2018 Women's European Water Polo Championships: Netherlands, Spain On To Semifinals
Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala
The Netherlands and Spain clinched the top spot in the respective groups and with an easy quarter-final match in sight both can be ready to the semis. The Dutch prevailed in a highly tactical game against Greece while the hosts won a sparkling 23-goal encounter over Russia.
The clash for the top spot in Group A was more like a chess game, the gap between the Greeks and the Dutch never exceed one goal. Scoring itself was a challenge as the defensive tactics worked really well, at half-time it stood 2-2, then Greece got a bit closer with a penalty 0.9sec from time before the last period (5-4). Though the first three periods saw great action goals, the decision â" as usual â" came down to the 6 on 5s in the fourth period. And the Dutch did an amazing job since they could put away 4 in a row. Ilse Koolhas was outstanding, she netted a hat-trick in 1:26 minutes, while the Greeks missed their man-up at 6-7 and that proved to be crucial. Later a nice centre-goal from Alexandra Asimaki brought back some hope with 84 seconds to go (7-8) but the Greeks could hit only the bar from their last possession. Thus they slipped back to the 2nd place and had to wait for a tough rival (turned out to be Russia) while the Dutch virtually made the semis already as their quarter-final against the Germans is to be an easy ride.
âIt was an intense game,â Netherlands coach Arno Havenga said. âWe played with discipline, made few mistakes and used opportunities to score successfully. We have to stay concentrated, focused as we go forward. Germany is next in line.â
The same was at stake in the prelimsâ closing match between Spain and R ussia: the top spot and a nice cruising against France in the quarters or a game against Greece or Italy. Russia had a mount to climb though, as they would have needed a three-goal win to finish atop. Though the hosts led for most of the time in the first half, Russia managed to stay close with a couple of spectacular shots in the mix. In the third they caught a better spell and at 7-8 they had a 6 on 5 to earn a two-goal lead but a blocking hand saved Spain and soon Beatriz Ortiz put the sides back to 8-8 before the last break.
In the fourth the ladies got tougher, a flood of 6 on 5s had to be called, credit to the attacking units that they put away the first three apiece â" Maica Garcia netted a hat-trick in the rush â", but the Russians missed their last one and that gave the win the hosts. The Spaniard finished the prelims as the only team in the womenâs tournament with 5 out of 5 wins, just as the men, they also came first and can also set their eyes on the semi-finals.
In the earlier matches Italy found it hard to improve its goal-difference significantly against France, stayed 9 goals behind the Netherlands, thus had to settle for the third place before the Greek v Dutch game began (though it didnât count, as it turned out). Hungary warmed up for the quarters by thrashing the Germans.
In the two matches featuring the pointless teams, the Serbs beat Turkey with ease so they can play for the 9th place. In the other duel Israel managed to earn its historical first point at the Europeans. The first half saw one goal apiece, the last one four at both ends but nothing separated the sides, it ended 7-7. This favoured Israel as they had a better goal-difference so they avoided playing for the last two places, a fine feat from the newcomer.
European Water Polo Championships, Day 8
Womenâs Round 5
Israel v Croatia 7-7
France v Italy 3-11
Greece v Netherlands 7-8
1. Netherlands 13, 2. Greece 12, 3. Italy 10, 4. France 6, 5. Israel 1 (18-73), 6. Croatia 1 (19-90)
Serbia v Turkey 9-6
Hungary v Germany 26-1
Spain v Russia 12-11
1. Spain 15, 2. Hungary 12, 3. Russia 9, 4. Germany 6, 5. Serbia 3, 6. Turkey 0
Quarter-finals on 23 July
17.00 Greece v Russia
18.30 Italy v Hungary
20.30 Netherlands v Germany
22.00 France v Spain
For places 9-10th
15.00 Israel v Serbia
For places 11-12th
13.30 Croatia v Turkey
Fixtures, Day 9
17.00 Hungary v Netherlands
18.30 Germany v Greece
20.30 Montenegro v Romania
22.00 France v Russia
For places 13-16th
13.30 Georgia v Turkey
15.00 Malta v Slovakia
Follow all games live and look for the detailed stats and play-by-play descriptions on www.len.euSource: Google News Netherlands | Netizen 24 Netherlands