Spain have won the IHF Men's Youth World Championship for the first time ©IHF

Spain emerged victorious in a back-and-forth final for their maiden title at the International Handball Federation Men's Youth World Championship in Croatia.

The reigning European defending champions limited Denmark's prolific attack in the decider to just two goals in the last 12 minutes as they ran out as 28-23 winners at the Varaždin Arena.

Denmark, who had the second-highest goal tally of the tournament, scored 15 fewer goals than their average tally at the event.

Spain started brilliantly as they surged into a 4-0 lead but the Danes managed to fight back and went into the half-time break with a 14-13 lead.

The Danish goalkeeper Simon Meinby Lundorf was in scintillating form as he produced a 47 per cent saving efficiency stopping 10 shots.

After an end-to-end start to the second half, the Spaniard went on another four-goal run to wrestle back the lead.

With a 19-17 advantage and 18 minutes left on the clock, Spain went on the defensive by implementing a 4-2 formation to halt the Danish offensive.

Croatia ended a 10-year medal drought as they won bronze at the home IHF Men's Youth World Championship ©IHF
Croatia ended a 10-year medal drought as they won bronze at the home IHF Men's Youth World Championship ©IHF

It worked wonders as the eventual losers went eight minutes and 14 seconds without scoring.

They clawed their way back into the contest, however, after adopting a 5-1 defensive system which limited the opposition attack but not for long enough as the Spaniards went on a five-goal streak to put the game beyond doubt.

Host nation Croatia narrowly won the bronze medal following a dramatic 39-37 victory against Egypt in extra time. 

It is Croatia's first podium finish in the Championships since Hungary 2013 when they came second behind Denmark.

Denmark's Frederik Emil Pedersen was named as the most valuable player.

Oli Mittun of the Faroe Islands bagged 87 goals to make him top scorer and centre back on the all-star team.

Spaniards Alvaro Perez Mendez, Xavier González Unciti, and Victor Romero Holguin, also featured alongside Denmark's Lasse Sunesen Vilhelmsen, Aleksandar Čaprić of Croatia, and Egyptian Belal Masoud.