This morning served as yet another reminder of what is so appealing about elite level women’s water polo; that you can never perfectly predict the result of any fixture between the top teams.
The result that underlines that point was in the first game of the day, where Italy managed to pull off a surprise victory over the European Champions, 13-9. After a typically resolute defensive performance and some brilliant goal-getting up front, the Setterosa absolutely deserved their victory.
In the second game, however, the game was a bit more of a formality. After a brief hiccup yesterday, it was business as usual for the United States, who took a comfortable win over China 12-5.
Later today, the Netherlands take on Greece, while Hungary takes on Australia. You can follow those games live on our site.
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Day 2, Women’s World Cup 2023 Rotterdam – Group B
Spain 9 – 13 Italy (3-2, 2-4, 3-3, 1-4)
Spain: L. Ester, C. Nogue, P. Prats 1, B. Ortiz 1, N. Perez, P. Crespi, E. Ruiz 2, P. Pena, J. Forca 1, P. Camus 1, A. Ruiz 3, P. Leiton, M. Terre
Italy: A. Condorelli, C. Tabani 1, G. Gagliardi 1, S. Avegno 2, A. Cocchiere, D. Bettini 1, D. Picozzi 1, E. De March, V. Palmieri 1, C. Marletta 4, V. Gant 1, G. Viacava 1 C. Banchelli
Italy have toppled the reigning European Champions, Spain, with a deserved 13-9 win on the second day of the World Cup.
Spain were the favourites for this one, and came into the game off the back of a hugely momentous victory over the United States. Italy barely scraped past China yesterday, but were certainly the better team in today’s Mediterranean derby.
Italy led by a single goal heading into the last quarter, but terrific final-quarter showing sunk the Spanish.
The Setterosa’s defensive work was first-class, preventing the Spanish from any easy access to their deadly centre-forwards. The energy without the ball was decisive, with countless blocks and steals for the Italians. Caterina Banchelli also deserves immense credit, and made a big penalty save in the first half.
The fine defensive work gave Carlo Silipo’s Setterosa the foothold they needed to attack with freedom. The deadly Claudia Marletta didn’t waste a chance, finding four goals in the contest.
Spain were not themselves today going forward, and were sluggish from the start. Sant Andreu’s Ariadna Ruiz was their best attacking outlet on the right-side with three goals. Her younger sister Elena, found a brace. They’ll hope to move on from this blip, and conclude the first phase of this tournament with a win against China tomorrow.
The win was only the third victory for Italy against Spain in the last ten meetings.
Italy dominated the early exchanges of the match, but surprisingly found themselves trailing 3-2 after just eight minutes. First, Valeria Palmieri scored on a man-up from the post, followed by Veronica Gant’s near-post sweep. Dafne Bettini’s shot from the right could have made it three, but VAR ruled it was after the buzzer.
The reigning European champions, Spain, started cautiously but found their rhythm with Paula Camus converting the first time she was picked out by her teammates, bypassing the Italian’s zone defence. Ariadna Ruiz then found the far corner, followed by Bea Ortiz’s timely rifled finish to give Spain the lead (3-2).
Italy took advantage of three extra-player chances early in the second quarter and managed to score on one of them through Marletta’s sharp finish on the left. Marletta then blundered, giving Spain a penalty throw, but Caterina Banchelli bailed her teammate out, with a solid save from Bea Ortiz’s penalty-throw.
The Setterosa then led by two scores, with Tabani and Marletta catching Martina Terre off guard, but the Ruiz sisters, Ariadna and Elena, scored one goal each to keep Miki Oca’s side Spain in the chase at half-time (9-8).
The third quarter saw both teams push for the initiative. Spain jumped ahead to take the lead into the third period by scoring the next two goals (Forca penalty and Elena Ruiz). But Italy fought to protect their lead firstly to 8-7, and then again to 9-8. The Spanish kept the pressure on, but for the rest of the quarter, the Italians kept their resistance strong.
At the beginning of the last quarter, Italy piled on the pressure, scoring two important goals; Domitilla Picozzi scored with a tight-angle finish on the right, followed by Marletta’s double man-up. Spain pulled one back, but Italy responded with two timely goals to take a 12-9 lead with two minutes left to play.
From there, the Italian defence held firm, and Spain couldn’t make any further headway. Claudia Marletta’s goal inside the final 6 seconds sealed the deal for Italy, and gave licence for some early celebrations.
United States 12 – 5 China (3-1, 2-2, 4-1, 3-1)
United States: A. Johnson, M. Musselman 3, T. Prentice, R. Fattal 1, J. Bonaguidi 3, M. Steffens 2, E. Ausmus 2, A. Stryker, D. Mammolito, R. Gazzaniga, A. Cohen, J. Raney 1, A. Longan
China: J. Zhang, Z. Li, J. Yan, D. Xiong, Y. Zhai, S. Wang, Z. Deng 1, S. Yan 3, S. Nong, Y. Shao, J. Zhang 1, X. Du
The United States recovered from their painful defeat to Spain yesterday with a confident 12-5 over China.
The first half was a close affair, but a tired and puzzled looking China side lost their way in the second half, and the USA showed no mercy. The USA faces Italy tomorrow.
There was an excellent three goal game for Julia Bonaguidi. The 18-year-old led the scoring for the Yanks alongside Maddie Musselman, who also netted three. Maggie Steffens and Emily Ausmus both converted two each.
The frustration from China’s coach, Charis Pavlidis, was evident. They might not have been the better of the two teams, but there were too many avoidable mistakes that in the end made the game extremely comfortable for the reigning Olympic and World Champions.
It took a while until we saw the first goal in the game, and it was scored on a penalty after Ziqi Li left the pool illegally and was immediately ejected. Raney scored the game’s first on the ensuing penalty.
China capitalised on their first extra-player opportunity thanks to a strike from their deadliest attacker, Jing Zhang, but two goals from Maggie Steffens and Julia Bonaguidi at the quarter’s end gave the United States the lead (3-1).
There wasn’t much goal-mouth action for the majority of the second quarter. Team USA looked to be in control, but they had to be patient before pulling away from their opponents.
Musselman let a rocket fly for 4-1, but China pegged them back thanks to two well-placed shots from Siya Yan. The Americans did eventually get their two-goal lead back just before half-time, with 18-year-old Julia Bonaguidi snatching her second of the game (5-3).
The third quarter was a disjointed one, with a lengthy stop in the middle due to a technical difficulty. It didn’t seem to phase the reigning Olympic Champions though, who kept their course with extra-player strikes from Maddie Musselman and Emily Ausmus (7-3).
Zewen Deng pulled one back for the Chinese with a really nice lob, but the USA killed the game late in the quarter, with Bonaguidi bagging a hat-trick, before Maddie Musselman’s late goal put clear daylight between the two team (9-4).
The Chinese lost their way in the end, and the USA picked them off. There were more goals in the game for Maggie Steffens and young American superstar Emily Ausmus. Four minutes from time, Rachel Fattal, Team USA’s skipper, then weighed in with a well-converted 5m penalty, which proved to be the last goal of the game
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