Thriller as usual, Hungary beats Russia this time
The last round will determine the top spots in both groups in the women’s tournament at the European Water Polo Championships in Barcelona. Russia is still in the race in Group B though their loss to Hungary means that now they need at least a 3-goal win against host Spain on Saturday to clinch the first place.
Whenever Hungary and Russia play, entertainment is guaranteed, some thrilling moments too – for those close to the teams minor heart-attacks as well (in the Olympic bronze medal match in Rio the Russians saved the game to a penalty shootout with a last-second goal and grabbed the bronze after seven rounds). Though this time the sides failed to produce the usual double digits in scoring, they didn’t let the spectators relax for a single moment.
Hungary took a flying start, led 0-3 and 1-4 but the Russians also arrived to the pool and deep into the third they had a man-up to go even at 3-4. However, they could never equalise even though in the third, at 5-6, they had three more man-ups but missed all. In this period the Hungarians were unable to score but Aniko Gyongyossy’s nice backhanded shot from centre in the first possession in the last quarter put them 5-7 ahead. Elvina Karimova pulled one back and again they had two man-ups to go even but wasted both while Anna Illes put the Magyars’ 6 on 5 away for 6-8 with 3:45 to go. She hit the block from the next one, thus instead to go 3+, Russia could get close once more, however – after another missed extra –, this goal came 31sec from time and the Hungarians didn’t give away the ball.
In two days time the Russians meet Spain, a three-goal win would still put them on top of the group, narrower wins would leave them second, any other result would give them the third position. The last day will determine the higher ranks in the other group as well since the favourites all did their respective jobs in the fourth round.
The game of Germany and Turkey decided the last qualifying spot in Group B. After three consecutive 30+ goals shocks, the Turks played bravely, led 1-3 in the second period but in the crazy finish the Germans netted three in 88 seconds, three more came in further 47 seconds (two from the Turks) thus the favourite side led 7-6 at half-time. Though the Germans netted two for 9-6, the Turks came back and trailed by one before the final period but they ran out of gas and three more German goals – including the last two from Jennifer Stiefel who scored 5 – in the fourth ended the contest.
European Water Polo Championships, Day 6
Women’s Round 4
Israel v Greece 2-16
Italy v Croatia 24-3
Netherlands v France 20-4
1. Greece 12, 2. Netherlands 10, 3. Italy 9, 4. France 6, 5. Israel 0, 6. Croatia 0
Germany v Serbia 12-9
Russia v Hungary 7-8
Serbia v Spain 2-26
1. Spain 12, 2. Hungary 9, 3. Russia 9, 4. Germany 6, 5. Serbia 0, 6. Turkey 0
Fixtures, Day 3 – Men’s Round 3
11.00 Serbia v Slovakia (D)
12.30 Germany v Hungary (A)
14.00 Turkey v Netherlands (C)
15.30 Georgia v Italy (A)
17.00 Russia v Romania (D)
18.30 Malta v France (B)
20.30 Croatia v Greece (C)
22.00 Montenegro v Spain (B)
Press release from LEN, photos courtesy of Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala