Though Spain forced a tight match in the European U17 Junior Women’s Water Polo Championships final, Hungary still sailed away with an 11-8 win to secure another gold medal for this generation of players.
The Hungarian class of 2006-2007 remained unbeaten in the past three years while finishing atop at the U15 European Water Polo Championships in 2021, at the U16 World Water Polo Championships in 2022 and now at the U17 European Water Polo Championships in Manisa, Turkey.
Overall Final 2023 Women’s U17 European Water Polo Championships Results from Manisa, Turkey Final: Spain v Hungary 8-11.
Bronze medal: Greece v Italy 7-6.
For places 5-6th: Israel v Netherlands 4-6.
For places 7-8th: Croatia v Turkiye 12-10.
13. Great Britain
17. Ukraine After breathing through the prelims, Hungary had a rematch first with Italy in the semis (won by six again), then they faced Spain once more, after a 15-8 rout in the opening round. However, unlike the semi-final, the gold medal match unfolded differently. At least in the first half Spain managed to hold off the Hungarian scoring machine, limiting them to three goals so it stood 3-3 at halftime. What’s more, two minutes into the third, the challengers took the lead again at 4-3 from a 6 on 5. Then… the Magyars got going – two fine action goals in 35 seconds kicked in the engine and after killing a woman-down, they added two more in just 17 seconds. Then again, the Spaniards were denied in their 6 on 5, the ensuing counter ended in a penalty, Kata Hajdu – member of Hungary’ senior World Championship team – buried it. In 3:13 minutes the Magyars virtually had it, thanks to their 5-0 rush. Though Spain bounced back somewhat, netted two from their following two possessions, but Panna Tiba reset the three-goal gap 23 seconds before the last break. And they hit another one right away in the fourth to go 6-10 up. Spain tried to stage a late surge, but they needed three more minutes to pull one back, then were unable to come any closer. Instead, the Hungarians could force a penalty with 2:37 remaining, Hajdu converted it again, it was her 4th in the match, and at 7-11 it was over. A late goal for Spain gave them something to cheer for but this championship ended the same way as the previous two for the class of 2006-2007: Hungary finished atop, expanding their unbeaten run for three years, an amazing feat. Greece edged out Italy for the bronze – it was a balanced battle till the end. Just like the final, this match also stood 3-3 at halftime, then the Greeks gained a two-goal lead, but the Italians managed to level the score in 30 seconds late in the third. While Italy missed a couple of crucial extras, the Greeks could score twice from their dying 6 on 5s to go 7-5 up and this time their rivals couldn’t come back to even. They pulled one back with 2:44 on the clock but the equaliser never came in the remaining time. The Netherlands had some tough moments before they could prevail against Israel while Croatia could down Turkiye in a match of twists and turns. The hosts could come back from 6-1 down to 8-8 by the end of the third, but the Croats hit three early in the fourth leaving no second chance for the home side which had become the first team in the new two-division format which managed to bring down the opponent from the top-flight in the crossovers. LEN water polo action continues in three days’ time when the boys’ U17 Europeans kick off at the same site in Manisa. For more details, visit https://len.microplustimingservices.com/LENU17WPC2023W/index_web.php?cal=1