Lucia Santiago, FINA Press Correspondent from Portugal

"They are the stars of the future", Julio Cesar Maglione said during the opening ceremony of the World Women's Junior Championship. And the players responded to the prediction of FINA president with goals and games full of emotions.

Russia, the defender of the title, showed its intentions to win the tournament again with a great victory against Portugal. Greece, Hungary, Italy and China also won on the first day of competition at the Funchal Swimming Olympic Complex. Spain and the Netherlands, also candidates for the medals, staged a thrilling pulse that ended in a draw, as did the United States-Japan.

At the end of the day, meanwhile, Brazil beat Kazakhstan.

The preliminary round, with three games to be played between Monday and Wednesday, began with excitement. There were many nerves, typical in the debut in a great championship, but at the same time hopeful accutations in this event, played by 16 national teams.

In Group A, Hungary stands out in the first place thanks to its victory over the Australian national team. The victory was adjusted, by 10-9, but it places Hungary in a good position to be the leader of its group since Japan and the United States tied (11-11).

With a draw, the Netherlands and Spain also opened their fight in Group B. The good start of the Spanish players was neutralized by their rivals, so each team added a point. Brazil sleeps leader of Group B after the first day. Brazil won (15-10) in the last turn of the day to Kazakhstan. The match should be played on the third morning shift, but the late arrival of Kazakhstan to Madeira forced the organization to postpone it until 9:15 pm.

The high point of the day came with Portugal-Russia. The host team lost in front of the current champion, by 3-24, in the most anticipated match by Portuguese fans. Russian superiority was evident, but Portugal earned experience in a major international event. This Tuesday, Russia will face Italy, winner of its match against South Africa.

In Group D, meanwhile, Greece and China added their first two points by defeating New Zealand and Canada.

Greece signed a solid start, with 15 goals in favor and 9 goals against New Zealand. China, on the other hand, scored two points with its win (9-12) against Canada.

Progress points:

Group A: Hungary 2, Japan 1, United States 1, Australia 0

Group B: Brazil 2, Netherlands 1, Spain 1, Kazakhstan 0

Group C: Russia 2, Italy 2, South Africa 0, Portugal 0

Group D: Greece 2, China 2, Canada 0, New Zealand 0

Monday Schedule:

Match 1, 9:00, Group A, HUNGARY 10 AUSTRALIA 9

Match 2, 10:20, Group A, UNITED STATES 11 JAPAN 11

Match 4, 11:40, Group B, NETHERLANDS 12 SPAIN 12

Match 5, 16:00, Group C, SOUTH AFRICA 10 ITALY 16

Match 7, 17:20, Group D, GREECE 15 NEW ZEALAND 9

Match 8, 18:40, Group D, CANADA 9 CHINA 12

Match 6, 20:00, Group C, PORTUGAL 3 RUSSIA 24

Match 3, 21:15, Group B, BRAZIL 15 KAZAKHSTAN 10

Photo Credit: Duarte Paulini / Federacao Portuguesa Natacao