The United States women’s team makes history. In the final of the 2018 World Championships in Gwangju, the ladies from the USA defeated Spain 11:6. They became the first team (male or female) which won three straight gold medals at the World Championships. The USA has 6 titles in a total.
The USA dominated from the beginning of the tournament in Gwangju and beat all rivals with a big margin (the smallest difference was in the group stage match against Netherlands -12:9).
Roser Tarrago (Spain) was voted the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Her teammate Laura Ester was the best goalkeeper, while Rita Keszthelyi (Hungary) was the best scorer (24 goals).
Today’s match was a replay of the final of the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. Two years ago, the USA beat Spain by 7 goals (13:6)
18th FINA World Championships, women’s water polo tournament, Day 7
USA – Spain 11:6 (3:1, 2:2, 4:0, 2:3)
USA: Longan, Musselman, Seidemann 1, Fattal 1, Hauschild 1, Steffens 2 , Haralabidis 1 , K. Neushul 3, A. Fischer 1 , Gilchrist, M. Fischer 1, A. Williams, A. Johnson (14 saves). Head coach: Krikorian.
Spain: Ester(6 saves), Bach, A. Espar, B. Ortiz 2, Tarrago 3, I. Gonzalez, C. Espar, Pena, Forca 1, Crespi, M. Garcia, Leiton, M.E. Sanchez. Head coach: Oca.
Extra player: USA 7 (5), Spain 10 (3). Penalties: Spain 1 (1).
Before the match, rain hit the venue in Nambu University Grounds in Gwangju, but there were no thunders, so the game could be played.
Rain and an absence of the best scorer Maddie Musselman who is injured( she was sitting on the bench) didn’t disturb the Team USA in their efforts to win the gold medal.
The Americans opened the match with a 2:0 lead, and maintained a 2-goal advantage until the first break (3:1). But, the Spaniards took control in the second quarter. Tarrago equalized in the 12th minute (3:3). By the end of the first half, the USA earned a new 2-goal lead. Makenzie Fisher and Mellisa Seidemann brought the match to 5:3.
Playing very good in defense, the USA built a nice 9:3 lead before the last period. Rachel Fattal scored from 6 on 5 for 6:3. Kiley Neushul added a goal. Neushul found the net for the second time in the match to pull the USA to a 9:3 lead (0:11 before the last break). So the
Americans could enter relaxed in the last eight minutes.
Tarrago halted Spain’s long scoreless phase of 12:13 minutes for 4:9. Margaret Steffens responded with an extra player goal for 10:4. Forca netted for 10:5. In the remaining time, the USA managed to maintain a big 5-goal gap.
The USA team has won 10 medals at the World Championships – 6 gold (2003, 2007, 2009, 2015, 2019), silver (2005) and 2 bronze medals (1986, 1991).
Spain has collected one gold (2013) and two silvers (2017, 2019)
Adam Krikorian, USA head coach, said:
-As coaches whether we had success or not each team can go back with a laundry list of things to work on. We will continue to strive to be as good as we could be. It’s difficult to win the tournament. We have a ton of respect for Spain, Australia. The nice thing about the women’s game is that nine or 10 teams can win a medal. European champion team Netherlands finished seventh and Spain matched up with them in the quarterfinal. We know we can be beaten at any time and everyone can get better and we can focus on that.
Melissa Seidemann, who won her 3rd world title:
-It was fun and a great environment. Korea did a great job with the rain and the environment. There were great connections in the water and we could hear our coaches, which is really special.
Miki Oca, Spain head coach:
-We knew today was a very difficult game against a great team and we did, let’s say, the first 10-12 minutes tied, but two minutes before the end of the second quarter they made a hole then scored two or three goals and that was a little but down and we couldn’t follow them. Congrats to them; we will try to get better. That’s it.
(Quotes source: FINA)
12 New Zealand
14 South Africa
16 South Korea
All medal winners
1986 (Madrid): 1. Australia, 2. Netherlands, 3. USA
1991 (Perth): 1. Netherlands, 2. Canada, 3. USA
1994 (Rome): 1. Hungary, 2. Netherlands, 3. Italy
1998 (Perth): 1. Italy, 2. Netherlands, 3. Australia
2001 (Fukuoka): 1. Italy, 2. Hungary, 3. Canada
2003 (Barcelona): 1. USA, 2. Italy, 3. Russia
2005 (Montreal): 1. Hungary, 2.USA, 3. Canada
2007 (Melbourne): 1. USA, 2.Australia, 3. Russia
2009 (Rome): 1. USA, 2. Canada, 3. Russia
2011 (Shanghai): 1. Greece, 2. China, 3. Russia
2013 (Barcelona): 1. Spain, 2. Australia, 3. Hungary
2015 (Kazan): 1. USA, 2.Netherlands, 3. Italy
2017 (Budapest): 1. USA, 2. Spain, 3. Russia
2019 (Gwangju): 1. USA, 2. Spain, 3. Australia
Match for the bronze: Australia takes bronze
Games for the 5th and the 7th place: Russia claims 5th place