Dutch water polo players have already played in four games at the Olympics, but the competition actually starts for them on Tuesday. The team of national coach Arno Havenga will take part in the quarterfinals against Hungary, where Orange has failed frequently in recent years. With one win, the Orange team can compete for medals, with two games from defeat to fifth to eighth. “It’s going to start now,” Havenga said.
Of the ten countries participating in the water polo tournament, eight teams have qualified for the quarterfinals. Four team matches are essentially to achieve a ranking in the group. The Orange finished third in Group A, winning three of their last four matches, and now face second in Group B of Hungary. The country was able to beat the top favorite USA (10-9). However, the Hungarian women also drew against Russia and lost to China, finishing second behind the USA USA.
“We thought we were going to play against the United States, but it turned out to be Hungary,” said Simone van de Groats, 20, who scored the highest score of the tournament with nineteen goals. “It doesn’t matter who we meet now. Whether it’s the United States, Hungary, China or Russia, we’re going to face a final day. We have to play our top, otherwise we will not finish this match.
Havenga supports this. “We all know that America is more or less the same as the others. But they have already lost this match once, and two weeks ago we won a friendly game against them in Ciba. So we can not say that we are happy to avoid them. We will not think of ourselves. Hungary is a tough enemy, we have to work hard. They will be favorites too, because our record against Hungary is not so good. “
Water polo players lost in a training match in Budapest in March. A few weeks ago, Hungary was also very strong in the final of the Olympic qualifiers in Trieste, where both countries qualified for Tokyo. At last year’s European Championships, the Orange team had to face Hungary 10-8 in the battle for bronze.
According to Havenga, blocking goals will be the biggest challenge. “We left a lot of easy goals. With Hungary we now have a very attacking team, with two excellent midfielders and Rita Castelli being the real leader of the team.” The national coach does not yet know which goalkeeper, Debbie Willems or Jon Gonders should stop beating the Hungarians. “That would be a brain tease.”
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