victories. We knew we could win and we hope to continue like this. Italy is a special rival for us. We had already defeated them this year in the European tournament quarterfinals in Montenegro," said Croatian player Kresimir Obratov. "Now we feel we could get a medal."