Canada and the United States won top places in their respective groups of the Women’s World League Super Final in Athens.
It was expected that the USA, the big favorite for the gold medal, will finish in 1st in Group B, while the outcome of the three-day competition in Group A is a little bit surprising. But, Canada deserved the top position. The North Americans defeated Russia on Day 1 (12:10). Today, the Canadians defeated another European powerhouse – Hungary (13:12) and cemented 1st place.
The USA ran over Spain today (18:9). Russia defeated Japan in a high-scoring match (21:13). Even 15 goals were scored in the fourth period of the fourth quarter of the encounter between Russia and Japan.
Host Greece, finally, recorded a win beating Kazakhstan in the last match of the group stage (25:11).
Day 3, results – Group A: Hungary – Canada 12:13, Japan – Russia 13:21. Group B: Spain – USA 9:18, Greece – Kazakhstan 11:25.
Day 4, Quarterfinals: Canada (A1) – Kazakhstan (B4), Russia (A2) – Greece (B3), Hungary (A3) – Spain (B2), Japan (A4) – USA (B1).
Hungary – Canada 12:13 (2:4, 5:3, 1:3, 4:3)
Hungary: Rybanska 2, Parkes 2, Illes 2, Valyi 2, Szilagyi 1, Gurisatti 1, Keszthelyi-Nagy 1, Leimeter 1
Canada: Christmas 4, McKelvey 3, La Roche 3, Crevier 1, Eggens 1, Lemay-Lavoie 1.
Extra player shots: Hungary 5/9, Canada 4/10.
Japan – Russia 13:21 (2:4, 4:3, 2:4, 5:10)
Japan: Arima 8, Kawaguchi 2, Ibana 1, Ura 1, Hashida 1.
Russia: Simanovich 5, Glyzina 5, Bersneva 3, Timofeeva 3,Prokofyeva 2, Fedotova 1, Serzhantova 1, Vakhitova 1.
Extra player shots: Japan 5/14, Russia 7/10. Penalty shots: Japan 2/2, Russia 3/3.
Hungary needed a 2-goal win to climb atop the table, but Canada dictated the pace for most of the time and didn’t let Hungary earn a 2-goal advantage. The Canadians earned a 3-goal lead (6:3) already in the 10th minute of the game. The Hungarians, the winners of the European qualifications, equalized 15 seconds before the middle break (7:7). In the middle of the third period, Hungary went in front (8:7), but not for a long. Canada found its rhythm soon and responded with three goals to enter the final quarter leading 10:8.
Hungary caught up with the Canadians in the 26th minute (10:10), but the North Americans responded with two goals and re-built a 2-goal lead (12:10) with 03:57 remaining on the clock.Two and a half minutes before the final buzzer, Canada had a 13:11 advantage. Valyi halved the distance immediately (12:13), but the Hungarians couldn’t equalize and finished 3rd in the group, which means that it will face Spain in the quarterfinals.
Russia struggled but convincingly defeated Japan. The Asians had a dream start, they opened the game with two quick goals for a 2:0 lead. Russia answered with six goals and earned a 6:2 advantage. But, the Japanese, with Yumi Arima, who was outstanding (8 goals), came back and leveled at 6:6, and again at 7:7. Russia entered the fourth quarter with a 3-goal advantage (11:8). After the last break, defenses disappeared. Goalkeepers didn’t post a single save in the last eight minutes, so the match turned into a scoring festival. Russia controlled the game and recorded a 21:13 victory.
1 Canada 3 – 9
2 Russia 3 – 6
3 Hungary 3 – 3
4 Japan 3 – 0
Spain – USA 9:18 (2:4, 3:6, 2:4, 2:4)
Spain: Forca 5, Ortiz 2, Ruiz 1, Gonzalez 1.
USA: Fattal 5, Steffens 4, M.Fischer 3, Musselman 3, Seidemann 2, A.Fischer 1.
Extra player shots: Spain 2/9, USA 6/14 Penalty shots: Spain 2/2, USA 1/1
Kazakhstan – Greece 11:25 (2:8, 1:5, 3:7, 5:5)
Kazakhstan:Pochinok 3, Turova 3, Muravyeva 2, Roga 1, Novikova 1, Khritankova 1.
Greece: Eleftheriadou 6,E.Plevrutou 6, Myriokefalitaki 4, Xenaki 3, Ninou 2, V.Plevritou 2, Tricha 1, M.Plevritou 1.
Extra player shots: Kazakhstan 9/15, Greece 7/12
The big match of the day lacked excitement. The reigning champion Team USA easily beat Spain, which is the European champion and the World Championships silver medalist. The Americans, led by Rachel Fattal, dominated the first half of the match. In the 11th minute, they had a 6:2 advantage. Spain reduced the gap shortly after (3:6), but the USA struck back powerfully – with four goals in a row. The Americans jumped to a 10:3 lead (15th minute) and killed all suspense.
Early in the third period, Spain came close to its rival (7:10). The USA responded with a 7:0 series for a 17:7 advantage (27th minute) and closed the contest.
The previous official match between Spain and the USA was more exciting than today’s duel. Two years ago, the Americans beat Spain 11:6 in the gold-medal game at the World Championships.
For the first time at the tournament, Greece had all 13 players in the line-up. The hosts played with 10 players in the matches against the USA and Spain because of suspensions. The hosts had a big desire to prove they aren’t underdogs, as one could think after big losses to the USA and Spain. The Greeks dominated from the first whistle and cruised to the win over the team which isn’t in the same category as them.
1 USA 3 – 9
2 Spain 3 – 6
3 Greece 3 – 3
4 Kazakhstan 3 – 0