The Netherlands earned a crucial victory over Spain at the European qualification tournament for the women’s Water Polo World League Super Final in Budapest.
The Dutch team had endured a difficult start in the Hungarian city, losing to the host nation and Greece in consecutive days.
They bounced back from their 16-15 loss to Greece with a competitive first half display against European champions Spain, with the score level at 6-6 at the midway point.
Spain received a boost in the third quarter when their opponents had two players removed from their squad due to disciplinary reasons.
Two quick-fire goals and a potentially tiring Dutch team saw Spain assume a 10-8 lead, only for their opponents to pull one back prior to the buzzer.
An impressive final quarter saw the Netherlands turn the tie around before securing a 12-11 victory.
The result leaves The Netherlands fourth in the standings on eight points, but a win over Russia tomorrow would see them leapfrog Greece and earn a place in the Super Final.
Hungary are top on 16 points, with Spain and Greece following on 14 and nine, respectively.
Italy have seven points in fifth place, followed by Russia and France on six and zero, respectively.
France and Italy have chosen not to take part in Budapest due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, while hosts Hungary have sent a university team having already secured one of Europe’s three spots in the Super Final.