Great Britain defeat Germany to top Group D at the European Championships

Great Britain’s senior women’s water polo team secured top spot in Group D at the 2024 European Water Polo Championships after a 12-6 victory against Germany.

The victory sees Great Britain move on to tomorrow’s crossover match where they will take on team that finishes bottom in Group B for a place in the European quarter-finals.

It was an expert defensive display that provided the platform for Great Britain’s victory with goalkeeper Sophie Jackson making 12 saves across the match-up.

The City of Manchester shot-stopper ended the game with a save percentage of 66.7 per cent as GB limited Germany to just one goal in the first half.

That turgid defensive display combined with the ruthless finishing of Lily Turner and Toula Falvey sent GB on their way to victory at the Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium.

They scored four apiece as Great Britain’s attack hit double figures for the third successive game.

Turner got Great Britain off to the perfect start, giving them the lead after just 70 seconds before an expert backhand shot from Jamie Julique Haas beat Jackson to bring the game level.

Despite the Germans being on top in the early stages, the British defence held firm thanks to three stunning saves from goalkeeper Jackson and an excellent block from captain Kathy Rodgers keeping the game level as the game approached the end of the first period.

However in the final minute of the first Britain fired back with two late strikes to give them an impressive 3-1 first quarter lead.

It was Turner once again who found the net to put Britain back in front. Katie Brown played the ball forward and just when it looked like Turner had lost possession she was able to beat Germany keeper Darja Heinbacker to the ball and lob her to make it 2-1.

Just seconds later and GB scored a backhand shot of their own as Toula Falvey fired a stunning effort into the roof of the net as she continued her fine form in front of goal.

She added another at the start of the second, sending her shot into the bottom right hand corner from the centre forward position before Turner grabbed her hat trick after an excellent long pass from Annie Clapperton.

Not to be out scored by her team mate, Falvey then scored a penalty to get her third with Rodgers making a double block in the closing seconds of the half as Great Britain went into a 6-1 lead at the interval.


“We’re a really close team and that really helps”

The Germans were back on the scoreboard in the third but the damage had already been done in the opening two periods.

Falvey and Turner both got their fourth in the third to add to goals from Rodgers, Vicki Hawkins and a first time shot from Katie Brown to extend Britain’s lead to seven with just eight minutes left on the clock.

Germany fought back in the final period but a smart time out from head coach Nick Buller and a second from Katie Brown helped them keep a comfortable six goal advantage.

Speaking after the match-up Brown – the only member of the squad that played for Great Britain at their last appearance at the Championships ten years ago – and Brooke Tafazolli were proud of the team’s performance.

Brown said: “I think we played really well, we were really clinical. Coach told us to be quick but not too fast and I think that’s exactly what we did.

Tafazolli commented saying: “I think we got them in the first half, held them to one goal for a very long time which really helped us.

“We hit them a lot on the counter and we’re really proud of our performance.”

After being asked about the team spirit in the camp the pair were keen to comment on the group’s togetherness helping them to get their results.

“First of all the tournament is amazing, it’s really well set-up but I think we’re a really close team and that really helps.” Said Brown.

“Before we came into the game, we were laughing and smiling which just helped us ease into the game.

Tafazolli added: “We’re all really close and that shows in the pool. We gel really well both in and out for the pool and that’s really helping us get the results.”

It means that Great Britain top Group D with a 100% record after three wins from three. GB finish on nine points with Germany in second on six and Slovakia in third ahead of Bulgaria after they defeated Bulgaria in today’s other match in the group.

Great Britain are back in action for tomorrow’s crossover match where they will face a side from Division One of the competition. That will be the bottom side in Group B which will be decided in Sunday evening’s matches.

All matches at the Championships are free to watch on Eurovision Sport which you can sign up for here.

For live results and the full schedule of the competition you can check out the event website, which contains all the information you need to know about the competition.

Image: European Aquatics