Greece has moved one step closer to a first-ever Women’s European Water Polo Championship title after beating five-time champions Italy in the semi-finals in Split.
Eirini Ninou scored three as the three-time runners-up overcame the Italian team with a 12-9 triumph in the Croatian city.
Eleftheria Plevritou, Vasiliki Plevritou, and Eleni Xenaki all bagged braces while Ioanna Chydirioti, Maria Patra, and Christina Siouti also got on the scoresheet.
The Greeks’ spirited and really disciplined performance against Italy brought them a two-goal lead by halftime.
Soon, in the third, a minor collapse in Italy’s defense gave the Greeks a 9-5 lead and from that point on, they simply cruised to victory.
Some of their players celebrated with tears in their eyes. The Greeks had more downs than ups recently, didn’t make any semis since the 2018 Europeans, missed the Olympics, and fell at the Worlds in the quarters this past June—only to come back big here in Split.
Greece, who has won three silver medals in 2010, 2012, and 2018 in the European Championship has secured a meeting with two-time winners Spain who continued their defense with a 10-7 win over The Netherlands.
Elena Ruiz Barril was the difference for Spain, scoring four times as they did enough to beat a spirited Dutch team.
Greece defeat Italy 𝟭𝟮-𝟵 🔥
A superb team effort helps Greece 🇬🇷 qualify for their fourth European final since 2010.
Watch the semi-final highlights 👇 pic.twitter.com/OBDiGbZ4tG
— LEN – European Aquatics (@LENaquatics) September 7, 2022
Greece has emerged as a leading force in water polo
Since the mid-1990s, Greece has emerged as one of the leading powers in the world, becoming World Champions after their gold medal win at the 2011 World Championship.
They have also won the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, the gold medal at the 2005 World League, three silver medals at the 2010, 2012, and 2018 European Championships, and the gold medal at the 2018 Europa Cup.
The Greece men’s national water polo team also has a long tradition of strong presence at the international level, with their major successes being the two bronze medals won at the World Championship in 2005 and 2015.
The Greeks have also won a silver medal at the World Cup in 1997, three bronze medals at the World League in 2004, 2006, and 2016, as well as one silver (2018) and four bronze medals (1951, 1991, 1993, 2013) at the Mediterranean Games.
In July 2022, Greece won the bronze medal at the water polo FINA World Championships held in Hungary after beating Croatia 9-7.
Greece, which narrowly missed the final after losing to World Champions Italy on Friday 11-10, put up a stellar performance to outclass Croatia and claim another medal in international competitions.