The opening games of Group C have been played in the Women’s European qualifiers in Malta this evening, with big wins for Israel and France.
Portugal 5-15 Israel (1-6, 2-1, 1-3, 1-5)
Portugal: M. Sampaio, M. Ferreira, C. Fernandez, C. Reis 3, I. Nunes, A. Jardim, J. Teixeira 1, M. Lousa, M. Machado, B. Pereira 1, V. Freire, A. Rodrigues, B. Cavaleiro
Israel: A. Peres, T. Levi, Y. Farkash 1, M. Bogachenko 2, K. Noy 1, A. Yaacobi 2, S. Strugo, D. Menakerman 4, M. Lindhout 1, N. Sasover, N. Hochberg 3, R. Gazit, E. Burda
Israel got their qualifying campaign off to a flyer this afternoon with a very strong display over Portugal. From start to finish, Israel controlled the game, easily beating the Portuguese M zone in attack, and pressing hard in defence. Israel’s young talent, evident from competitions earlier this summer in Sibenik and Netanya, is really flourishing – Dar Menakerman netted four, Nofar Hochberg put three away, while there were tidy braces for Alma Yaacobi and Maria Bogachenko. Catarina Reis scored three for her country, but the goals meant very little to the scoreline.
Israel face France tomorrow, and if they can get anything from that game, they will surely have qualified for the European championships. For Portugal, qualification looks very slim now, they face a really tough assignment in the shape of Malta tomorrow under the lights at the National Pool.
Malta 4-23 France (0-7, 2-4, 1-7, 1-5)
Malta: Steph Desjardins, K. Camilleri, K. Agius 1, K. Navarro, M. Perici Ferrante 2, L. Cachia, F. Paolella, S. Camilleri, D. Micallef, R. Caruana Dingli, Z. Bartolo, N. Azzopardi, A. Amato
France: C. Vidal, E. Millot 3, G. Fitaire 1, T. Margueritte, L. Guillet 4, K. Benlekbir 2, J. Dhalluin 3, A. Battu 1, E. Vernoux 7, V, Heurtaux 1, Y. Deschampt, L. Andres 1, P. Martineaud-Peret
Malta has so often been a really tough place for teams to visit, but that couldn’t have been more to the contrary this evening, as the French squad absolutely battered them. Ema Vernoux, France’s and Olympic Nice’s best talent in years, netted 7 goals in the game. The skipper, Louise Guillet, converted four times, with supplementary scores from Juliette Dhalluin (3), Estelle Millot (3) and Kahena Benlekbir (2). France were perhaps the favourites to top the group before a match was played in this group, and the way they opened up Malta this evening, its not hard to see why. Malta, on the other hand, will not be so disappointed with the result, rather the way in which the game was so one sided.