The women’s teams of the Netherlands and Croatia were responsible for kicking off the European Water Polo Championships Barcelona 2018. They played the first of 92 games scheduled for the competition. As was expected, the Netherlands were victorious, winning 21-1.
The abysmal difference between the rivals was evident throughout the course of the match. The Netherlands have enjoyed plenty of success in previous editions of the Championships, winning the competition on four occasions, while Croatia has only participated in the event on two previous editions, with an 8th place in Zagreb 2010 being their best result so far.
Since the beginning of the match the superiority of the “orange” team, finalists in the 2014 and 2016 editions of the Championships and serious contenders to win the title after their second-place finish in the World League Super Final earlier this year, was evident. The partial scores were as follows: 6-0, 5-0, 3-1, 7-0.
The Croatian team lead by Dragan Matutinovic, former coach of the men’s Spanish water polo team back in 1992, had a harsh introduction to the competition, but it wasn´t unexpected as their previous record against the Netherlands is less than flattering. Earlier this year they lost 25-6 against them.
As this was the first match of the competition, we kept track of some important statistics:
First quarter: 6-0 (Netherlands)
First Goal: Sabrina van der Sloot (Netherlands)
First exclusion: Maud Megens (Netherlands)
First penalty scored: Sabrina van der Sloot (Netherlands)
First own goal: Emmi Miljkovic (Croatia)