A recovered Spanish side beats Hungary again to claim the bronze medal
The women’s Spanish team recovered from the blow received in the semifinals against Greece with a victory over Hungary this afternoon at the Picornell Pool to finish third and win the bronze medal at Barcelona 2018. The final score was (12-6) in favor of the Spanish side in a match that exhibited superior water polo than what they demonstrated in their matchup during the group stage, in which Spain won by four goals. Awaiting the men’s final tomorrow, in which Spain will go home with a medal around their neck, Spanish water polo has already triumphed at the European Water Polo Championships Barcelona 2018 that are about to come to an end.
For the team coached by Miki Oca it’s the third medal achieved at the European Championships after their previous success in Malaga 2008, where they went home with the silver medal, and in Budapest 2014, were they were crowned continental champions. Up to date Spain had participated three times in the third-place match of the women’s competition, losing all three of them: they fell against the Netherlands in 1997, then against Hungary in Sevilla 2006, and they were defeated by Italy in the 2016 edition of the competition.
However, today Oca’s girls got off to a strong start in the match as just a couple of minutes into the first quarter Spain was already leading (4-0) on the scoreboard as they finished the first period with a comfortable (5-1) advantage. Laura Ester was unbeatable, Anni Espar was back on track (she scored twice in the first quarter) and other players that usually have a lesser role in attack have stepped up, such as Mati Ortiz, Anna Gual, and Pili Peña. By the halftime break the Spanish side was commanding the game (6-3).
Moving on, after the break, Spain killed off any chance of a Hungarian comeback with a (4-0) partial score in the third quarter. No other team was capable of piercing the net on more than nine occasions against Hungary, but Spain did it twice, scoring 13 in the opening matchday of the group stage and then netting 12 times in today’s game.
With only one match remaining in the women’s competition of Barcelona 2018, Bea Ortiz is leading the top-scorers charts. With the goal scored against Hungary today, she has 25 goals to her name as she has a solid lead over her closest followers, who are the Russian players Ekaterina Prokofieva (23) and Anastasia Simanovich (22), and the Italian ace Arianna Garibotti (21), who all have played their last match in the competition already.
Hungary, who have participated in every edition of the European Championships, and have racked up 13 medals (three gold, five silver, and five bronze), have had a disappointing result at Barcelona 2018. A similar situation to that of their men’s team, who will play against Russia tomorrow for the 7th spot in the men’s competition.