Spain returned to the gold-medal podium after 10 years by downing former champion Greece 10-5 on the final day of the XIV FINA World Women’s Junior Water Polo Championships in Netanya, Israel today.
And that five-goal margin was achieved in the first half while the third and fourth periods were squared. Spain shocked Greece, going from 1-1 to 5-1 in the space of just two minutes with a pair from the top by Ariadne Ruiz, a deep lob from Elena Camarena and a counter-attack conversion from Spanish captain Paula Camus. It set the tone for the rest of the encounter, with no-one in doubt that Spain was going to take gold.
The second quarter was tight at 1-0 and in the third period, Camus scored consecutive centre-forward goals for 8-3, further cementing the final result.
At 9-4 heading into the fourth quarter, Spain was safe and Olympian Elena Ruiz, named the Most Valuable Player, who scored the opening penalty goal, drilled one from the left for 10-4. Greece responded through Eleni Kanetidou inside the final two minutes for the last score. Camus and Ariadne Ruiz scored three each.
For Spain it has been a terrific year at the elite level with the senior team claiming the silver medal at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. And assisting head coach Jordi Valls was senior coach Miki Oca, himself an Olympic champion. Valls said after the match that it all came down to “training hard, playing hard and being smart”.