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LONDON, England, August 10. ITALY will look for a fourth Olympic men's water polo crown after defeating world cup champions Serbia 9-7 in their semifinal at the Water Polo Arena on Friday. Croatia beat Montenegro 7-5 in the other semifinal to also advance to Sunday's gold medal match at the 2012 London Olympics.
Should Italy win the gold medal, it would add to previous Olympic victories at London 1948, Rome 1960 and Barcelona 1992. Croatia's best Olympic men's water polo result was silver at Atlanta 1996 as an individual country. Croatia, previously, had had success as part of Yugoslavia before Croatia declared independence in 1991. Yugoslavia won Olympic gold in 1968, 1984 and 1988.
Classification round 1st-4th semifinal Italy v Serbia
– World champions Italy will play Croatia for the gold medal on Sunday after defeating world cup champions Serbia 9-7 in the second semifinal.
– It was a replay of the 2011 FINA world championships final in which Italy also emerged the victors. For head coach Alessandro CAMPAGNA it would be a triumph.
– For the moment, the 1992 Olympic champion as a player can contemplate being an Olympic champion coach as he already has the world championship double.
– Serbia's constant run of playing for championships has been halted and a rematch of the Beijing 2008 bronze-medal match with Montenegro is now a reality.
– Serbia led 2-1 early; trailed 4-2 at the quarter with two defensive deflections; 6-4 at half-time and 8-5 at the final break.
Classification round 1st-4th semifinal Croatia v Montenegro
– A five-goal, first-half burst pushed Croatia past Montenegro 7-5 and into the gold medal final against Italy.
– From ninth at January's European championships, the Ratko RUDIC-coached team had the game wrapped up at 5-1 by half-time, meaning Croatia will be in the Olympic final for the first time since Atlanta 1996.
– The second half lacked luster as Croatia did what they needed and European silver medallists Montenegro had trouble getting through the defense, let alone brilliant goalkeeper Josip PAVIC – probably the best at London 2012.
– Montenegro will now clash with Serbia for the bronze medal.
Classification round 5th-8th semifinal USA v Spain
– Three-goal hero Felipe PERRONE steered Spain into Sunday's fifth-place men's play-off with Hungary after an 8-7 victory against the USA. Spain shot to a 3-0 lead, led 3-1 at the quarter, 5-2 at half-time and 6-4 after three quarters.
– PERRONE is one of the class players of London 2012 and lifted his goal tally to 15. He scored one of his customary counter-attack goals, for which he is the tournament's leader, and netted his third goal for an 8-6 lead inside the final minute with a shot that rebounded in off the crossbar and the back of USA goalkeeper Merrill MOSES's head.
– USA will play Australia for seventh and eighth.
Classification round 5th-8th semifinal Hungary v Australia
– Hungary beat Australia 10-9 in a brutal men's 5th-8th semifinal match in which five players failed to see out the match with three on suspension and the other two collecting three major fouls.
– Hungary led 4-1, but Australia enjoyed a 5-1 spell to go 6-5 up before Hungary leveled for 6-6 at half-time. Hungary went into the final quarter 7-6 ahead.
– Australia took the lead at 8-7 and 9-8 before two late Hungarian goals sealed the match, ensuring Hungary a play-off for fifth against Spain.
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