Day of double defeat for Greece at water polo’s European Championships

The men’s national water polo team was defeated by Spain last night in a quarterfinal clash at the European Championships in Belgrade. It was Spain’s third successive victory over Greece, this time with a 12-10 score. Greece will now meet Romania, a 9-6 loser to Italy yesterday, in an encounter that will determine fifth and sixth places at the tournament. In women’s competition, Greece, represented by a youthful squad, ended sixth after being edged out by the Netherlands with a 12-11 score. The closely contested game, which needed to go into extra time for the deadlock to be broken, was determined by fine details, highlighting the young Greek squad’s relative inexperience. It was a topsy-turvy affair with both teams holding the lead, temporarily, throughout the game. Coach Koulis Iosifidis will be hoping that this nascent team’s experience at the Europeans will help guide its efforts in future competition. The Greek women found themselves ahead by a slender one goal but the Netherlands equalized at 9-9 with less than four minutes to go. The contestants scored a goal apiece in the extra time period’s first of two three-minute intervals. The Dutch snatched victory by outscoring Greece 2-1 in extra time’s second half. «There’s going to be more from this team. It has a future. We’ve got the World Championships ahead of us, and you’re going to see an even better team there,» noted goalkeeper Maria Tsouri, one of Greece’s leading performers in yesterday’s game. Teammate Angeliki Gerolymou, attributed Greece’s defeat against the Netherlands to personal errors. «They cost us dearly,» said Gerolymou. «We fought hard until the very end of this game, but as you saw, it was decided by details.»