Great Britain Under-17 girls suffered heartache against the hosts on Friday night in Nice as they narrowly lost 13-12 (2-2, 4-2, 2-3, 5-5) to France.
The result means France top Group A with six points and GB will need to beat Switzerland on Sunday (8am UK time) and hope results go their way elsewhere.
France still have to play the Czech Republic, who are also vying for a top-two finish, so there’s a chance it could come down to goal difference – if the French win all their remaining games.
In tonight’s opening quarter against France the honours were even as it ended 2-2.
GB worked hard in the second and scored twice, but the home side seemed buoyant and found the target four times to edge in front 6-4 at half-time.
Spurred on by the lively GB support, the girls responded by winning the third quarter 3-2 to make it a one-goal game at 8-7 going into the final period.
That good work continued in the fourth as GB soon levelled to make it 8-8, but back came the French with two quick goals to make it 10-8.
With 3:50 remaining, GB again dug deep to make it 10-9 and set up a frantic finale.
There was still time for six more goals, but it was France who came out on top, winning a very tight game 13-12.
Goalscorers and squad for Great Britain Under-17s v France Under 17s: Hayley Price, Lucy Shaw, Bethany Ward, Larissa Partridge, Grace Rowland (4), Fleur Kennedy (1), Hannah Edwards (1), Mhairi Nurthen, Izzy Dean (1), Katherine Rogers (1), Verity McCoy (2), Danica Brazier (2) & Sophie Jackson.
Overall tournament goalscorers for Great Britain Under-17s: Grace Rowland (10), Izzy Dean (7), Fleur Kennedy (6), Danica Brazier (6), Lucy Shaw (5), Katherine Rogers (4), Hannah Edwards (4), Bethany Ward (2), Verity McCoy (2).
Standings after France game
(Top two qualify for Baku 2015 European Games)
Women’s Under-17 European Baku 2015 Games
Water Polo Qualification Tournament, Nice, France
(Top two teams qualify for Baku)
Thursday, 12 March 2015:
18:00 Portugal 3-26 Great Britain
19:15 France 25-2 Switzerland
Friday, 13 March 2015:
09:00 Portugal 5-4 Switzerland
10:15 Czech Republic 8-8 Great Britain
18:00 Czech Republic 14-6 Portugal
19:15 France 13-12 Great Britain
Saturday, 14 March 2015
18:00 Switzerland v Czech Republic
19:15 France v Portugal
Sunday, 15 March 2015:
09:00 Switzerland v Great Britain
10:15 France v Czech Republic
Referees: CAN CIGER Gökhan (TUR); GERASIMOV Ognian (BUL); KUNIKOVA Martina (SVK); MATACHE Radu Sorin (ROU); RADICEVIC Vlaho (CRO)
(Thanks to Chris Dean)