Gergely Csurka, FINA Media Committee

The opening day of the women's FINA World Junior Water Polo Championships kicked off in gorgeous sunshine in Volos, one might call the usual scene of this event as this is the third consecutive edition held here.

After a spectacular opening ceremony staged at seaside, in the port in Saturday evening, teams took the stage Sunday morning. The first game featuring Hungary and Japan almost ended in an upset as the Asian team did a great job and led until the middle of the last quarter when the Magyars’ experience and skill began to make the difference and brought a single-goal win (12-11). The following match went as if it had been played by the senior sides of Netherlands and Russia: a great battle with great defending and great goals but at the end the Dutch prevailed 7-5.

A scene from the big game of the morning session between the Netherlands and Russia - credit: Apostolos Zacharakis

The other two matches of the morning session saw one-sided encounters as it had been expected, China routed South Africa and Italy did the same with the Serbs.

The evening-afternoon session produced three more unbalanced contests with Canada, Spain and the USA all winning comfortably against Slovakia, New Zealand and Croatia respectively. What was thought a lead-up to the highlight of the day, the match between Greece and Australia, turned out to be a kind of preview for the last encounter which was just as one-sided as the previous ones. The hosts’ defence worked almost perfectly, while they could score a wide range of goals in front to earn a 12-6 win, much to the joy of the capacity crowd.