Brave Malta beaten by France in European waterpolo championship

Malta's debut match in Belgrade European Waterpolo Championship starts off with 17-7 loss against France

Malta’s adventure in the European Waterpolo championship started off on the wrong foot as a dominant France side brushed aside Malta’s brave performance to win 17-7.

France, who went into this game as clear favourites, dominated the match throughout, but Malta’s defensive performance and efforts in front of goal ensured a respectable result in its debut match.

The first stages of the match saw Malta start off brightly but goals from Camarase, Idzsinky, and Crosillat saw the French side race to a three-goal lead in the first quarter.

In the second session, Steven Camilleri goal – the first of five – saw the deficit cut to just two goals after converting a penalty with a bounce shot into the corner. However, Malta’s joy was short-lived as three goals in quick session by Crousillat, Souabier and Blary saw France race to a 7-1 lead. Two goals by Steven Camilleri, Malta’s standout performer, saw Karl Izzo’s men reduce the deficit to four goals, but a further goals by Ugo Crousillat, Marzoui, and Michal Izdinsky made it 10-3 for France.

In the dying moments of the second session, Steve Camilleri scored another penalty after a foul on Matthew Zammit. Camilleri’s fourth goal saw Malta end the second session with the score 10-4.

And it was Camilleri again who reduced the arrears in the third session as he scored Malta’s fifth goal of the afternoon. However, the French continued to pile up the pressure and goals from Saudadier, Simon, Crousillat (2), Laversanne saw France widen the score to 15-5.

In the fourth session, Malta’s Jordan Camilleri and Matthew Zammit scored two goals, with Simon and Kovacevic replying for France to restore France’s 10-goal advantage and to make the final score 17-7.

The match was attended by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Energy minister Konrad Mizi. After the match, the prime minister visited the team’s dressing room and congratulated their performance.

Malta will now play its second game against world champions and hosts Serbia on 12 January and Croatia on 14 January.