2012 London Olympics, Water Polo : USA, Spain to Battle for Women’s Water Polo Gold

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LONDON, England, August 7. WORLD cup and world league champions USA will play Olympic newcomers Spain for the women's gold medal on Thursday following semifinal action at the Water Polo Arena at the 2012 London Olympics.

Italy v China – Round 5th-8th classification semifinal
– China moved into the play-off for 5th place with a 14-10 victory over Italy.
– The Athens 2004 champions had no answer to the Chinese attack that caused so many problems for – Australia in Sunday's quarterfinals.
– China worked early extra-man chances, making Italy pay for heavy fouling and led 5-2 at the quarter, 10-4 at half-time and 12-6 at the last break.
– China has played their best two games in succession, but will only get to play for fifth against Russia, while Italy will play for 7th against Great Britain.

USA v Australia – Round 1st-4th semifinal
– High drama preceded USA women's 11-9 extra-time semifinal victory over Australia with an illegal timeout call forcing a last-second, equalizing penalty shot by Australia to send the game beyond four quarters.
– USA won the first three-minute period to lead 11-9 and Australia seemed reluctant to shoot in the second, scoreless period, missing the chance for a second gold medal to go with the victory at Sydney 2000.
– USA veterans Brenda VILLA and Heather PETRI will go into the record books as four-time medallists on Thursday, but will be hoping for a first gold to go with two silvers and a bronze.
– Ironically, Australia and Hungary will have a Beijing 2008 rematch, which was won in a penalty shootout by Australia.

Russia v Great Britain – Round 5th-8th classification semifinal
– Russia had to come from behind five times to beat Great Britain 11-9.
– The game was locked at 3-3 after the first quarter, while Great Britain had a 5-4 half-time advantage.
– The Britons twice went ahead in the crucial third period, but two late Russian goals gave them an 8-7 lead at the final break.
– Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA (RUS) scored three of her four goals in the first half. Great Britain's best were Francesca SNELL and Chloe WILCOX with three each.
– Russia goes to the 5th-6th play-off against China and Great Britain to the 7th-8th decider with Italy.

Hungary v Spain – Round 1st-4th semifinal
– Spain booked a gold medal date with world cup champions USA after beating Hungary 10-9 in the second semifinal, setting up an enthralling encounter between two teams who drew 9-9 in group play.
– Spain, out to win the Olympic crown at their first appearance, led 2-1, 7-5 and 9-7 at the breaks.
– Anni ESPAR (ESP) scored four goals and Spanish assistant coach Jordi VALLS might not be on the bench for the final, having received a red card midway through the final quarter.
– Spanish head coach Miguel OCA, who missed the quarterfinal because of suspension, had the team working slickly and his hopes must be to win the final and attain the rare distinction of winning gold as a player (Atlanta 1996) and as a coach.

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