Britain ready for European water polo quarters after penalty shootout triumph

9 Jan 2024

Great Britain are enjoying a stunning return to the major international stage in water polo, after a thrilling penalty shootout victory saw the women's team qualify for the quarter-finals of the European Water Polo Championships in Eindhoven. 

Following a thrilling 9-9 draw with Israel in Monday's crossover fixture, keeper Sophie Jackson pulled off a superb save to deny Israel's Dina Namakshtansky, before Amelia Peters fired home the winning shot to seal a 14-13 triumph on penalties and see the GB team - who finished top of their group - into the last eight. 

That quarter-final fixture pits them against hosts the Netherlands, the reigning world champions from last year's World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka. That match gets underway from 4.30pm GMT today (Tuesday 9th January) and can be watched live on the Eurovision Sport website and app.

Nick Buller's Britain team showed brilliant resilience in the crossover game, with the penalty shootout the only time in the whole match that they were in front. 

Toula Falvey has been enjoying an outstanding competition and she again contributed a hat-trick in the 9-9 draw, with Lily Turner and captain Kathy Rodgers scoring two apiece in an enthralling contest.

Reacting to the result, City of Manchester's Jackson said: "This is something that we’ve always dreamed of doing since the team was reformed. I’m still in quite a bit of disbelief – I haven’t quite comprehended it yet so we’re very excited.

Sophie Jackson European Water Polo Champs penalty shootout save
Sophie Jackson

"It wasn’t my best game. The team really stepped in with some huge blocks and I think that team effort really brought us the win. We went down so many times but we kept coming back and making big blocks in defence.

"But this result is for everyone back home. Thank you for following on, we really appreciate all of your support. I don’t know how to put it into words."

Britain have got this far at their first European Championships since 2014 after a clean sweep of wins in Group D against Slovakia, Bulgaria and Germany - and they have kept themselves in contention to qualify for next month's World Championships in Doha, should they end as one of the top three finishers not including the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy and Spain, who are already qualified for Doha. 

The entirety of the Championships is being streamed live on the Eurovision Sport website and app whilst the full schedule and live results can be found on the event website.

Photo credit: European Aquatics