Podiums in Blue and Yellow: Sweden and Ukraine won the Golden League


Article Mon, Jun 17 2024
Author: Lada Alekseeva

Men’s Final: Croatia vs Ukraine 1-3 (25-23, 19-25, 26-28, 19-25)

In the first set, the Croatian team played more aggressively and led throughout the game. Midway through the set, Croatia had a six-point lead (17:11). Although Ukraine managed to close the gap to just one point by the set balls, Croatia sealed the set with a 25:23 win.

However, Ukraine took control in the second set. Under the guidance of Raul Lozano, the Ukrainian team consistently stayed ahead, and the Croatians couldn't catch up. Ukraine played confidently, finishing the set with a six-point advantage (25:19).

The third set was the most intense. Initially, Croatia led, but Ukraine picked up momentum halfway through. In a battle of consecutive points, Ukraine outsmarted Croatia. With the score at 8:15, Ukraine won nine of the next ten points, leveled the score, and won the set by two points (28:26).

The exhausting third set took a toll on Croatia, who struggled in the fourth set. Ukraine, showing strong performance, maintained a lead that peaked at ten points. Ultimately, Ukraine secured the set and the match with a score of 25:19.

The victory over Croatia earned Ukraine their second Golden European League title, their first being in 2017. This was Ukraine’s fourth final appearance in this tournament, having lost to Turkey in the 2023 final. As the 2024 Golden European League champions, Ukraine received gold medals and a €100,000 prize.

Women’s Final: Sweden vs Czechia 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 18-25, 25-20, 15-11)

Sweden entered the Final Four as the fourth and last team, narrowly advancing over Ukraine by a better set ratio. They emerged as deserved champions after two dramatic five-set victories. They first defeated Belgium, the gold favorite, in the semifinals on Saturday, and then triumphed over the host nation, Czechia, in Sunday’s final.

Sweden started the match with impressive calmness, serving well and seizing their offensive opportunities. They logically and fairly won the first set.

The team continued to dominate in the second set, holding the lead for a long time. However, as the set progressed, Czechia gained momentum. When Sweden was leading 19:16, they got stuck in one rotation, allowing Czechia to score seven consecutive points, evening the match.

After Czechia quickly won the third set, the match reached a critical point for Swedish players. Sweden responded strongly, fighting for every ball and point, maintaining a comfortable distance to equalize the score at 2-2.

In the deciding set, Sweden continued their hard-fought battle, keeping their cool despite an early 3-5 deficit. They turned it around to lead 8-6 and extended the lead further, not letting go despite Czechia’s attempts to catch up.

Anna Haak’s spike for 15-11 declared Sweden as the Golden League champions for the first time!

Swedish women's team has been achieving success year after year, with consecutive European Championship finals (2021, 2023), gold in the European Silver League 2022, and silver in both the Golden European League and Challenger Cup 2023.

This is so freaking awesome! Can we swear today? Damn, I have tears in my eyes... This is so important for us as a national team. We’ve never done anything bigger. I’m so proud!

Anna Haak

The emotions speak for themselves. I’m so happy, and what a journey this team has had over the past year. We never cease to amaze ourselves. I’m so happy and proud!

Isabelle Haak, MVP of the final