Today, the games of the Women’s European U-19 Water Polo Championship determined the teams that will compete for the medals. But before the pairs for the two finals were known, the fans witnessed two semifinals of extreme tension.
The first participant of the final was determined today with Hungary facing Greece. A battle of two national teams and a competition of two different styles – the agile play of the Greeks versus the positional manoeuvers of Hungarian players. The first period failed to single out a clear leader – the scoreboard showed an absolute equality of the opponents. But in the second, the Hungarians outlined their advantage. The Greeks had excellent chances to equalize the game after penalties for their rivals, but Greece’s power play percentage in this match was a disaster. Despite the desperate attempts of the Greek players to battle, they had to yield to the Hungarians - 5-8 (3-3,0-2,1-1,1-2). Thus, tomorrow Greece will play for the bronze, while Hungary will take a shot at the gold of the Old World.
The climax of the day was, without a doubt, the second semifinal between Team Italy and Team Russia. These squads already met at the group stage, and the Italian players won by the shortest of margins then. Today, Mikhail Nakoryakov’s players were determined to take revenge. Even more so, as they had no room for mistake any more – the loser would compete in the consolation final for the bronze. The first eight minutes of play bring a tie to the scoreboard – 2-2, but the equal score lasts only until the intermission. In the second quarter Russia takes the lead, and the Italians have to put up with the role of those chasing until the end of the game. 8-4 (2-2,2-0,2-0,2-2) for Team Russia that will face Team Hungary in the final match of the Women’s European U-19 Water Polo Championship tomorrow.
Teams from the Netherlands and France were the first today to play for positions 5-8 at the Women’s European U-19 Water Polo Championship. Having overcome the disappointment of losing in the quarterfinal, the Dutch players had only one aim for this game – to win. And the French did not have a good time during this battle. Pushing the opponents almost to the middle of the field of play and blocking all approaches to their own net, the Dutch athletes left the French with only one opportunity – to shoot from the distance. As for the ladies with tulips on their swimming suits, they had much more offensive options, which lead Team Netherlands to a 15-6 (4-0,3-1,3-4,5-1) win.
Team Spain that lost yesterday’s dramatic quarterfinal to Greece, took on Team GB today. The Spanish players simply kept the representatives of the Albion from doing anything worthy. The British, tired out by the endless struggle for position, could not even score from the penalty shot line, though the referee pointed to the five-meter mark at the Spanish net twice. As a result, Team Spain kept its property untouched winning 9-0(3-0,1-0,3-0,2-0).
Another game of the day brought together Ukraine and Germany. Representatives of the Bundesteam were not satisfied with their performance at the group stage, therefore victory was the only goal for their last matches. The game against the Ukrainian squad was no exception. The German players took the initiative in their hands from the very beginning making sure they have a confident advantage in the first period. The Germans spent the remaining playing time with the same level of focus bringing the game to a victory - 11-5 (4-1,3-1,3-1,1-2).