Canada defeated Russia 12:10 in the derby of the opening day of the FINA Women’s World League Super Final in Athens.
Greece, with 10 players in the line-up, couldn’t surprise the United States.
Hungary and Spain defeated their Asian rivals with ease.
Day 1 – Group A: Hungary – Japan 26:10, Canada – Russia 12:10. Group B: Spain – Kazakhstan 20:11, USA – Greece 16:9.
Canada – Russia 12:10 (5:1, 2:3, 2:4, 3:2)
Canada: Sohi 3, McKee 2, Eggens 2, Crevier 1, E. Wright 1, Lemay-Lavoie 1, Christmas 1, La Roche 1.
Russia: Prokofyeva 4, Timofeeva 2, Glyzina 2, Karimova 2.
Extra player shots: Canada 2/3, Russia 6/10. Penalty shots: Canada 0/1.
Hungary – Japan 26:10 (7:1, 5:4, 5:1, 9:4)
Hungary: Parkes 7, Keszthelyi 5,Gurisatti 5, Antal 3, Leimeter 2, Valyi 2, Szilagyi 1, Mate 1.
Japan: Inaba 2, Niizawa 2, Kawaguchi 2, Arima 1, Kudo 1, Koide 1, Hashida 1.
Extra player shots: Hungary 4/6, Japan 4/7. Penalty shots: Hungary 2/2.
Canada isn’t an underdog in Athens. The duel Canada-Russia was the big match of the day. However, the outcome is a little bit surprising. Russia was a slight favorite.
The Canadians stunned the Russians with a 5:1 rush in the first quarter. After the first break, Russia, led by Ekaterina Prokofyeva, started coming back. In the middle of the third period, the Russians cut the deficit to one (6:7). Still, they couldn’t equalize. Canada entered the fourth period leading 9:8. They stretched the margin to three (11:8) midway through the fourth quarter) and controlled the match until the end.
Hungary opened the tournament with an easy victory over Japan. The winners of the European qualifications proved who the favorite was already in the first quarter. In the 20th minute, they had a double-digit advantage for the first time (15:5) and didn’t slow down until the end. Rebecca Parkes, who scored seven goals, was the MVP of the match.
USA – Greece 16:9 (4:3, 4:2,4:2, 4:2)
USA: Haralabidis 3, Musselman 3, Fattal 3,Steffens 2, Williams 2, Gilchrist 1,Seidemann 1, Raney 1.
Greece: M.Plevritou 3, Xenaki 2, V.Plevritou 2, E.Plevritou 1, Tsoukala 1.
Extra player shots: USA 9/10, Greece 6/8. Penalty shots: USA 1/1.
Spain – Kazakhstan 20:11 (5:5, 7:1, 2:0, 6:5)
Spain: Ortiz 3, Tarrago 3, Crespi 3, Aznar 3, Espar 2, Gonzalez 2, Forca 2, Ruiz 1, Leiton 1.
Kazakhstan: Turova 4, Roga 3, Yeremina 2, Khirtankova 1, Pochinok 1.
Extra player shots: Spain 5/10, Kazakhstan 7/10. Penalty shots: Spain 3/5, Kazakhstan 1/1.
Greece entered the match with only ten players. Three players have been penalized because of exclusions in the European qualifications (Eleftheriadou, Myriokefalitaki, and Ninou). A win over the USA would be a remarkable feat if the Greeks had 13 girls on the roster. Therefore, few believed that Greece could upset the mighty favorite.
Still, Greece didn’t surrender easily. The USA earned an early 2-goal lead (2:0 and 3:1), but the hosts equalized in the 6th minute (3:3). The Americans responded with three goals and jumped to a 6:3 lead. The reigning champions kept a 3-goal distance until the middle break (8:5). Greece fought hard, but the Americans, who had an excellent power-play conversion (9/10) ruled the field in the second half.
Greece will face another demanding task tomorrow. The hosts will play against Spain, and, they will have ten players on the roster again. Greece will be complete from Round 3.
Spain, the European champion and the silver medalist at the 2019 World Championships, started slowly, but it recorded a convincing win. Kazakhstan kept up with the big favorites until 6:6. The Asians had almost a perfect percentage of shots in the first quarter – 5/6 (they scored four goals with a power-play advantage and one from a penalty). Spain had more chances to score, but they missed a few chances (including one penalty saved by the Kazakhs’ goalie Zharkimbayeva).
Roser Tarrago opened the second quarter with a goal from a penalty shot for 6:5, but Roga responded immediately with a woman-up. After that, Spain held Kazakhstan scoreless for more than 16 minutes, while it scored nine goals in a row to jump to a 15:6 lead and maintained a nine-goal difference until the final buzzer.