The teams of the United States, Australia, Spain and Hungary will play in the semifinals of the women’s water polo tournament at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju.
Titleholder the USA team easily defeated Greece in today’s quarterfinals (15:5). Australia was better than Russia (9:7). Spain had a furious opening of the quarterfinal match against the Netherlands and recorded a 12:8 win in the end. Hungary went through to the semifinals, by defeating Italy in a very close match (7:6).
Two group winners (Russia and Italy) were eliminated in the quarterfinal round. In Budapest two years ago, just one of the group winners (USA) managed to reach the semifinals, while Italy, Greece and Hungary were eliminated.
Both semifinals in the battle for places 9th-12th were ended after penalty shootouts. Kazakhstan defeated New Zealand (14:12). Canada edged out China (17:16).
Japan finished in the 13th place, as it beat South Africa today (21:2). Cuba was too strong for South Korea in the game for the 15th place (30:0).
Semifinals (July 24th)
USA – Australia
Spain – Hungary
Semifinals (5- 8): Greece – Russia, Netherlands – Italy
USA – Greece 15:5 (4:0, 4:2, 2:2, 5:1)
USA: Longan, Musselman 4, Seidemann 1, Fattal 1, Hauschild, Steffens 1, Haralabidis 1, K. Neushul 1, A. Fischer 2, Gilchrist 1, M. Fischer 2, A. Williams 1, A. Johnson (7 saves). Head coach: Krikorian.
Greece: Stamatopoulou (8 saves), Tsoukala, Benekou, Eleftheridou 2, Patra, Avramidou 1, Asimaki, Chydirioti, Kotsia, Ninou, Plevritou, Xenaki 2, Kotsioni. Head coach: Morfesis.
Extra player: USA 8 (5 goals), Greece 5 (2).
The USA team blew away Greece in the first quarterfinals of the women’s tournament. The reigning champion built a 5:0 lead before Greece (2001 World champion) scored its first goal in the 11th minute. The Americans, led by Maddie Musselman (4 goals), were 8:2 up at halftime and only the margin of their win was in question. By the end, the USA extended the margin to 10 (15:5).
Russia – Australia 7:9 (1:2, 0:2, 3:2, 3:3)
Russia: Golovina (7 saves), Bersneva , Prokofyeva 1, Karimova 2, Tolkunova , Gorbunova 1, Serzhantova, Simanovich, Timofeeba 1, Soboleva, Ivanova 1, Ryzhakova 1, Karnaukh (7 saves). Head coach:Gaidukov.
Australia: Palm (14 saves), Gofers, Buckling 2, Halligan 2, Bishop, Knox, Webster 3, Ridge, Arancini 1, Mihailovic, Armit 1, Steere, Yanitsas. Head coach: Mihailovic.
Extra player: Russia 14 (5), Australia 3 (0). Penalties: Australia 2 (2).
Russia, the bronze medal winner at the 2017 World Championships, won’t play in the semifinals. This was the fourth time that they didn’t advance to the semifinals four times (1994, 2001, 2015 and 2019). The Russians made its debut at the WCH in Rome in 1994. Since then, they have won 5 bronze medals, they were 4th three times.
The first two minutes of the match saw three goals. Australia, which finished 8th in Budapest 2017, earned a 2:0 lead, while Russia responded for 1:2. It seemed, that the game would be an exciting encounter with plenty of goals. But, from that point on, the defenses dominated. Australia kept Russia scoreless for more than 14 minutes! A goalkeeper Gabriela Palm played excellently today (14 saves). “Stingers” had just three man-up attacks in the match. All three in the first half and they didn’t convert any of them. However, the Aussies jumped to a 4:1 lead by halftime. The Russians started climbing back with Timofeeva’s goal for 2:4 in the middle of the third period. The European side equalized at 6:6 with 4:38 remaining on the clock. Australia responded with three goals in a span of 101 seconds to build a safe 9:6 advantage two and a half minutes before the end.
Australia returns into Top 4 teams after the 8th place in Budapest two years ago.
Spain – Netherlands 12:8 (6:1, 2:3, 2:1, 2:3)
Spain: Ester (13 saves), Bach, A. Espar 4, B. Ortiz 1, Tarrago 1, I. Gonzalez 1, C. Espar, Pena, Forca 1, Crespi, M. Garcia 4, Leiton, M.E. Sanchez. Head coach: Oca
Netherlands: Koenders, Megens, D. Genee 1, Van der Sloot 3, Wolves 1, Stomphorst, Rogge 1, Sevenich, Keuning, Koolhaas, Van de Kraats 2, Voorvelt, Buis (9 saves). Head coach: Havenga
Extra player: Spain 11 (5), Netherlands 6 (3). Penalties: Spain 1 (1), Netherlands 1 (1).
The Spaniards stunned the Dutch in the opening quarter. After less than 7 minutes of play, Spain had a 6:0 lead! Van De Kraats converted an extra player for 1:6 just 10 seconds before the first break. Early in the second Anna Espar netted her 3rd goal today for 7:1. The Dutch reduced the gap by the middle break. Spain was 8:4 at halftime. Rogge opened the scoring in the second half, by a goal from an extra player shot for 5:8. But, Spain netted twice in the last three minutes of the third period and closed the quarter with a 10:5 lead. The Dutch didn’t give up until the end, but there was no way back for them.
Italy – Hungary 6:7 (2:4, 2:1, 1:1, 1:1)
Italy: Gorlero (13 saves), Tabani 1, Garibotti , Avegno 1, Queirolo 1, R. Aiello, Picozzi 1, Bianconi , Emmolo 1, Palmieri, Chiappini 1 , Viacava , Lavi. Head coach: Conti
Hungary: Gangl (8 saves), Szilagyi 1, Parkes, Gurisatti 2, Rybanska, Horvath, Illes 1, Keszthelyi 1, Leimeter 2, Gyongyossy, Csabai, V. Valyi, Magyari. Head coach: Biro.
Extra player: Italy 9 (3), Hungary 9 (3). Penalties: Hungary 1 (1).
The last quarterfinal was the only which had a thrilling finish. The Hungarians were leading 2:0, 4:2 and 5:3 in the first half. The Italians equalized (5:5) with Tabani’s beautiful goal in the 19th minute. Two minutes later, Gurisatti converted a penalty shot and put Hungary in front (6:5) before the last quarter.
Queirolo scored the 6th goal for Italy (6:6) after Hungary missed a man-up in its first possession in the 4th quarter. Dora Leimeter hit the back of the net for the final score (7:6), almost five minutes before the end. But, in the remaining time, there were no goals. Italy’s last chance was Garibotti’ attempt six seconds before the last buzzer. She missed, and Hungary booked a ticket for the semifinals.
Canada – China 17:16 (4:4, 3:4, 1:1, 2:1, PSO 7:6)
Canada: Christmas 3 (+2), McKelvey 2 (+2), Paul 1 (+1), Fournier 1, Crevier 1 (+1), E. Wright 1 (+1 PSO), Eggens 1.
China: J. Zhang 4 (+1), H. Wang 2 (+2), Xiong 2 (+1), Chen 2, Z. Zhao (1 in PSO), D. Zhang (1).
New Zealand – Kazakhstan 12:14 (3:6, 3:2, 2:0, 2:2, PSO 2:4)
New Zealand: Doyle 4, McDowall 3, Houghton 2 (+1 in PSO), Howarth 1. Tobin (1 in PSO)
Kazakhstan: Mirshina 4 (+1), Myrzabekova 2 (+1), Turova 2, Zakirova 1, Novikova 1 (+1), Roga (1).
Both semifinals in the 9 – 12 classification were decided in a penalty shootout.
The Canadians had a solid opening of the match with China. They had a 2-goal lead (3:1 and 4:2), but China took control in the second quarter and entered the last eight minutes with a 9:8 advantage, while they gained a 10:8 lead in the middle of the 4th quarter. Canada managed to equalize and secure a penalty shootout with Kyra Christmas’s goal 47 seconds before the end – 10:10. There were no misses or saves in the first 6 series in the shootout. Canada coach David Paradelo rotated its goalkeepers a few times during the penalty shootout. Before the 7th series, Clarie Wright replaced Jessica Gaudreault. Wright stopped Danyi Zhang’s shot in the 7th series, on the other side Gayley McKelvey scored for a 17:16 win.
An encounter between Kazakhstan and New Zealand also offered a lot of twists and turns. Kazakhstan had a 4-goal lead (8:4) in the 12th minute. New Zealand struck back strongly, with 6 goals in a row and earned a 10:8 advantage in the middle of the last quarter. Kazakhstan came back into the match with two goals and the encounter ended in a 10:10 draw, as well as the 1st semifinals in the 9-12 classification. The Kazakhs were perfect in the shootout. They scored 4 times, while their goalkeeper Alexandra Zharkimayeva posted two saves and Kazakhstan celebrated a 14:12 victory.
For the 13th place
South Africa – Japan 2:21 (0:4, 1:4, 1:6, 0:7)
South Africa:Moir 1, Hallendorff 1.
Japan: Arima 5, Inaba 4, Suzuki 3, Koide 3, Hashida 2, Yamamoto 2, Niizawa 1, Sakanoue 1.
For the 15th place
South Korea – Cuba 0:30 (0:8, 0:9, 0:6, 0:7)
Cuba: Grau 5, Chavez 5, Gonzalez 5, Plasencia 5, Carrasco 3, Frias 2, Ramirez 2, Gonzalez 1, Bernal 1, Diaz 1.
As expected, Japan easily beat South Africa and clinched the 13th place. The outcome of today’s match proved that the Japanese belonged to the teams which are above the 13th place, but they had no luck in the group stage, in which they lost three games by only two goals (Italy, Australia, China).
The home team didn’t have a big fans’ support as it had in previous days. People returned to work, so the match, which started at 8:00 AM was played in front of 300 spectators. The Cubans had no mercy, their defense didn’t let a single goal, while they played nice in attack and cruised to a big 30:0 win.