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Germany wins European handball championship

Davis Van OpdorpJanuary 31, 2016

Germany has ended its 12-year drought in the European handball championship, beating Spain 24-17 to advance outright to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Handball EM Finale - Deutschland vs. Spanien Julius Kuhn
Image: Getty Images/Bongarts/A. Nurkiewicz

The Germans are European handball champions, trouncing Spain 24-17 in the final of the European championship in Krakow on Sunday to lift their first title since 2004.

The victory not only gives Germany its second title, but also qualifies the team outright for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Following a tight semifinal with Norway, Germany was in full control against Spain. The team jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, with Friday's hero Kai Häfner scoring three goals in two minutes. Germany held that margin until halftime.

Germany widened it quickly after the break thanks to goals by Tobias Reichmann and Hendrick Pekeler. But despite three seven-meter goals in the second half, the Spaniards didn't seem to have a comeback in them.

Germany now join host country Brazil, France, Argentina, Qatar and Egypt in the Olympic field. Spain and Croatia, winner of the third place match earlier Sunday afternoon, now advance to the final Olympic qualifying tournament in April.