The Hungarian women’s water polo team beat the defending and European champion Netherlands 13-12 on Monday to reach the best four at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha and qualify for the Paris Olympics.
Rita Keszthelyi was the best scorer in the 8-8 regular time with three goals, while the five-meter duel was decided by Alda Magyari’s save in the fifth round. The team of Attila Mihók and Sándor Cseh will now play for a medal in the tournament, meeting the winner of the Italian-Greek match in Wednesday’s semi-final.
The two teams met a month ago in the group stage of the European Championship in Eindhoven, where the hosts triumphed 14-11.
Dorottya Szilágyi (R) and Maartje Keuning (L). Photo: MTI/Kovács Tamás
Attila Mihók, the co-captain of the women’s water polo team, said that the team has become an exemplary team in recent times.
Everybody knows how far and deep we have come from, this team has been through a lot mentally and physically. I thank my players for believing in what we call the other side of the coin.
They have taken the effort and the will to become an exemplary team also on the level of human relations. This success today probably came from that,” said Attila Mihók after the match.
The co-captain said that it had been an extremely intense two months for the team to win the Olympic quota, and that the main task of the professional staff that took over after the Fukuoka World Championships was to achieve this. “Now we are celebrating a little, but tomorrow morning we will concentrate on other tasks.
So far we wanted to qualify for the Olympics, but now we want to win a World Championship medal (…),”
he said, adding that he was not concerned about the criticism he had received after the poor performance at the European Championships in Eindhoven, where the team finished fifth.
One of the biggest goals of the match was scored by Hungarian team’s Greta Gurisatti, who felt they could not lose the match: “I felt all along that we deserved it more, our defense was so good.” She added that in her opinion no team since the European Championship has worked as hard as Hungary.
Perhaps one of the finest defensive performances of the entire World Championships came from Krisztina Garda, who scored Hungary’s first goal in the 13-12 win:
It was a sensational game, a great team effort. We put our hearts and souls into the defense and scored sensational goals in attack. We did not falter for a moment, and at the end we were convinced that this was our game, whatever would happen,”
said Garda, adding that she was particularly pleased to have secured Olympic qualification by reaching the best four.
Hungary will play in the semi-finals on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
Via MTI, Featured image: MTI/Kovács Tamás