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British women’s U19 team ready for European challenge

Great Britain’s women’s water polo team are set to compete at next week’s LEN European U19 Championships in the Hague, the Netherlands.

The Brits will take on group favourites Italy in their first match on 11 September before playing Bulgaria a day later.

A grudge match against Slovakia awaits in GB’s final group game on 14 September. Slovakia’s senior squad beat the British women 10-9 in a nail-biting match at the EU Nations Cup in Prague earlier this year.

While the group winners in the Hague will progress straight to the quarter-finals, a second or third place finish would see the Brits enter a playoff for a spot in the last eight.

And head coach Theo Nousios insists a strong start against Italy could set the British women up perfectly for a successful tournament.

We will play our normal game

“The game against Italy will be hard but we will play our normal game,” said Nousios. “It will allow us to check our tactics and our level of readiness.

“Bulgaria are in a building phase regarding their women’s game. So we will hope to carry on momentum from our game against Italy into our second match.

“Then against Slovakia we will try to compete at the level of the top eight.”

The Brits have been preparing with a six-week intensive training camp in Manchester as well as a camp in Croatia.

Captain Rosie Huck, goalkeeper Kate Read, and lefty Isobel Howe all competed at last year’s World Junior Championships in Greece.

Another seven of the squad competed alongside the trio at the EU Nations Cup earlier this year.

Our players complement each other so well

“I’m confident we can be a real threat to teams at this tournament,” said Huck, who has a scholarship at Arizona State University. “We’ve got all kinds of players and we complement each other so well.

“We’ve had a great six weeks training together. It’s been fantastic travelling abroad and testing ourselves against other European nations.

“We’ve been doing lots of strength and conditioning training and the team is looking and feeling very fit. We’ve also been working hard on our tactics in the pool and we will be ready for our first match for sure.

“As the weeks have gone by, we’ve definitely improved and you can see that both in the water and out. I think it’s coming together at the right time for us.”

British team for the European Women’s U19 Water Polo Championships 2016