All posts in FINA Budapest 2017

Spain couldn’t beat the United States and got a silver medal that looked like a victory

 

Miki Oca’s squad got silver medal in the World Championships after losing the final against the United States. The American team confirmed its condition of unbeaten, clinching the second World gold in a row. After winning gold medal in Barcelona 2013, this is the second best place ever for Spain Women’s National Team in World Championships.

Everybody knew from the beginning that beating the United States was a very tough challenge. But the Spanish warriors got more confidence as the tournament advanced, while the team coached by Adam Krikorian didn’t seem to be performing at its best.

As for the game, Spain kept the odds to win intact until the half time, but the last two quarters put an end to any hope by the Spaniards. The second period finished 5-3, but Spain never took the lead on the scoreboard, and the only moment it got close was when it tied 3-3 in the second quarter.

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The Spaniards, silver medal / FINA

Silver usually feels bitter, but this time it was deemed a success from the very first moment, rather than a failure. New talents are popping up on the Spanish side, and with an average age of 23, the future of this amazing group looks bright. Paula Leitón got awarded the best center-forward of the tournament with only 17 years old and players such as Bea Ortiz, Paula Crespí or Ana Gual are gaining prominence.

This is a second place that reaffirms the high level of Spanish water polo and shows to the World that Spain is a leading country on this discipline. The next big challenge for Miki Oca’s warriors will be next summer in Barcelona. The 33rd LEN European Water Polo Championships Barcelona will be a great opportunity for both the Men’s and Women’s National teams to aim at medals with the supporters cheering up from the stands.

 

Photo credit: FINA

They had already made history getting into the top 4 after defeating Greece on penalties. But yesterday, with a great performance against Canada (12-10), the Spanish warriors showed their eagerness for more medals and clinched a spot on the final of the World Championships.

Spain dominated the game from start to finish, except for the last minutes of the fourth quarter, when Canada made a comeback up to 10-9, 4 minutes before the final whistle. Ana Gual and Bea Ortiz, as well as the goalkeeper Laura Ester, were the most valuable players of Miki Oca’s squad.

The defense that worked so well for Canada to defeat the Hungary, turned out a failure against Spain. The Spaniards realized from the first moment that one of the Canadian defenders was acting as second gatekeeper, leaving one Spanish player alone. Canada never took into account how good is Spain at long-distance shoots and Ortiz and Gual capitalized on that with 3 and 5 goals respectively.

Players that don’t usually have an important role scoring goals, stepped forward in this aspect. That was the case of Marta Bach or Clara Espar, who scored one goal each and paved the way of our warriors towards the final.

The United States is the very last obstacle until the gold medal. Next Friday at 20:30, the Spanish warriors will face the though American squad for second time on this World Championships. This time, though, they expect a different outcome, with the clear intention of repeating the gold medal that that they got 4 years ago in Barcelona. Yesterday’s victory positions Spain as the best team in Europe once again.

The Men’s team finished 9th place after defeating Japan (13-11). David Martin’s squad still has a lot more room for improvement. Next big challenge will be next year in the LEN European Championships in Barcelona.

 

Photo credit: FINA

The Spain Women’s Water Polo National Team reached the semifinals yesterday after beating Greece at the penalty shoot out. After a very tough game in which Greece took the lead since the very beginning, Spain tied the game 5 seconds before the final whistle (10-10). Judit Forca, top goal scorer of Miki Oca’s squad, scored on a men down situation with a very nice shot.

Apart from the leftie Forca, Bea Ortiz led the team in terms of the scoring. The former CN Rubí player and one of the images of Barcelona International Water Polo Academy (BIWPA), hit 5 times the Greek net and became a key figure to clinch the victory for the Spanish national team. With Anni Espar pulling the strings, Spain made it through the quarter finals with an exhibition of strength and courage.

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The Spanish players, celebrating a goal / FINA

At the penalty shootout, two figures popped up with great performances. Laura Ester, who saved the last penalty, and Helena Lloret, who scored the last penalty with an unstoppable shot that got into the goal with a little suspense.

On the other hand, Canada defeated the host team Hungary unexpectedly (4-6) and will be the next rival for Spain on its way to the final. The girls will have the chance to fight for a medal no matter what happens at the semifinal, which can be considered already as a success and a very important milestone for this group of athletes. Whatever happens in the next game, this is the second best result ever achieved on a World Championships for Spain women’s water polo, except for the gold medal in Barcelona 2013.

Congratulations for keeping up the good work and a special shoutout to our BIWPA ambassador Anni Espar, and to Clara Espar and Bea Ortiz, BIWPA collaborators.