The women’s water polo team is a semi-finalist and Olympic participant at the World Cup

The Hungarian women’s water polo team defeated the defending champions and European champions, the Dutch, 13-12, on Monday with the five-meter, thus reaching the top four at the World Championships in Doha, as well as securing the quota for the Paris Olympics.

Dorottya Szilágyi (l) and Maartje Keuning (b) of the Netherlands played in the quarter-finals of the women’s water polo tournament in the match between Hungary and the Netherlands at the World Water Championships in Doha on February 12, 2024. MTI/Tamás Kovács

Rita Keszthelyi scored three goals in regular time, which ended 8-8, while the five-meter duel was decided by Alda Magyari’s save in the fifth round.

The team of Attila Mihók and Sándor Cseh can thus surely play for a medal in the competition, in Wednesday’s semi-final they will meet the winner of the Italian-Greek duel.


women’s water polo tournament, quarter-finals:

Hungary-Netherlands 13-12 (1-1, 3-1, 1-2, 3-4, 5-4) – with five meters

scorers: Keszthelyi 3, Gurisatti, Szilágyi 2-2, Garda 1, and Moolhuijzen, L. Rogge 2-2, van der Sloot, van de Kraats, K. Rogge, Keuning 1-1

The two teams met a month ago during the group stage of the European Championship in Eindhoven, when the eventual winners triumphed 14-11.

The two “smallest” players, Kamilla Faragó and Szonja Kuna, were left out of the 15-man Hungarian squad – bearing in mind the expected enormous physical battle.

In Eindhoven, the Hungarians started with two missed chances, but now they started with an action goal, and Krisztina Garda, who has been “quieter” until now at the World Cup, bombed into the net of her former teammate from Dunaújváros, Laura Aarts. The Hungarians played their first goal well, but Natasa Rybanska pulled the ball into the goalkeeper from close range. On the other side, Alda Magyari had his first, psychologically important save. After a turnover, the captain Rita Keszthelyi could have increased the advantage, but Aarts saved the jump, and the Dutch equalized by selling their first man advantage. The rival’s second chance was already missed, Vanda Vályi blocked beautifully (1-1).

Aarts really caught the thread, in the middle of the second quarter he already had eight saves, but the Dutch team couldn’t find the rhythm in attack. The Hungarians finally broke the deadlock, Gréta Gurisatti bombed the ball to the meeting of the two goalposts, which bounced in. A similar solution was “chosen” by Dorottya Szilágyi, who shot into the net from the wing, using the help of the left post, after four or five passes. The rival scored for the second time two minutes before the break, Lieke Rogge converted the goal quickly. During the backstroke, the Dutch fell short, and in the end it became a double four, which Keszthelyi took advantage of (4-2).

After the turn, the Dutch missed four man advantage within four attacks, the Hungarians’ strength was completely consumed by the defense in these minutes. Magyari made great saves at that time, but Lola Moolhuijzen made a mistake on her shot. After a long time, the Hungarians also gained an advantage, Garda would have bombed over the head of the rival goalkeeper, but Aarts saved it with a tremendous feat. On the other side, Magyari again defended the big one at a disadvantage, but he proved powerless against Rogge’s five-meter. In front, Rybanska fought an exhibition, but Garda snapped over her. The Hungarians did not score a goal for about a quarter, when Rybanska brought the team to another level, and Szilágyi scored from the middle. The last attack of the half was played by the Dutch with a man advantage, but due to a bad cross pass, they didn’t even get a shot (5-4).

The final eight minutes started with missed opportunities on both sides, then the Hungarian team gained a man advantage, and Attila Mihók asked for time: Keszthelyi finished the game with another goal off the post. The Dutch narrowed the gap to a minimum, as they stole the ball, but the Hungarians got the ball from Aarts and it was a five-meter goal, which was sold by Keszthelyi. The rival scored at the end of another well-played advantage, but on the other side, there was not even a shot from the superiority in numbers. The Dutch were able to turn around when Garda saved perhaps the most beautiful defense of the World Cup. Gréta Gurisatti’s shot from the counterattack fortunately bounced off the block, so the ball went off the post and into the net.

The Dutch did not break away, they sold another man advantage, but Rebecca Parkes also delivered the exhibition, but Keszthelyi’s shot was blocked by Aarts. The ball remained with the Hungarians, this time they sent off a Dutchman from Rybanska, but again the final destination was Aarts. The Dutch were able to attack again with superior numbers a minute before the end, but the opportunity was missed, but the whistle remained silent against Parkes in front. The Dutch also came up with their goalkeeper for the last half minute and equalized eight seconds before the end (8-8). Attila Mihók asked for time, but it was not possible to get into a position, the five-meter players could come.

As a starter from Keszthely, he didn’t make any mistakes, nor did Bente Rogge. Garda shot into the right side of the goal and so did van der Sloot. Parkes shot into the net with a quick move and van de Kraats shot over Magyari’s cap. Rybanska confidently clicked into the net, Sleeking was also cool. Máté Zsuzsanna didn’t make a mistake either, but Magyari saved Lieke Rogge’s attempt, thus bringing the team to the semi-finals and the Olympics.

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