Elena Ruiz Barril struck twice in Spain's win over Greece in the final ©Getty Images

Spain edged Greece 9-6 in a tense final to retain the Women’s European Water Polo Championship crown in Croatian city Split.

Greece were attempting to win the title for the first time but came up short against the reigning champions.

Spain opened up a 3-0 lead thanks to first-period goals from Elena Ruiz Barril, Nona Perez Vivas and Anna Espar Llaquet.

Ioanna Chydirioti got one back for Greece before Paula Leitón made it 4-1 to Spain.

Greece battled hard and reduced the deficit to 4-3 courtesy of efforts from Margarita Plevritou and Christina Siouti.

The match was finely balanced at half-time before a third-period strike from Ruiz Barril gave Spain a two-goal lead heading into the final eight minutes.

Greece struck three times in the final period and levelled the match at 6-6 after Eleni Xenaki, Eleftheria Plevritou and Chydirioti netted.

Maica García Godoy scored Spain’s sixth goal before adding another as the title holders pulled away in the closing stages with further efforts from Beatriz Ortiz Muñoz and Espar Llaquet.

It is Spain’s third women’s title following their victories in 2014 and 2020.

Roberta Bianconi netted five times as Italy defeated The Netherlands 16-13 in the bronze-medal match.

There were also four goals for Sofia Giustini and a hat-trick for Domitilla Picozzi in the triumph.

Competition is due to conclude tomorrow with the final of the Men’s European Water Polo Championship as hosts Croatia face defending champions Hungary.