Tonight Kazakhstan were crowned European champions after beating Croatia 6:5 on penalties after their final finished 2:2.
Before the final, in the ‘small final’, for the third place the Czech Republic faced Montenegro. Both sides had to quickly lick their wounds after their respective bitter semi-finals defeats.
The Czech Republic had several chances in the starting minutes to grab the lead, and repeatedly forced Dejan Mirotic into saves. With seconds left from the first half, the Czech goalkeeper fired a shot that was saved by his counterpart Dejan Mirotic, but Ondrej Padera was in hand to bundle the ball over the line.
The Czech Republic dominated the first minutes of the second period too. So it came as no surprise when Tomas Kounovsky put his name on the scoring sheet in the 33rd minute, providing a two-goal lead for the Czech team.
The match became emotional after a Czech straight red card in the 37th minute; four more yellow cards have been issued until the end of the match. With the 2:0 final score the Czech Republic secured the third-place of the EMF EURO tournament.
The long-awaited Kazakhstan – Croatian final kicked off with a dramatic start. Croatia quickly grabbed the lead, in the 2nd minute, but Kazakhstan responded excellently to falling behind. They levelled within a minute by Murat Akhmetsharipo. Croatia were ahead at half time again after a strike from Ivan Smok, who made it 2:1 for this team.
The second half of the match started just as intensively as the opening one. First Zoran Lukavecki’s shot caused some scare among Kazakhstan in the 21st minute. A minute later Sasa Dreven was forced to save twice brilliantly, just before Murat Akhmetsharipo finally found the back of the net.
As none of the teams managed to score until the final whistle the final headed into a penalty shootout. At the end Kazakhstan defeated Croatia in an intense 6:5 penalty shootout and were crowned European champions.