In one of the best Europa Cup finals in recent years hosts Koog Zaandijk (NED) beat Boeckenberg (BEL) 22-18. the Belgians had the better of the match for much of the first half but honours were even at half time (11-11). However, in the opening six minutes of the second half KZ took control by opening a three goal lead and although the Begians fought back to narrow the lead to one midway through the half, the Dutch champions pulled away again to become European Champions in their debut in the event. Tim BAAKER was probably the difference between the teams as he score 10 of the 22 goals. Davor DURONJIC and Jesse DE BREMAEKER top scored for the Belgians with 7 each. These three were the tournament's top scorers withTim getting 20 and Davor and Jesse 18 each. Russian Sergey NIZOVSKIY was next with 15, having set an individual match record of 13 in his opening match.
The match for the bronze medal proved to be a tense thriller. CC Oeiras (POR) just edged the first bhalf against TJ Znojmo (CZE) 8-7. At the start of the second half they increased the lead to 9-7 but then went 15 minutes without scoring. This let the Czechs back into the match and with 10 minutes left the scores were level. Many chances were missed by both teams and despite twice taking the lead in the closing minutes CCO found themselves pegged back to end normal time 12-12. In the golden goal extra time both teams were very nervous and many clear chances were missed by both teams. It seemed like a penalty shoot out beckoned but, with just 3 minutes left, CCO's captain Alexandra SILVA scored with a long shot to earn the Portuguese the bronze medal.
Fifth place was clinched by Szentendre (HUN) who surprisingly beat Orel STU (RUS). The Hungarians built up a four goal lead in the opening 15 minutes and held off Orel's come back to lead 8-6 at half time. The Russians scored first in the second half but Szentendre then took control until the last few minutes when Orel started to eat intoSzentendre's 4 goal lead. However, time was against them and the Hungarians scored a well deserved victory 16-15.
Adler Rauxel (GER) took 7th place with a 14-13 win over Trojans (ENG). The English team, playing in their first Europa Cup, once again let their opponents gain too much of a lead before fighting back. In both halves the Germans built a 4 goal lead and in the end this was decisive (H/T 8-6).
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS