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Great Britain battled hard against Italy in opening match at World Championships

After an 11-year wait, Great Britain’s women’s water polo team were back competing at the World Championships as they faced a tough Italian side in their opening match.

The British team fell to a 22-10 defeat against Italy, who were more clinical on the day, but there were positives to take from the performance.

In what always looked to be a difficult first match of their championship campaign, Great Britain created numerous chances and opportunities in front of goal.

On another day, the scoreline could have been a much closer one, with the British side showing confidence and determination throughout.

That attitude was summed up none more so than as Katy Cutler’s shot flew past the Italian goalkeeper as the final hooter sounded, with Great Britain battling hard until the last second of the match.

It was Italy who opened the scoring at the Aspire Dome through the eventual player of the match, Roberta Bianconi.

Rogers first on scoresheet for Great Britain

However, Great Britain didn’t have to wait too long to score an opener of their own, as Katherine Rogers turned the defender brilliantly and converted the chance to level the score.

Despite the best efforts of GB goalkeeper Sophie Jackson, which included a double save from her, Italy continued to push and returned to the lead courtesy of goals from Giuditta Galardi and Bianconi.

The lead didn’t change hands from that point on, but both sides added a further two goals each before the end of the first quarter.

Brooke Tafazolli powered one into the top left corner and a long range effort from Katie Brown hit the post and ricocheted off the goalkeeper and into the back of the net for Great Britain.

In between those successful efforts, Silvia Avegno converted a penalty and Giulia Viacava placed her finish neatly into the bottom corner for Italy.

It was a tale of two penalties at the start of the second quarter. Italy were successful again, this time through Claudia Roberta Marletta, and GB missed their chance.

They were quickly punished by Veronica Gant and just like that, Italy had a four score lead at 7-3.

Creating chances and forcing saves

Cecily Turner pulled one back for Great Britain with a tidy finish across the keeper and Cutler was also on the scoresheet in the second quarter, but Italy’s lead had grown to 11-5 as the match reached half time.

The British side forced some great saves from the Italian goalkeeper and were able to double their tally in the second half.

But Italy were too strong this time around and doubled their own tally to take the final score to 22-10.

Great Britain’s goals came via doubles for both Toula Falvey and Turner, followed by the stunning late strike from Cutler.

They will face off against Canada in their next group D match on Tuesday 6 February. The match is due to start at 9am UK time.

All the details of how to follow the remainder of Great Britain’s fixtures in Doha can be found here.