The Malta Independent 16 December 2017, Saturday

Malta drawn to face Belarus in playoff qualifying phase

Monday, 6 November 2017, 13:26 Last update: about 2 months ago

Malta has been drawn to face Belarus in the the play-off qualification phase of the European Waterpolo Championships to be held in Barcelona between 14 and 28 July 2018.

The draws were held in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday and resulted as follows:

Saturday 24th February 2018

Belarus vs Malta

France vs Switzerland

Romania vs Czech Republic

Poland vs Germany

Netherlands vs Lithuania

Georgia vs Israel

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Portugal vs Slovakia

Ukraine vs Turkey

The return matches will be played on Saturday 3 March 2018.

ASA president Joe Caruana Curran said that it is possible for the Malta side to overcome this two-match (home and away) hurdle to advance to the Barcelona finals. "We will ensure that Karl Izzo and his colleagues are offered the best opportunities possible for the team's preparation for these matches.

"In the past few days we have studied a number of options and now that we know we are playing the first match away, we can finalise the preparatory programme. "I am sure that our players will rise to the occasion in an effort to reach the final stages of the European Championships for a second consecutive time.

"I am also sure that we will find the support of the clubs and the local authorities as we have in the past." 

On his part, national coach Karl Izzo said he was pleased with the draw, especially playing the first leg away.

"Belarus are a young and very fast team who play regularly in the Russian league. We followed their qualifying matches in Poland and will study the videos of these games carefully.

"I am pleased that we will play the first leg away and hope that the home advantage in the second match will help us surpass our opponents.

"The association, together with the coaches, will do their utmost to help the team reach their best condition in this last hurdle to retain their place in this prestigious competition." 


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