Hungary will enter the EHF EURO 2018 Main Round with two points after beating Spain 32:26 in the concluding match of Group C on Wednesday.
It was Hungary’s biggest win over Spain in 14 years, after beating them 38:29 at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
The two teams had already qualified for the next phase of the tournament. But as they had both lost to group winners Netherlands earlier, this was their only chance left to earn points for the main round.
In the other Group C match tonight, Netherlands beat already-eliminated Croatia 34:23.
Hungary vs Spain 32:26 (19:14)
An interesting choice by master tactician Kim Rasmussen put Hungary in the right direction against Spain.
The coach decided to start with Eva Kiss between the posts and to leave Blanka Biro on the bench, despite her excellent performance in the previous match against Croatia.
Biro ended that game with a 46% save rate and was chosen player of the match, but Rasmussen still opted for Kiss this time. The only Györ player in the Hungarian squad soon proved her Danish coach right, as she starred with a series of eye-catching saves, earning her the player of the match award this time.
Kiss’ finest moment came in the 14th minute, when she not only saved a penalty from Soledad Lopez but denied the Spain’s left wing immediately again in the rebound.
Her outstanding goalkeeping was a strong backing for the Hungarian defence, and allowed her team to take Spain apart.
However, the match remained in the balance for the first 17 minutes, when no team enjoyed a lead of more than two goals.
Szimonetta Planeta and Nadine Schatzl put Hungary four up for the first time (12:8), forcing Spain coach Carlos Viver into taking a team timeout.
Spain ended a six-minute goal drought when Carmin Martin converted a penalty for 12:9, but the tone for the rest of the match was set.
Hungary went five goals ahead (17:12) with two minutes left in the first half, and they kept dominating after the break.
Their lead reached double digits after a 5:0 series within just over three minutes saw Hungary run away from 20:15 to 25:15, virtually deciding the match.
Planeta led Hungary with a flawless eight from eight, while Schatzl and Noemi Hafra each netted five times. Captain Carmen Martin scored six goals for Spain.