Spain, Netherlands Reprise World Champs Final by Winning European Championships Semis

Judith Forca at the 2023 World Championships; Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Giorgio Scala

Spain, Netherlands Reprise World Champs Final by Winning European Championships Semis

Spain and Netherlands will meet in the final of another women’s water polo tournament, this time at the European Championships in Eindhoven.

Spain booked its place with ease Thursday at the Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium with a 13-5 decision over Greece. The Netherlands joined them by edging Italy, 7-6.

The Dutch beat Spain in group play in Fukuoka, 7-6, before prevailing in the penalty shootout, 12-12 (5-4) for the country’s second world title.

Martina Terre stifled the Greeks in the Spanish net with 11 saves on 16 shots. She helped Spain get out to a 4-1 lead after a quarter from which they never looked back.

Ten players scored for Spain. Judith Forca led the way with three goals. Beatriz Ortiz tallied twice.

The Dutch and Italians authored a classic. Sabrina van der Sloot’s goal with 1:54 left gave the Netherlands a 7-5 lead, the first multi-goal lead for either side. Roberta Bianconi answered with 70 seconds left, and after Simone van de Kraats missed a chance to ice the game in the final minute, Lieke Rogge came up with a vital block to secure the win.

Van der Sloot, van de Kraats and Maartje Keuning scored twice each, van der Sloot adding an assist. Laura Aarts made eight stops between the posts. The Dutch blocked seven shots, Italy scoring six times on 28 shots.

Six different Italians scored. Silvia Avegno had a goal and an assist. Caterina Banchelli made eight saves.

France defeated Croatia, 12-10, in the 5-8th classification, thanks to three goals apiece from Orsolya Hertzka and Ema Vernoux plus 12 saves from Mia Rycraw. It’ll take on Hungary for fifth place after it routed Great Britain, 21-5, thanks to five Rita Keszthelyi goals.

That leaves Croatia playing Great Britain for seventh place on Friday, the tournament’s final day.

Germany beat Czechia, 15-12, to win 11th place behind five goals each from Belen Vossberg and Gesa Deike. Israel captured ninth place, beating Serbia 13-12 thanks to Maria Mia Bogachenko’s goal with 45 seconds left after Israel trailed twice in the fourth quarter.

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