Summary, Day 4 – Women’s Prelims, Round 3

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Summary, Day 4 – Women’s Prelims, Round 3

Netherlands tie with Italy after incredible twists

Lengthy scoreless periods, incredible twists marked the day’s big game featuring European Championships runner-up Netherlands and Olympic silver medallist Italy which ended in a 6-6 tie in the third round of the women’s tournament. So far nothing has been decided in the prelims at the European Water Polo Championships in Barcelona.

The evening thriller offered a series of twists and turns. For a while Italy seemed to sit comfortably in the driving seat, they led 1-2 after the first eight minutes, then deep into the second they took a 2-4 lead while the Dutch offense fell apart, they missed four man-ups in a row. In the meantime Italy had two 6 on 5s to widen the gap to three goals but missed both. The second turned out to be crucial as Catharina van der Sloot scored from the ensuing counter, halting the Netherlands’ miserable 11:35min run without a goal. And 53 seconds later it was even, van der Sloot netted a fine one from the distance and that froze the Italians.

They missed two more extras so it stood 4-4 before the last break and the Dutch rolled on, with two action goals within a minute they led 6-4 with 6:35 to go. Italy missed another man-up, the 5th in succession, and soon the Dutch had one to break three goals clear. This time they couldn’t make it, and to mirror the earlier phase, Arianna Gragnolati finished a counter, ending Italy’s goalless struggles of 15:40 minutes. In 59 seconds it was even, Roberta Bianconi buried a penalty for 6-6. What’s more, with 1:24 remaining Italy had a match-ball but could not even take a shot in their man-up. The Dutch also ran out of ideas so the game ended in the championships’ first draw, leaving room for a series of outcome in the group.

Israel had a promising match against France, the newcomer side came back from 4-1 down to 5-4 by halftime, but the rival’s experienced players closed down the match in the third with a 3-0 run. The rest of the games all saw 20+ goals from the favourite sides, Spain could even go beyond 30 against Turkey.

European Water Polo Championships, Day 4
Women’s Round 3

Group A
Greece v Croatia 21-2
France v Israel 9-5
Netherlands v Italy 6-6

Standings
1. Greece 9, 2. Netherlands 7, 3. France 6, 4. Italy 4, 5. Israel 0, 6. Croatia 0

Group B
Russia v Germany 27-5
Hungary v Serbia 23-6
Spain v Turkey 32-2

Standings
1. Russia 9, 2. Spain 9, 3. Hungary 6, 4. Germany 3, 5. Serbia 0, 6. Turkey 0

Fixtures, Day 5 – Men’s Round 2
11.00 Croatia v Turkey (C)
12.30 Germany v Georgia (A)
14.00 Romania v Slovakia (D)
15.30 Greece v Netherlands (C)
17.00 Montenegro v Malta (B)
18.30 Russia v Serbia (D)
20.30 Hungary v Italy (A)
22.00 Spain v France (B)

Follow all games live and look for the detailed stats and play-by-play descriptions on www.len.eu

Flash quotes, Day 4
Women, Round 3 – Group B: Russia v Germany 27-5

Andrei Belofastov, assistant coach, Russia:
„We expected this result against Germany because we know that the first three matches are easy for us. In regards to Germany, they played well in the first quarter, but after that it was easier. This game was like a training session for us before the tough matches against serious rivals like Hungary and Spain and whoever we face in the following rounds of the competition.“

Anja Skibba, head coach, Germany:
“What can I say… The result tells everything. We scored six goals, reacted well in some situations. It’s good for us to play against teams like Russia. We’re taking it step by step. We’ve lost so many years and are still just at the beginning to build our team.”

Belen Vossenberg, player, Germany:
“We tried to improve our game since our match against Spain. Today we played some good defence but we have to improve our man-up efficiency as these are the situations in which we have to score goals. What else? We swam a lot and tried to help each other.”

Women, Round 3 – Group B: Hungary v Serbia 23-6

Attila Biro, head coach, Hungary:
“We’ve achieved our targets set for this match: we won, we played well and kept on scoring and last but not least managed to avoid any accidental injury. Winning was never in question and I think the quality of our game was also fine. The part we couldn’t understand was the 15 exclusions, in the middle break I asked my players if they did something special but they told me that they defended even softer than usual. Anyway, the opportunity was there to practice the man-down defence before our big matches.”

Rita Keszthelyi, captain, Hungary:
“We did what we had to, tried to maintain our pace and polish our game before the really important part begins in two days time. Against the Russians we have to stay focused from the very beginning and I really hope we can play a great match against them. I mean, I can’t wait the moment when those big matches begin.”

Dejan Jovovic, head coach, Serbia:
“Well, the difference in quality is evident. Hungary always has an excellent team, men and women regardless. It’s great we got so many extramen which gave us the opportunity to practise that segment of our game for the matches to come.”

Teodora Rudic, player, Serbia:
“This match served as an opportunity to gain experience and psychologically came at the right moment after last match against Russia. We played well, were good in man-up situations and more concentrated than in the previous game. It was a good preparation for the coming match against Turkey.”

Women, Round 3 – Group A: Greece v Croatia 21-2

Giorgios Morfesis, head coach, Greece:
„Today each team had a different target. For Croatia it was about gaining experience and for us it was about winning the match. We aren’t in the next round yet though. To go directly to the quarter-finals we need to beat Holland, which is the only thing on our minds right now. If we play well we can get the victory. We will try our best to achieve that.“

Dragan Matutinovic, head coach, Croatia:
“You’ve seen it yourself they are at a whole different level. We had chances, some of which we’ve managed to use. We are fighting and are in a process of growing and learning. Just a couple of years ago the goal difference was up to –35, now it’s down to –18-20. I am proud of my girls. The details I’ll keep to myself. The goalie did a great job standing up against one of, if not the world’s best centre forward. Now we shall prepare for Israel.”

Emmi Miljkovic, player, Croatia:
“Going into the game we knew it would be like this. Greece is not only in top 8, but among the top 3 teams at the moment. We said we would keep the goal difference under 20 which we did. Now, we move onto Israel then Serbia. Our goal is the 9th place at this Europeans.”

Women, Round 3 – Group A: France v Israel 9-5

Florian Bruzzo, head coach, France:
“The idea for this game was to let our young players play since they barely got to the pool in the first match so the could gain some experience. Afterwards, as the match progressed, I realised that they were not able to do it by themselves, so I sent in our most experienced players. Now we will try to qualify to the quarter-finals and we dream of making it all the way to the semis.”

Dimitrios Mavrotas, head coach, Israel:
“We started off good and were trying to stay close which we did for the first two quarters. Then the third started bad for us and once they built a 4-goal difference it was difficult for us to come back. My team is very young so we are working for the future.”

Miriam Bogachenko, player:
“It was a very hard game, we tried our best. We are a very young team, I’m not yet 16. Next time we’ll try to win.”

Women, Round 3 – Group A: Italy v Netherlands 6-6

Fabio Conti, head coach, Italy:
“It was a very physical match. I think our game will get better as the tournament goes forward. The Netherlands finished second at the recent FINA World League Super Final and are one of the best teams in the world. I’m sure they’re going to play a very important role at the Europeans too. We played well but have to improve our shooting percentage because we missed too many chances today. We’re missing some cold blood in the final phase of the attack. Anyway, we are moving on with the tournament as we have a series of important games ahead.”

Arno Havenga, head coach, Netherlands:
“The match was tough physically. They played a good defence and made it difficult for us to find the right solutions in attack. At this level of water polo it’s normal for a game to finish like this. I’m satisfied with our performance, it’s a good base for the matches to come. It‘ s important to keep improving as the Europeans move forward.”

Brigitte Sleeking, player, Netherlands:
“We had a great comeback. This is great for us having in mind the coming games the one against France, followed by Greece. After that we’ll see where we stand.”

Women, Round 3 – Group B: Spain v Turkey 32-2

Miki Oca, head coach, Spain:
„I honestly don’t like these type of matches. I’ve felt uncomfortable throughout the game, but in case of a tie in points in the group stage the goal difference counts, so we played intensely the whole match to be able to score as many goals as possible.“

Judith Forca, player, Spain:
„It wasn’t one of our most important matches. We are currently focused on our next rival, which is Russia. We are glad to have a good goal difference as it can be very helpful if we end up tied in points with the Russians. We will continue to train hard to be able to achieve our goal of going far in this competition. On the personal side, I’m very happy to score lots of goals as it helps the team.“

Hakan Sahbaz, head coach, Turkey
“Spain is a very good team. It’s not easy to look at the final score. Nobody likes to play these kind of matches but we are trying. We have qualified and earned the right to be here at the Europeans. We have to ‚enjoy‘ this time here. We are a young federation and have already qualified to top events twice in three years and we still have a long way to go…”

Player Ipek Altan:
“I might sound like I’m repeating myself… all these three games have been rough. We have to learn, stand up and try to come stronger the next time.”

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