France and the Netherlands finish on a high(er) note

Credit: European Aquatics

The last two classification matches played in Dubrovnik turned into lopsided contests. Both France and the Netherlands claimed six-goal wins over Georgia and Germany respectively.

For 9th place: France v Georgia 12-6
For the 11th place: Netherlands v Germany 16-10

Action goals highlighted the opening eight minutes of the last game played in Dubrovnik.

France had the better start and led 2-1, while man-ups were missed at both ends.

The second period brought some tougher moments, the first red card was issued while the French kept their calm and netted two after 3-2 to make it 5-2 by halftime.

In the third, Thomas Vernoux added two more from action in 49 seconds, between that they killed a man-up and after jumping to a 7-2 lead it seemed Georgia was done.

In fact, the French managed to mark their two most dangerous men of Serbian origin quite effectively, Dusan Vasic stood with 0/5 in shots at this stage and Stefan Pjesivac had 0 for 2.

Still, in the finish, the Georgians pulled two back, to regain some hope for the last eight minutes.

However, after another shot from Vasic was well blocked by the defence in a man-down and Vernoux hit one from the centre to make it 9-5, and within seconds the Georgian coach was ejected.

Vernoux was flying high, later he hit his 5th goal in the evening, while Vjasic and Pesivac stood with 0/9 combined, quite a difference in the performances of the respective top players of the teams.

The 4-0 run by the French put an end to the contest, Vasic could net a 6 on 4 finally, 1:27 from time – too few and too late to save his side, which drops to 10th place after their best-ever finish in Split where they came 8th.

The French were just somewhat happier as they also bowed out from the top eight this time, still, a win offered them some consolation.

Their final ranks were mostly with double digits for long, long years, the last time a 9th place followed a 6th place dates back to 1950-54.

The Netherlands finished the event on a high note as they beat their old rival Germany with a really convincing performance.

They stormed to a 5-2 lead in the first eight minutes and added two action goals, rockets from Jesse Koopman and Mart van der Weijden in just over a minute into the second quarter to make it 7-2.

The Germans launched a comeback surge, but the Dutch could always respond immediately and hit four more to lead 11-7 at halftime.

After the action-packed second quarter, which had seen 11 goals, the defences ‘returned to the scene’ and limited the total number of goals to five – but the Dutch were still better at both ends of the pool and rebuilt the five-goal gap before the last quarter, so the match was practically decided at 14-9.

Consequently, the last quarter was a kind of winding down as the Netherlands sailed away the win to equal their last placement from Split.