Wins for Great Britain, Germany, Serbia and Czechia on opening day 

Credit: European Aquatics

After all the close and exciting drama in Croatia on Thursday, it was Eindhoven’s turn on Friday, and the morning session didn’t disappoint as a series of entertaining encounters saw Czechia, Serbia, Great Britain and Germany emerge with victories. 

Group C: Romania 12-13 Czechia, Serbia 13-6 Türkiye 

Group D: Slovakia 7-12 Great Britain, Germany 29-9 Bulgaria 

In the opening game of the women’s tournament, Czechia produced a sensational second half to edge Group C rivals Romania 12-13. 

The honour of scoring the first goal at this historic championships fell to Czechia’s Josefina Hola, who fired in a penalty after 70 seconds of play. 

Romania, making only their second European Championships appearance, looked the more assured though in the early stages and took a 5-2 lead with Alina-Ioana Olteanu scoring three in the second period. 

Czechia regrouped and came out strong in the third, and anything Olteanu could do, so could Hola, who led the attack well, scoring three in the third to help level the scores at 8-8. 

The lead kept switching hands in a frantic final quarter and when Romania made it 12-12 with 13 seconds remaining, it looked like penalties would be needed to separate the two sides. 

But Barbora Kilianova had other ideas, and had the Czechs celebrating as she hit the net with only four seconds left to take all the points. 

Credit: European Aquatics

Friday’s second Group C game saw Serbia blow Türkiye away with a 9-0 blast that started in the second quarter after they trailed 2-3. 

Türkiye may have taken an early lead, but they struggled to get past Serbia’s stubborn defence, and there was 17 minutes and 38 seconds of play between Türkiye’s third and fourth goal, which eventually came early in the final period. 

By then, at 11-4, the contest was over and Serbia ran out comfortable 13-6 winners. 

In Group D, Great Britain enjoyed a powerful and winning return to the European Championships after a long decade away. 

It was their opponents, Slovakia, who maybe looked more like the team returning from the international wilderness as they were on the backfoot from the very start. 

Great Britain took just over a minute to reopen their European account and never looked back, hitting five unanswered goals in a one-sided opening quarter as they stormed into a 1-5 lead. 

That lead stretched to an unassailable 1-8 by the turnaround and it was only then that Slovakia began to have some joy, winning the third and fourth periods 3-2. 

Great Britain captain Kathy Rogers top scored with three in the 7-12 victory, while there was also a goal for Vicki Hawkins, who is the only member of the GB squad that also played at the 2012 European Championships in Eindhoven. 

Credit: European Aquatics

In the morning’s final game, Germany proved far too strong for Bulgaria, who are making their first appearance at the European Championships. 

Germany piled on the pressure from the beginning and slammed home 10 goals in the opening eight minutes to take full control of the game. 

Anna Gesheva will go down in the record books as the first ever Bulgarian women to score at these Championships, as she made no mistake with a penalty two minutes and 48 seconds into the game. 

But ultimately, it was a tough debut for Bulgaria, who conceded another nine in the second period and ended up suffering a heavy 29-9 defeat.