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Malta waterpolo means business, says Izzo after stunning win over Slovenia

Malta national team coach Karl Izzo and Aquatic Sports Association president Joe Caruana heaped praise on the national team players after they secured their best-ever finish in a European Championship when they saw off Slovenia 13-9 in Split.

The result ensured that Malta will now contest the play-off for 13th place against Germany on Tuesday, but they are still sure of securing their best position in the championship, improving on the 15th place attained in Belgrade in 2016.

“I always said that this was our most important game of the championship as it could give us our best ever finish in such championship,” Izzo said after the match.

“It was not the best performance even because there was a lot at stake for my players and inevitably that effected them a bit. But we showed that we are capable of playing good waterpolo and winning matches in these continental finals.

“I have to congratulate the players. One has to remember that this is a new team with several elements who have no experience when playing in such a competition. But we showed that we were capable of playing against them as we were never behind during the match.

“Now we look forward to the match against Germany. It’s not going to be easy but I believe that we can give them a good run for their money and who knows we could finish 13th.

“But irrespective of what happens this result is testament that Maltese waterpolo means business.”

On his part, Aquatic Sports Association of Malta president Joe Caruana said that he dedicated this result to all the members of the national team who performed so well and once more had made the country proud.

“When we compete in this competition, we have been used to being involved in play-offs to avoid the bottom spots,” Caruana Curran said.

“But this time, the players travelled for these championships in much better form as the league campaign had just finished and they showed that they were on their game right from the start.

“Today, it was not easy against Slovenia but we achieved our best ever result. In the past, we felt that finishing in the top 14 was out of our reach.

“I felt that the team did not manage to convert their superiority in the water into goals for much of the match, even though we looked better than Slovenia.

“But then everything came into place in the final session when we proved that we deserved this victory.”

Asked to whom he dedicated this result, Caruana Curran said.

“I dedicate this result to the players as it was all down to them,” he said.

“We at the ASA always try to use our resources to make life a bit better for them. One has to remember that Maltese waterpolo is predominantly semi-professional and its quite incredible that such a small country like Malta always manages to make its people proud in this competition.

“So they deserve a lot praise for what they have achieved.”

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