Spain and Italy will fight for the gold medal, while Greece and Australia for the bronze medal at the 4th FINA World Youth Women’s Water Polo Championships in Belgrade. This was the main outcome of Day 6 of the competition in the capital of Serbia, where we have seen the best edition of the Italian national team so far.
Therefore, the decisive match between Italy and Spain will be the pinnacle of the whole tournament. These two teams already met in the preliminary phase when Spain convincingly won by 13:6 but the gold-medal match will bring more uncertainty.
Greece and Australia will seek consolation for the lost semi-finals in the third-place match. The team of the United States faced a new defeat, this time from the Netherlands.
Quarters: 4:4, 3:5, 2:3, 4:2
During the third quarter, Kazakhstan had even a five-goal advantage (12:7). Uzbekistan then scored four goals in a row, but Uzbek players didn’t have more power. With this tangential victory, Kazakhstan won the 11th place at the World Championships in Belgrade.
Quarters: 1:1, 2:2, 2:1, 4:1
By the middle of the last quarter, it was a very balanced, equal match marked by excellent goalkeepers on both sides. Then we saw a period where New Zealand was more aggressive (and efficient), so in the last four minutes, the Canadian net was hit four times for the final victory of New Zealand.
Quarters: 4:4, 2:2, 4:4, 3:1
Three completely balanced quarters, with a lot of changes in the lead, with one goal ahead for either Hungary or Russia. In the last period of the game, Utassy, from the penalty, and Pap, in a counter-attack, secured a decisive lead for Hungary that Russia could not overcome. Hungary will play for fifth and Russia for the seventh place.
Quarters: 1:3, 2:2, 2:1, 2:2
The US team obviously didn’t recover from a shocking defeat against Italy in the quarter-finals. The Netherlands started much better, firstly leading by 3:0, then by 5:2 in the second quarter, and 6:3 at the beginning of the third period. Americans then started to play better, raising the quality of their game. Three consecutive goals for 6:6, then also 7:7, but at 5.28 minutes before the end, Simone van der Kraats of Netherlands scored a goal. It turned out later that this was a winning goal. American players had the last attack, even with the man-up situation, but the shot of Valeria Ayala was blocked by Rozanne Voorvelt.
Quarters: 2:1, 2:4, 6:4, 3:0
A great performance by two of the top teams in the tournament. Spain took over the game in the third quarter – the key moments were the end of it and the beginning of the last quarter. In the last second of the third quarter, Ruth Arino score for a 10:9 advantage for Spain. In the first action of the last period, Eleni Kanitedou from Greece had a penalty-shot but she missed. In a counter attack, Mireia Guiral scored for an 11:9 lead for Spain.
Quarters: 3:1, 2:2, 1:2, 1:0
Italy is playing better and better as a tournament goes by, so this was not a surprise – Italy qualified for the final!
After only four minutes of the second quarter, there was a huge 5:1 for Italy. The Europeans displayed an excellent defense, a far more organized attack led by the extraordinary Lucrezia Cergol, a true headache for the Australian side. However, Australia didn’t surrender.
So, after scoring three goals (two in second and one more at the beginning of the third quarter) came to the only one-goal difference (5:4). A few minutes later 6:5. Australians also had the opportunity to equalize with the man-up situation. On the other side, Italy had even two penalty-shots in only five seconds, and they managed to miss both! More precisely, both shots were saved by Australian goalkeeper Lily Hawthon.
In the last quarter, Italy scored for 7:5 (Isabella Ricciolli) and Australia at 2.43 to go missed a penalty shot (Matlinda Kearns).