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LONDON, England, August 8. A new men's champion will be crowned at the 2012 London Olympics as the dream run of triple Olympic champions Hungary ended with an 11-9 loss to world champions Italy in the quarterfinals of the men's water polo event.
Italy will now play Serbia, who struggled for most of its match against Australia before winning 11-8. Montenegro, who beat Spain 11-9, will play Croatia in the other semifinal on Friday. Croatia beat USA 8-2.
Spain v Montenegro
– Montenegro moved into the semifinals with an 11-9 victory over Spain, thanks to four goals from Boris ZLOKOVIC.
– Atlanta 1996 champions Spain produced exciting water polo in the first quarter, matching Montenegro 4-4, and then winning the final quarter 3-1. However, Montenegro was ahead 7-5 at half-time and a comfortable 10-6 at the final break.
– Nineteen players collected major fouls, with only Predrag JOKIC (MNE) gaining three to leave the match. Montenegro converted five from 15 and Spain only four from 18 on the man-up situations.
Australia v Serbia
– Australia nearly pulled off one of the greatest Olympic water polo upsets, but could not convert a three-goal lead into victory against gold-medal favorites Serbia in the second men's quarterfinal at the Water Polo Arena on Wednesday.
– The normally dominant Serbians won by just 11-8, but found themselves in the unusual position of trailing for three quarters and only took the lead for the first time with 4 minutes 19 seconds remaining. Four times Australia led by three goals – 5-2, 6-3 and 8-5.
– Filip FILIPOVIC (SRB) scored three goals to lift his tally to 13 and Andrija PRLAINOVIC (SRB) became the first man to 20 goals with a pair either side of the final break.
Italy v Hungary
– A new men's champion will be crowned at London 2012 as the dream run of triple Olympic champions Hungary was ended by world champions Italy with an 11-9 result in the third men's quarterfinal.
– Italy can lay claim to the Olympic crown – if it can first pass Serbia in the semifinals — after leading 5-4 at half-time and 8-5 heading into the final quarter.
– Hungary clawed its way back into the match for 9-8 and then 10-9 with 39 seconds remaining, but could not bridge the gap.
– Italy's Pietro FIGLIOLI, Christian PRESCIUTTI and Maurizio FELUGO all scored three goals as did Hungary's Norbert MADARAS.
Croatia v United States
– Croatia had the easiest of the quarterfinal clashes, beating United States 8-2 in a drama-filled match.
– Two-goal star Paulo OBRADOVIC (CRO) was excluded from the game for chatting back to the referee early in the third quarter and Andro BUSLJE (CRO) gained his third major foul when he tried to punch a USA shot away, which is not allowed by a field player. The resulting penalty shot, by USA captain Tony AZEVEDO, was disallowed as he moved too far over the five-meter line.
– It was a shocking result for the Beijing 2008 silver medalists USA, who were held scoreless in the first half after 2-0 and 3-0 quarters for 5-0 at half-time. USA dragged the game back to 5-2 in the third quarter, but Croatia led by a match-winning 7-2 at the final break.
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