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Malta waterpolo in good condition ahead of tough Croatia opener, says Izzo

The Malta waterpolo national team open their commitments at the European Waterpolo Championships on Monday night when they take on hosts Croatia in the opening match in Split.

Karl Izzo’s charges arrived in the Croatian capital on Saturday and held their opening two training sessions on Sunday.

With the national championship only coming to a close just more than a week ago, the team had no opportunity to play friendly matches as a build-up to the tournament but Izzo revealed that on Sunday, the Maltese players took part in a 30-minute friendly against the Netherlands.

“We are really looking forward to getting our European Championship campaign going,” Izzo told the Times of Malta.

“On Sunday, we had two very good training sessions where I had the chance to gauge the players’ condition ahead of a very tough match against Croatia. More importantly, we also had the opportunity to play a 30-minute friendly against the Netherlands.

“The warm-up match against the Dutch was very important for us, particularly due to the fact that we have not played any friendlies as a build up to these championships when the national championships came to a close.”

The Malta coach said that they are aware of the very tough task awaiting them when facing Croatia on Monday night, but the team is determined to put on the best possible showing.

“There is no hiding that this is going to be a very difficult match for us as we are facing the home team in front of a packed arena,” Izzo said.

“The atmosphere will surely be incredible and no doubt out main goal has to be to try and put on a good performance. As I said before, this match will start our preparations for will be our most important match of the championships on September 4 in the positional play-offs against either Slovenia or Israel.

“The players look in good condition and although we could have done by playing a few friendlies I don’t want to seek any excuses and we have to be focused to try and get the best possible result.”

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