DAY 7: Final clash between Spain and Netherlands, Serbia to play for 7th spot
Serbia, the host of the Women’s European Junior Water Polo Championship, will on Sunday play against Russia since today it suffered a loss to Great Britain, 10:8, after the penalty shootout. Russia was defeated by Italy, 14:13.
The final match will be a face-off between the national teams of Netherlands and Spain, which overpowered Hungary, 8:3, i.e. Greece, 10:7.
British ladies took a 1:0 lead at the beginning of the clash with Serbia, and achieved a big advantage in the second period when they first doubled the advantage after a successful penalty, and then added two more (4:0). Serbian squad stepped up its game in the final minutes of the first half and brought down the deficit to two (4:2). In the third period, a long scoreless period followed, even though Serbia had an extra player on three occasions. The last minutes of that quarter saw the hosting team being down by one on two occasions (3:4, 4:5) and they even managed to take over the lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter (6:5). However, with 85 seconds left on the clock, Great Britain took the match to a penalty shootout. Andjela Petrovic blocked the first shot, but after that, all British shooters were successful, while two hosting players missed their shots. Katy Cutler was the top scorer with three goals, whereas Lara Luka and Nadja Novakovic netted two for Serbia.
The other classification match for places 5-8 saw a finish filled with suspense as well, although Italian ladies had a big advantage during the entire game. In the second part of the first quarter, the Italians went ahead 4:1. They continued their shooting series in the second quarter and had a 6:1 lead in the middle of that period. Russian squad was able to gradually decrease the difference and the halftime result was 7:5. Russia later quickly cuts the deficit to one, but Italia put up resistance and again achieved a bigger advantage which they kept until the middle of the last period. That was when Russian girls went from being 14:9 down to a one-goal deficit, 14:13, but failed to equalize. The winning team’s top scorer was Beatrice Clementi with four goals, while Regina Galimzianova and Polina Popova excelled with three for Russia.
The first semifinal game saw the Netherlands convincingly beat Hungary, 8:3, and advance to the finals. The Dutch ladies found their own rhythm at the very beginning and were constantly increasing the difference. They had a 4:1 lead already after eight minutes of play, and then went ahead 6:1 in the middle of the second quarter. This was followed by less often scoring, which suited the Netherlands. Hungary was not able to come closer in spite of having had an extra player on several occasions. Lieke Rogge and Maxine Schaap each scored a pair for the Netherlands.
The Dutch team will clash for gold with Spain, which confidently beat Greece, 10:7, in the other semifinal match. The Greeks immediately at the start took the lead, but Spain took over thanks to Alejandra Aznar’s goals, and later even achieved a 3:1 lead. However, it was a big struggle until the halftime. After several minutes of play in the second period, the result was 3:3, and it was not until the final moments of the first half that Aznar brought a new lead to Spain (4:3). Crucial was the third quarter when Spanish squad achieved a five-goal lead (9:4). Greece was unable to overcome that difference, even though they threatened by bringing down the deficit to two (9:7) with two minutes left on the clock. Aznar was the most efficient player with three goals, while Vasiliki Douli led Greece with two goals.
Serbia – Great Britain 8:10 (0:1, 2:3, 2:1, 2:1 – 2:4)
Russia – Italy 13:14 (1:4, 4:3, 3:3, 5:4)
Netherlands – Hungary 8:3 (4:1, 2:1, 1:0, 1:1)
Spain – Greece 10:7 (3:2, 1:1, 5:1, 1:3)