The drawing of the first day of Women’s U-19 European Water Polo Championship brought together the teams that are at different poles of skill level. However, it was even more interesting to watch the passion with which traditional underdogs opposed the leaders of world water polo. All the more, it is often the emotional attitude and luck that play the decisive role in sports and become reasons of greatest sensations. However, the premier day of competition in Chelyabinsk has failed to bring any surprises.
ITALY-UKRAIINE 29-2 (5-1,9-0,7-0, 8-1).
The opener of the Women’s U-19 European Water Polo Championship was a match in Group B between Italy and Ukraine. Squadra Azzurra’s superiority in experience and technical skill was felt from the very first minutes of the game. The swimming skill advantage was the trump card the Italians played quite well. Ukrainian defense simply could not chase the speedy opponents, made a lot of positional mistakes, which resulted in the Italians’ getting the space they needed for combinations. The load of goals crashing into the Ukrainian net resembled an execution by a firing squad and brought the final score of 29-2 in favor of Team Italy.
THE NETHERLANDS-FRANCE 16-4 (5-0,5-1,2-1, 4-2).
In the first Group A game at the European U-19 Water Polo Championship, Team Netherlands tested Team France. Five goals in a row scored by the Dutch athletes in the first period were quite a convincing indicator of the skill difference between the two teams. However, one cannot say that France surrendered without fighting. For instance, in the third quarter the French allowed only two goals while scoring once in a nice attack. Nevertheless, the enthusiastic micromatch did not change the overall scenario of the game that ended in an impressive victory of the Netherlands – 16-4.
Group A’s second pair gave the fans the first hint at a tough match in the opening day of the Women’s European U-19 Water Polo Championship.
- Team Germany is very well-trained, - Team Hungary’s coach Attila Mihok noted before the game. – You should never underestimate your opponents, especially in a competition of such level. Besides, one should consider the factor of the first game where excitement always predominates. I believe we will be able to show a good level of skill.
In the first half of the game, German water polo players were very thorough and sharp on the defensive end, giving no space for manoeuver to their opponents. However, the Germans were far from being that successful on the offensive side. As a result – a well-deserved victory for Team Hungary - 16-4.
- I am totally dissatisfied with the way our team played today, - Pia Schledorn, Team Germany’s Head Coach summarizes. – It might have been for the time difference as well – it is four hours. It is a lot for us, we have not overcome the jet lag yet, and it’s getting tough on the girls. I believe we will do much better in the games to follow. At least, I hope so.
GREECE-GREAT BRITAIN 13-6(5-0,1-1,3-3,4-2).
Although Great Britain is considered to be the founding nation of water polo in Europe, it has been a long time since representatives of the Albion succeeded in this sport. This game was not an exception: Team Great Britain stood up for three minutes of the first period, after which it got a very serious blow in the form of five goals scored by the Greek.
Without a doubt, Greece’s goalie Chrysoula Diamantopoulou can be called the heroine of the match with two five-meter shots denied. Meanwhile, the Greek felt comfortable in the offense, as well. Coming in strong in the fourth quarter, they brought the match to a 13-6 victory.
The closing game of the opening day of the Women’s European U-19 Water Polo Championship was the one most awaited for by the fans, as it was the first appearance of Team Russia. The hosts decided not to wait for their Turkish opponents to show their cards and enforced their own style and pace of play. It took Mikhail Nakoryakov’s players just twenty seconds to score their first. It was followed by loads of goals getting into the Turkish net with an incredible intensity. Team Russia’s total supremacy in every component of the game resulted in a record final score of 51-1.