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2020 European Water Polo Ch European Water Polo Ch Budapest LEN Events News Water Polo

34th European Water Polo Championships, Budapest D8

Title-holder Netherlands clinches the other top spot, Russia downs Greece

The Netherlands won Group B thank to a surprisingly easy cruising against Spain in the decisive match on the last day in the women’s prelims. Russia bested Greece with a devastating performance in the second half (they won that part 7-1) to finish second in Group A. After the men’s team, the Hungarian women also made a shutout, beating Serbia 27-0, so the hosts and the Dutch will enjoy an easier QF, while the clashes of Spain v Greece and Russia v Italy promise some exciting water polo for Tuesday. In the other matches Slovakia and Israel added historical chapters to their respective storylines at the Europeans. The Slovaks returned to the big stage after 37 years and now managed to reach the quarter-finals as they beat Croatia in a highly exciting match. Israel had two draws from their first-ever appearance in 2018 but no wins – today they claimed a historical first victory as they blew away the Germans.

Women’s preliminaries, Round 5

Group A: Greece v Russia 7-12, Serbia v Hungary 0-27, Slovakia v Croatia 9-7

Rankings: 1. Hungary 15, 2. Russia 12, 3. Greece 9, 4. Slovakia 6, 5. Croatia 3, 6. Serbia 0

Group B: Spain v Netherlands 6-10, France v Italy 6-18, Germany v Israel 3-10

Rankings: 1. Netherlands 15, 2. Spain 12, 3. Italy 9, 4. France 6, 5. Israel 3, 6. Germany 0

Fixtures for Tuesday

Quarter-finals: Hungary v France, Russia v Italy, Greece v Spain, Slovakia v Netherlands. For places 9-10th: Croatia v Israel. For places 11-12th: Serbia v Germany

The schedule of the games will be confirmed tomorrow (QFs of SVK v NED and HUN v FRA to be switched, the latter one starting at 19.00).

The game between Spain and the Netherlands was of the most awaited clashes of the prelims – but this time the two sides weren’t on the same level. The Dutch took a flying start, led 0-2 in less than three minutes while the Spaniards struggled in front of the goal. In the second, Holland doubled its lead, Spain’s first goal was a lucky one and they needed 13:07 minutes to get on the scoreboard. At halftime the title-holders led 1-6 and soon they went 2-8 up with 5:03 remaining in the third (the second Spanish goal came from a third shot in the same 6 on 5).

It all looked way too one-sided, then the Spaniards’ caught a better spell and managed to score four unanswered goals for 6-8, what’s more they had a man-up to come even closer but Debby Willemsz could put a hand on the ball (she was 14/20, 70.0%). Soon Catharina van der Sloot broke the Dutch silence

after 10:52 minutes and that cooled back the game. The match produced some unusual stats, the difference in the number of shots was quite unusual at this level, 33-18 to Spain, still, the Netherlands managed to win by four goals. Spain’s LEN Award winner goalie Laura Ester had a miserable afternoon, she didn’t have a single save in the game (0/10), while her teammates were 1 for 15 in man-ups in front.

Spain will have another showdown with Greece, this time in the quarters after the two sides met in the semis two years ago. The Greeks fell apart for the second half in their game against Russia. Until 4-2 they seemed to control the match, and even if the Russians could hit three in a row, they could take back the lead by halftime (6-5). Next came the Russians, though, netted three in the third while the Greeks ran out of ideas in front and missed all their shots. Russia staged a 0-5 rush, shutting out their rivals for 13:34 minutes – all in all, they won the second half 1-7 and secured the second spot in the group, and a great encounter against Italy.

Two milestones were passed in the earlier games. First Slovakia reached the quarter-finals for the first time in the women’s tournament. Their feat is even more remarkable if we take into account that this is their second appearance on the big stage and they needed 37 years to return after a winless edition in 1993. Here they managed to beat Serbia and now they downed Croatia in a thrilling encounter. Though the Croats jumped to a 1-3 lead, the Slovaks came back by halftime (4-4). Croatia netted two in 44 seconds early in the third for 4-6, the Slovaks hit back with a double soon, in a span of 54 seconds. Then Kristina Horvathova delivered some crucial saves, including a penalty catch at 6-6, then one more at 7-6, followed immediately by Beata Kovacikova’s great lob for 8-6. This 4-0 run did the damage, the Serbs could pull one back 1:47 from time but Slovakia put away a 6 on 5 from the next possession to secure their second win and book a spot in the quarters.

Israel came to Budapest as the other winless team in the field: they had two draws in Barcelona but no victories in regular time. Here they lost the first four matches (as expected) but they blew away the Germans on this last day of the group stage. It turned into an embarrassingly one-sided contest after a while, Israel led 1-10 after three periods, the time elapsed between the first (1-1) and second (2-10) German goal was 20:08 minutes. It means that the Germans have to settle for their worst-ever placement in history (11th or 12th) after their lowest rank was 8th so far.

The day saw two big wins too, Italy looked to leave all the miseries behind while beating France 18-6, while the host Hungarians copy-pasted the men’s team feat from Saturday and shut out the Serbs while scoring one more goal (27-0). This was the 8th occasion in the history of the women’s Europeans when a team couldn’t score in a game – Hungary achieved the shutout once before, in 1991 (against host Greece), while the last time it happened was in Belgrade 2016 when the Netherlands closed down all incoming roads against Turkey.

For more details, detailed statistics, play-by-play descriptions click here


Women’s preliminaries, Round 5

Group B, 11.30

France v Italy 6-18

Florian Bruzzo, head coach, France

“It was a tough game, Italy deserved to win, but the 22 exclusions were crucial in this game. We are preparing for the upcoming match, the quarter-final against the Hungarians.”

Paolo Zizza, head coach, Italy

“Obviously, we were very nervous in the beginning of the match, as the third place of the group was at stake. We had difficulties at the start, but then we showed our real face, and the French exclusions came one after the other. Some of them surprised me as well. It was a difficult game but we succeeded. Now we have to concentrate on the next round.”

Elisa Queirolo, player, Italy

“It was very important to score a lot because now we are more confident and ready for the next clash. We were outstanding in offense, they could not cope with our attacking game. I think the numerous exclusions on their side show how good we were.”

Group A, 13.00

Slovakia v Croatia 9-7

Milan Henkrich, head coach, Slovakia

“We stayed on the winning wave after our victory against Serbia. Today we knew that they would be scared of our goalkeeper. She had a special training before the European Championships and she saved 6 out of 8 penalties against Portugal in a preparation game. Hopefully, we will continue like this for the next match too. We are super-happy. We are the youngest team here, our average age is 19, the youngest player was born in 2002. We want to play against Spain or the Netherlands. It will be good for us, for our future.”

Marijo Caleta, head coach, Croatia

“We started well but those 2 penalties and two close shots we missed decided the match. In third and fourth quarter it was not over yet. We came back to 8-7 but simply missed too many shots. Their goalkeeper pulled the curtain down on their goal. We wanted more but at the end of a day a better team won. We are very disappointed about the result. The girls tried to do everything they could, but it was not enough to win. I think we were in good form of mentally, but unfortunately, we lost concentration in the second half. We want to reach the 9th place of the tournament.”

Janka Kurucova, player, Slovakia

“It was a fantastic game, we are really happy and proud of ourselves. The key for our success was our team spirit. The hard work finally paid off. It is wonderful to be in the quarter-finals at such a big event. We do not have any expectations for the next match, we just want to enjoy ourselves.”

Miroslava Stankovianska, player, Slovakia

“We knew we were going to lose the first three matches badly. Against Serbia we did a very good job. That gave us self-confidence so we went into this game feeling we should win. I have to give a big thank to our goalkeeper, she did a brilliant job. She was at the right place at the right time. I have never played against either the Netherlands or Spain. It will be a new experience. It is going to be hard but we will enjoy it.  We have nothing to lose.”

Ema Carevic, player, Serbia

“We started off well but then kind of lost it towards the end of each quarter. Our defence was weaker. We should have stuck to our previously agreed plan more. We should have calmed down and started every quarter as if it was 0-0. We must recover mentally, physically. We must think ahead instead of thinking about what we had lost and think over how we can improve.”

Group B, 14.30

Germany v Israel 3-10

Arno Troost, head coach, Germany

“It was a very difficult game. We caused the problems for ourselves by committing easy mistakes, which then resulted in easy goals by them. We held on until the halftime, after that we just couldn’t score goals. Unfortunately, this group was too strong for us, maybe if we played in the other group, we could have had the chance to gather points. We will continue to work hard for a brighter future.”

Dimitrios Mavrotas, head coach, Israel

“A great win and a historical day for Israel. This is our first win in the history of the European Championships. In the previous edition we were 10th but did not win a game just tied the one with Croatia. I think today we were better, we fought a lot. We played a very fast game with many turnovers, which the German team could not handle physically. We stayed concentrated, stuck to our plan and our goal. Against Croatia we will try and do the same. We are not satisfied with the result we achieved so far, this win is just a new beginning.”

Belen Vosseberg, player, Germany

“I think we played well in defence in the fourth quarter. Before that we were too slow, too far out in their counter-attacks and allowed them to score easy goals. We only netted four or three, I think. It just wasn’t good enough. We had a lot of counter-fouls on the centre position and while driving. We must correct that and try to win the last game.”

Ayelet Peres, goalie, Israel

“It’s an amazing day for us! A historical first win at the Europeans! I hope this a start for more wins to come. What can I say… we dominated from the start. We are overwhelmed now!”

Yahav Farkash, player, Israel

“The beginning of this European Championship was tough, but finally we managed to win an encounter. We look forward to playing against Serbia. We have high expectations for that clash, we would like to finish 9th.”

Group B, 16.00

Spain v Netherlands 6-10

Miguel Oca, head coach, Spain

“We didn’t have a very good start. They played very well defence, we didn’t score goals and that’s it. My congratulations to the Netherlands for their victory. We will now stay and watch the match of Greece and Russia to see whom we will play against next and then try to prepare for them.”

Arno Havenga, head coach, Netherlands

“I am satisfied with the result. We initially had one goal which was to finish atop in our group. We played with discipline in all five games. The quarter-finals will be crucial, from then every game is like a final to us. We will see how far we can go, hopefully all the way to the podium.”

Maica Garcia, player, Spain

“I don’t know… Today we felt so tired, slow. We started off badly and by the time we came back into the game it was to late and we had no reserves remaining. Now all I can think about is our next match. We will see who comes in our way.”

Nomi Stomphorst, player, Netherlands

“I think we played a decent game. We did everything we spoke of before the match. By the end of the match they had to risk more in order to close the gap. Next is Slovakia, totally different game but from now on every game should played as if it were the last one.”

Group A, 17.30

Greece v Russia 7-12

Georgios Morfesis, head coach, Greece

“We played the first half well. Afterwards we lost our concentration. We have to see why that happened and correct that. We knew the next match would be against one of the great teams like Spain or the Netherlands. We will prepare a plan for them.”

Andrei Belofastov, assistant coach, Russia

“It was a difficult game and a nervous one. Psychologically it was a very important victory. This was only our second ‘real’ match – having lost the first against Hungary made it even more important to win. It’s good that we have done it. The quarter-finals are always open, we will see what happens.”

Alkisti Avramidou, player, Greece

“For the first two quarters we controlled the match. We knew Russia is fast and if they don’t score goals from counter-attacks it will be a problem for them. But we scored only two goals in the last two periods and that decided the match. Spain? It will be a very difficult game.”

Anastasia Fedotova, player, Russia

“It was a hard match for us. The first and second quarters were not so good, we made stupid mistakes. Then in the halftime our coach and our captain calmed us down and told us to stop doing mistakes and push for counter-attacks and that brought the victory in the end. We played with Italy in December in the USA and lost by 2-3 goals but I think if we play the right way we can win this time.”

Group A, 19.00

Serbia v Hungary 0-27

Dragana Ivkovic, head coach, Serbia

“The beginning of the game in terms of the defence was not so bad. We have to be realistic, Hungary is a much stronger team than us. In preparation of the match we focused on defence. It went downwards when we started chasing a goal. However, the whole experience, the preparation period, the matches and the Championship itself are very different things. Cold feet definitely played their parts, there are a lot of young girls 16, 17, 18 year-olds in our team. This is going to be a learning experience for them. I think we are better than Germany but it is our mindset that will decide if we win or lose in our last match here.”

Attila Bíró, head coach, Hungary

“If I had to summarise the group stage matches, I would say that the most difficult victory was against Russia, and we also played a tight match with Greece. However, European Championships will start for us in the quarter-finals, where we will face tougher opponents. I was pleased with today’s game, as the audience saw a very entertaining match where even those girls could score many goals who had less opportunities in the previous games.”

Jovana Pantovic, player, Serbia

“Today’s match, its result and the way we played mirrored all the bad games we had played here before. I mean, the Hungarian team is a gold medal favourite. We tried to resist them but the previous matches and the defeats had a burn-out effect on us. This is in no way an excuse or an alibi. We will try to wash out the bitter taste and leave a better impression in the last game.”

Greta Gurisatti, player, Hungary

“I am delighted that we did not concede any goals today. In games like this, small targets are needed to be set, for example to finish all the opportunities in offense, or to defend perfectly. It is hard to concentrate in a match like this, but we managed to do it.”