Four venues were used in the Balkan nation: Split, Poreč, Varaždin and Zagreb in a tournament which the organising committee dubbed the ‘Hypnotic Game’.
“Sometimes it is interesting what you assume from a championship and what really happens at a championship. We saw the enthusiasm of the organisers supporting the cause with everything they could,” said EHF President Michael Wiederer during the closing press conference in Arena Zagreb on the final Sunday.
“From the sporting part, we can state that the top level in Europe is growing. It is not by chance that we see new teams now in the top nations, and this is very good for our sport,” added Wiederer.
“We thought that the EHF EURO 2018 was going to be a hypnotic game,” said EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner. “Well, I have been hypnotised by what happened in Croatia over two action-packed weeks.”
The attention to advanced preparation and organisation was obvious, as the tournament proceeded without a glitch.
Local Organising Committee President Silvijo Njiric said “In the most important games there were over 500 volunteers in the arenas. As far as the audience, over 65% of the fans were from outside of Croatia.
"I am very proud to say that nearly 200,000 spectators attended the games.”
The Men’s EHF EURO 2018 saw an impressive improvement in media figures with strong TV interest, featuring coverage in 175 territories provided by 130 media outlets. RTL, the Croatian broadcaster, reported a market share of 60% during the host nation matches.
ehfTV — the EHF’s own OTT platform — recorded a 30% increase in unique users and 25% increase in number of visits to the page. During the Men’s EHF EURO 2018, there were 1.2 million visits to ehfTV.com.
On court, Spain finally claimed their first gold medal at a Men’s EHF EURO with a commanding 29:23 win over Sweden, after losing four previously. France beat Denmark 32:29 in the bronze medal match with Nikola Karabatic named best player of the game - a rematch of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games final.
Over 10,000 fans cast their vote for the tournament All-star team making up 40% of the final vote with the remaining 60% decided by an expert panel provided by the teams that played in the tournament.
The team saw the best goalkeeper award go to Vincent Gerard (FRA), left wing: Manuel Strlek (CRO), left back: Mikkel Hansen (DEN), centre back: Sander Sagosen (NOR), line player: Jesper Nielsen (SWE), right back: Alex Dujshebaev (ESP), right wing: Ferran Sole (ESP) and defender: Jakov Gojun (Croatia).
Jim Gottfridsson (SWE) was the MVP of the tournament while Ondřej Zdráhala (CZE) finished top scorer with 56 goals.