Brilliant victory rounds out Britain's European Champs comeback

13 Jan 2024

A dramatic fourth-quarter fightback secured Great Britain's women a seventh-placed finish at their first European Water Polo Championships in a decade, as they ended their campaign with a thrilling 11-9 victory over Croatia.

Trailing 9-7 with less than five minutes of their seventh-eighth classification fixture remaining, Nick Buller's GB team again showed the blend of quality and resilience that has defined their tournament.

Skipper Kathy Rogers produced a captain's performance, firing home to halve that late deficit before converting again to level things up. Then, with a mere 45 seconds left and the prospect of another penalty shootout looming, Lily Turner swam forward and powered a shot from distance past the Croatian keeper to put Britain in front - one of four goals for her on the day.

As Croatia chased an equaliser of their own, Toula Falvey then rounded things off on the counter attack to make sure of the result, and secure a fifth win from seven across the week for the British outfit. 

Having claimed a 100 per cent record in Group D to kickstart the European Championships, Britain went on to defeat Israel on penalties and then end with this win against Croatia, after losing the quarter-final to reigning world champions the Netherlands and then Hungary in the first classification game. 

The ranking of seventh is the team's best since 2012 as they continue building back towards the leading nations in the sport. The result means GB have earned an invite to next month's World Aquatics Championships in Doha and are automatically qualified for the next European Championships in 2026. 

Kathy Rogers (9) Sophie Jackson block European Champs 2024 water polo

Reflecting on what got this British team to this point, captain Rogers said: "It's all about supporting each other. We are all here to build each other up as players and learn from each other, grow as a team. Our team, the girls at home made us the team we are today, our entire squad is here with us celebrating."

And the first thing she will do after this competition-closing victory? 

"Celebrate with the team, thank all of our parents, we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them, call all the girls at home and tell them they're wonderful. It's a squad win."  

For full details on this game and every Great Britain fixture from the European Water Polo Championships 2024, visit the European Aquatics website.