Water polo women European champion after sensational final against Spain (8-7)

The Dutch water polo women have become European champions in Eindhoven. In a reprise of last summer’s World Cup final, Spain was defeated 8-7 in a full Pieter van den Hoogenband swimming stadium. 

National coach Evangelos Doudesis visibly booed from the buzz of celebration that ensued after the final whistle. ,,It was sensation in a beautiful final between the two best teams in the world. It was an ‘All Star Game,'” the winning coach reflected.

Both teams were, as expected, evenly matched. In the first period, Spanish goalkeeper Martina Terre Marti was a big ‘stand in the way’ for the Dutch attackers. Spain led 2-0 at halftime, but two minutes before time Simone van de Karats hit a penalty throw. ,,You know it stays close. I thought the match was similar to the World Cup match against Spain in the pool phase,” said the maker of the 2-1.

An unleashed Laura Aarts turned away one Spanish goal attempt after another in the second period. It clearly gave the team, helped by the supportive crowd, wings. From the center forward position, Kitty Lynn Joustra equalized (2-2). Moments later, she tapped in the 3-2. Sabrina van der Sloot fired in a man more (4-3). Vivian Sevenich put the 5-3 on the scoreboard with a shot from the second line.

Spain showed resilience in the third quarter and came back to 5-5. Via the inside of the post, Lieke Rogge’s 6-5 flew in. In the final quarter, Van der Sloot made it 7-6 with a true “panna. Two minutes before time Spain came alongside with one more player. Six seconds before time, Bente Rogge fired in the winning goal. ,,It was really bizarre. During the timeout I was already swimming to the side for a change. Eva told me to stay down, so I could do nothing but bang on goal. Great”, jubilated the matchwinner. Sister Lieke thought it was all “fantastic. ,,You hear the cheers from the stands and feel that everyone is behind you. I enjoyed it.”

Netherlands – Spain 8-7 (1-2, 4-1, 1-2, 2-2)

Goals Netherlands: Kitty Lynn Joustra 2, Sabrina van der Sloot 2, Simone van de Karats 1, Vivian Sevenich 1, Lieke Rogge 1, Bente Rogge 1.