Another Spain in the heights: women’s water polo, to the final

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four veterans, Laura Esther, Maica García, Pili Rock y Anni Espar, which bring together young people and remind them that there was a time when Spain did not even go to the Olympic Games, that it could not qualify, that women’s water polo did not exist in the country. There are anecdotes and more anecdotes about the celebration of the first Olympic ticket, in Italy, back in 2012, when the team had to defeat Greece, then world champion. elena ruiz, for example, who is only 18 years old, hallucinates. That sounds like prehistory to you. That is why both of them celebrated Spain’s victory this Wednesday against Australia in the semifinals of the Fukuoka World Cup (12-10) in a different way.

For the majors it meant a safe presence at the 2024 Paris Games. For the youngest, one more step, just one more step, in search of a long-awaited title. The team reached its fourth final in the last six World Cups, blessed routine, and with the Olympic ticket in his pocket, this Friday -11:00 am, Teledeporte- will look for the second gold in its history. This time, for the first time, the United States will not be ahead, beast noire, protagonist of so many nightmares. After the ‘yankee’ elimination in the quarterfinals, the rival team will be the Netherlands, the second reason for the illusion.

The first is the form of a group that, always at the heights since 2012, has had better and worse tournaments, streaks of different signs. Under the guidelines of Mickey Father, the generational change has had gaps, but we can already speak of a perfect balance. The veterans of those beginnings know their role, normally secondary -perhaps only with the exception of García-, and the young ones already take the reins.

Against Australia it became clear once again that this team is Ruiz’s own team, who scored four goals and was MVP, of Judith Forcavery accurate throughout the World Cup -in fact, she is the top scorer- or Martina Terre in goal. Spain dominated throughout the match as they climbed into the arms of Ruiz and Forca and if they suffered it was only in the final minutes when they had to ensure victory. There appeared Terré, heir to Laura Ester, only 21 years old, and a goal from Bea Ortiz on the counterattack that wiped out the hope of Australia.

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