Four in a row for Germany, back-to-back for GB at canoe polo world titles

Germany has won an incredible fourth consecutive U21 women’s gold medal, but the frustration for German men’s teams has continued, with Great Britain defeating their European rivals to defend the ICF Canoe Polo world title they won in 2016.

Germany’s record in women’s U21 is perfect. Since the introduction of the age division at the 2012 World Championships, the German’s have won every title.

In a repeat of the 2016 result, Germany beat Poland in the final, while New Zealand also repeated its performance of two years ago to claim bronze.

While it was a fourth consecutive world title for the Germans, it was their eight major tournament win in succession.

“It was our last year with the team, so we definitely wanted to win the gold,” Esra Ozbay said.

“This is what we have worked for all year. We have a great team spirit, we’re virtually sisters.

“We have such a strong club competition in Germany, and that really pushes us.”

Great Britain were the defending champions in the men’s U21, and repeated their performance of 2016 by beating Germany in a hard-fought final.

Captain Jack Playford was part of the 2016 team and was instrumental in Saturday’s win.

“There was a lot of pressure on us,” he said.

“We had a mentality of taking one game at a time. We said before the Championships we had ten boxes to tick, each one being a game, tick each one as we go and don’t get ahead of ourselves.

“It seems to have worked.”

 GB coach David Edwards said the gold was just reward for a lot of hard work.

“The lads have worked so hard and we had a few personnel changes this year, but the new guys who have come in have bought into everything that we have done for the past four years,” Edwards said.

“They deserve everything they’ve got, this is just the result of everything they’ve done before.

“Germany are a good team, so it just shows how hard our guys worked to get this result. All the lads know what I expect, we just try and raise the bar and hopefully we can start driving that through to the men’s game.

“Some of the lads will move up this year, so hopefully they’ll push on in to the men’s and we’ll see some success there, which is long overdue to be honest.”

Incredibly Germany has not won an U21 men’s gold medal since 2010, and have never won a senior gold in the 24-year history of the competition.

By contrast German women have won eight gold medals overall. U21 coach Marc Uhlmann said his team’s recent record against Poland was a strong factor in Saturday’s win.

“I don’t know what we do, but every year we have a chance to be first,” he said.

“We knew that Poland lost their last three games against us, and we know that for the head that is very difficult, to say now we want to do that.

“I think that was our best chance today, to remind the girls that the last three wins were ours.”

The team also paid tribute to Fiete Junge, a member of the German men’s team who died suddenly on the eve of the World Championships.

“We did this for Fiete as well,” player Esra Ozbay said.

“It’s been a big loss. This is what he wished for I guess so we all played for him. He was so young.

“We all miss him, and he was such a good player as well.”

Sunday will see the finals in the senior men’s and women’s competitions. Defending champions Italy will play France and Germany will play Spain in the men’s draw, while there is one more round of pool matches in the women’s competition set down for Sunday morning.

Italy prepared for its defence of the 2018 men’s world title with a thrilling win over Germany in their final second round pool match, giving the Italians top place in the pool and setting up a semi-final date with France.

“I’m happy, but we can do better for sure,” Italian coach Rodolfo Vastola said.

“We had two or three moments in the game where we lost too much ball, but I’m happy we won.

“I told my guys if we make it through to the final, I told them it will be a different game if we play Germany again.”

2018 ICF Canoe Polo World Championships Welland Canada

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