Reigning World Champ Netherlands Adds European Women’s Water Polo Title

Lieke Rogge of the Netherlands; Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

Reigning World Champ Netherlands Adds European Women’s Water Polo Title

Bente Rogge scored on the man advantage with six seconds left to send the Netherlands to an 8-7 win over Spain at the European Women’s Water Polo Championships in Eindhoven on Saturday.

It’s the second time the Dutch haven beaten Spain in a title match this year, with the Netherlands winning in a penalty shootout, 12-12 (5-4), for the world title in Fukuoka.

Lieke Rogge had scored in the final minute of the third quarter to give the Dutch a 6-5 lead at the Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium. Paula Leiton evened the game at six early in the fourth. Sabrina Van der Sloot’s extra-player goal with 3:52 left nudged the Dutch ahead, but Maica Garcia knotted the game at 7 with 1:48 left.

Lieke Rogge hit the post with her shot on the next possession. Simone van de Kraats came up with a steal to end Spain’s next possession, and with the exclusion drawn and a timeout, the Dutch worked it to Bente Rogge to bury the winner.

Spain got a look from six meters to win it, but Elena Ruiz’s effort sailed wide.

Kitty-Lynn Joustra was the lone Dutch player with multiple goals at two. Brigitte Sleeking dished two assists. Laura Aarts made came up with nine saves.

Beatriz Ortiz Munoz scored twice for Spain and set up the Garcia goal. The Dutch held high-powered Judit Forca to just 1-for-7 shooting, and Spain was just 7-for-28 shooting as a team. That included 1-for-6 on extra-player chances. Martina Terre made seven saves for Spain.

Netherlands had finished fourth in each of the last two European women’s water polo championships after winning it all in Spain in 2018. The Dutch have six titles overall, but four were from 1993 and before. It’s the 13th medal in 20 tournaments.

Spain was denied its third straight title, after winning the 2020 and 2024 competitions. The Spanish have medaled for the fourth straight European women’s water polo championships and haven’t finished worse than fourth since 2012.

Greece edged Italy, 7-6, for third place. The Greeks led 5-2 after three sedate quarters before Italy exploded for four goals in the fourth to tie the game. Nikoleta Eleftheriadou won it with 3:30 left.

Eleftheriadou had a goal and an assist. Alexandra Asimaki scored twice as the Greeks survived a 7-for-25 shooting performance. (Italy was 6-for-27.) Ioanna Stamatopoulou stopped six shots.

Roberta Bianconi scored twice in the fourth for Italy. Caternia Banchelli stopped eight shots.

Hungary finished fifth by routing France, 14-3. Rita Keszthelyi dominated with six goals and two assists. Boglarka Neszmely was just about unbeatable, making 13 saves on 16 shots.

Great Britain scored the final four goals of the game to beat Croatia, 11-9, and match the program’s best finish in seventh (from 2012). Cecily Turner scored the game-winner with 43 seconds left, her fourth of the game, and Katherine Rogers contributed the first two goals to that 4-0 run. Rogers recorded a hat trick.

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