The Dutch water polo players simply won their first match at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Slovakia. Orange, which is hunting one of the last two Olympic tickets this week in Trieste, Italy, was too strong for the European low flyer with 22-2.
The team of Arno Havenga, which had not played an official match since February due to the coronapandemic, had no problem with the Slovak team. At rest the counter at the Netherlands already stood at ten, thanks to two hits by Maud Megens, Simone van de Kraats and Maartje Keuning.
The Dutch goalkeepers, Debby Willemsz and Joanne Koenders, were hardly tested by the Slovak attack line.
Even after the break, the Slovak defense had their hands full with the Dutch players, who continued to score on it. Maartje Keuning was the most effective: she made four more and finished with six hits as top scorer on the competition form.
In the last quarter Slovakia scored two goals: 22-2, which is exactly the same result as a year ago at the European Championships, when the two countries also played against each other.
“ This is a result we expected. I think weve played solid, apart from the two goals against and some unnecessary exclusions. That was a little sloppy. And also in the finalisation we were occasionally a bit sloppy. That should be a little sharper”, analyzed coach Havenga after the game.
In advance, the Slovak team was not included among the contenders for the Olympic tickets. The Netherlands is. Orange, together with Italy, Greece and Hungary, is one of the favorites for the last two start tickets.
Greece, just like the Netherlands, was missing in the last two editions. Italy and Hungary were present at the previous two Games.
Wednesday (18.00) Oranje plays against Italy and Thursday (16.00) France is the opponent in the group phase.
The Dutch water polo players won gold at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. But in the run-up to London (2012) and Rio (2016), Orange seized at the last minute next to an Olympic ticket.
In the video below, coach Arno Havenga and the experienced player Sabrina van der Sloot tell in the run-up to the OCT in Trieste what they learned from these disappointments: