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LONDON, England, August 4. THE leading medal contenders for this year are beginning to emerge with the fourth of five days of men's water polo preliminary competition in the books at the 2012 London Olympics.
Montenegro, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Serbia and the United States have safely advanced out of group play, with only the eighth spot to be decided on Monday between Australia and Greece.
Montenegro v Romania
– Montenegro moved into the quarterfinals with a 12-8 group B victory over Romania for their second win to go with a draw and a loss.
– Montenegro led 3-1, 5-2 and 8-4 at the breaks, with Aleksandar IVOVIC (MNE) scoring three and lifting his tournament tally to 11.
– Montenegro is tipped to beat Great Britain in the final preliminary-round matches on Monday. Romania clashes with Serbia.
Croatia v Australia
– Croatia maintained their unbeaten group A record to advance to the quarterfinals, beating Australia 11-6 for a fourth win. Australia are in danger with a one-win, three-loss record.
– Croatia led 2-1, 5-2 and 8-4 at the breaks as Australia were outgunned in man-up situations.
– Croatia needs only to beat Kazakhstan on Monday to complete its group sweep. Australia faces Greece to decide the final quarterfinal berth.
Greece v Spain
– Spain progressed to the quarterfinals by defeating Greece 11-9.
– Spain is assured a spot in the top eight regardless of what its result against Italy is on Monday.
– Felipe PERRONE and Albert ESPANOL each added two more goals to lift their tournament records to nine.
– Greece has three points from four games and needs to beat, or tie with, Australia for the final berth.
Italy v Kazakhstan
– World champions Italy joined the quarterfinal qualifiers with a 9-6 win over Kazakhstan in a group A match.
– Italy led 4-2 after the first quarter, increased the margin to 8-4 at half-time before Kazakhstan had the better of the second half.
– Christian PRESCIUTTI (ITA) top-scored with three goals.
– Italy closed their round play against Spain and Kazakhstan will play their last game against Croatia on Monday.
Hungary v Great Britain
– Hungary's quest for a 10th Olympic crown is still on track after qualifying for the quarterfinals with a 17-6 victory over Great Britain.
– Hungary needed to produce a quality performance after a lackluster London 2012 in which they have won just two games from four outings, but they finish ahead of Romania and Great Britain on the group ladder.
– Britain used No.2 goalkeeper Matt HOLLAND, who excelled with 12 saves.
– Hungary takes on USA and Great Britain bows out against Montenegro on Monday.
Serbia v United States
– Captain Vanja UDOVICIC and his Serbia team signaled their gold-medal intentions with a stunning 11-6 men's victory over the United States.
– Serbia now should go through undefeated after playing Romania on Monday and USA will have an intriguing match with Hungary, but should still finish second.
– Serbian captain UDOVICIC, a former world player of the year, scored three goals as Serbia led 4-1, 5-3 and 8-4 at the breaks.
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