Poland wins European Korfball Championships B 2021
The last two games of the 2021 edition of the European Korfball Championships B decide the podium. First we have Turkey against Scotland for the bronze. Where Turkey doesn't know how to deal with Poland in the cross-finals, against Scotland they dominate once more. The Scots have no answer against the Turkish play. After the first quarter it's already 1-7 in favour of Turkey. This makes for a fairly one sided game where it's clear all the time who will claim the bronze. And Turkey indeed takes bronze with a 9-17 victory.
Then it's the final between Poland and Slovakia, the two Central European participants in this championship. Both end second in their group and both turn out to be stronger than the winner of the other group. This time Poland doesn't have a flying start. On the contrary, it's Slovakia that takes a 2-4 lead. Poland is able to turn it around to 5-4 in the first quarter, but it shows that Slovakia intends to seriously claim the gold. Still, after this first lead of Poland, they keep having the lead the rest of the game. It's always a small lead, as Slovakia keeps chasing. It's the first Polish four goal lead at 14-10 by Klimczyk that makes it clear that Poland has got this game in the pocket. When Siemieniuk then makes the 15-10, it's a done deal, despite the Slovaks continuing to play for a result. The game ends with and 18-15 final score. Poland claims the gold in their own country and Slovakia silver. This means that departing coach of Poland Koopmans says goodbye with the best possible result.
When we compare the results of these top four with the 2018 European Championships, all have improved themselves. Scotland has a bad tournament in 2018, becoming only fifteenth. Their fourth place now compares to twelfth in the sixteen country event, so they go up three spots. Turkey is absent in 2018, so their eleventh place is a great step up for them. Slovakia is twelfth in 2018, so they go up two spots with their silver medal. Lastly Poland goes up one spot, from tenth in 2018 to ninth now in 2021.
How else can we compare the lower half of the 2018 European Championships with this year's event? Hungary has gone up to the top eight and will play in Antwerp in two weeks. France withdrew for this event, giving room for Greece as third qualifier. And Serbia was in a hiatus in 2019 during the qualifications. They are rebuilding themselves, and we will see when they return to the international stage.
Not only is the Poland squad winner of the event, they also supply the numbers one and two on the top scorer ranking. And both of these top scorers are female. Number one Tamara Siemieniuk has 24 goals, no less than eight more than her teammate Natalia Klimczyk. It's Andrea Holotova of Slovakia that completes the top three of the top scorers. It's interesting to see that the top scorer list is led by three women. It shows that in this case, the women make the difference in the team result.