BARCELONA, July 15. ITALY and Hungary will do battle today, the second day of the women's water polo competition at the 10th FINA World Swimming Championships at the CN Barcelona pool.
Winners on day one, they will provide the highlight in the second session of play, just before the Spanish will be chasing their first win, against Brazil, in the final game.
The clash between the leading European teams is one of the most keenly awaited of the tournament, pitting World Cup champion Hungary with world champion Italy. Hungary has the recent form in the December World Cup victory but Italy has won the previous two women's tournaments at this level. Both looked sharp on Sunday and the match should be a thriller.
Meanwhile, the first four (of eight scheduled) games today were blowouts, with Canada beating Brazil, 9-2;
Australia "woman-handling" Britain, 16-2; Russia toying with Venezuela, 23-4; and the Netherlands dispatching Japan, 15-3.
The game summaries:
Canada 9, Brazil, 2
This was definitely a game of two halves, the first where Canada was dominant and the second where Brazil struck back and leveled the two quarters.
It was all one-way traffic in the first two quarters with six different scorers for Canada before Ann Dow sent in one of her trademark goals from outside on right-hand catch.
Then Brazil was stung into action, taking a timeout in the third and converting the goal one second outside extra to Andrea Henriques. Mari-Luc Arpin responded for Canada and then Brazil scored again through a determined centre forward Camila Pedrosa, who shot, had the shot blocked and then snapped in the rebound. Jana Salat scored from outside with less than a second on the clock for 9-2 at three-quarter time.
Both teams took a timeout in the last quarter but could not score and Brazil had a penalty shot stopped by Canadian goalkeeper Whynter Lamarre.
Australia 16, Great Britain 2
Australia proved too classy for Great Britain. The Olympic champion was shooting for a high goal difference but the British women were intent on denying them too many goals.
It was a slow start at 2-0 for Australia but the second quarter of 5-1 proved the making of the game. GB's goal came from Fran Leighton in centre forward.
Australia eased out to 11-1 in the third period with centre forward Jodie Stuhmcke gaining her third. Kate Lewis scored a penalty goal for GB early in the fourth but Australia kept rolling on with Kate Gynther scoring twice on counter and Stuhmcke adding a fourth. Olympian Taryn Woods lobbing from eight metres for the final goal 2:07 from time.
Russia 23, Venezuela 4
Russia ran riot against Venezuela, scoring in the first 15 seconds and continuing the onslaught throughout. Ekaterina Salimova scored a hat-trick in the first quarter, finishing 7-0 up.
Stephany Rivero opened Venezuela's account at 8-1 with a backhand goal from two metres. She again brought the parochial Venezuelan supporters to their feet five minutes later on a cross pass. Veronika Linkova scored twice to round out the half 12-2 ahead.
Russia scored six straight in the third before Venezuelan Selene Rego drove through and scored with only six hundredths of a second left on the clock. Rego scored again on the drive, shooting over Russian goalkeeper Valentina Voronisova's left shoulder one minute into the fourth quarter. But there the dream died as Russia cruised to victory.
The Netherlands 15, Japan 3
Some teams just need a warm-up. Japan showed that with a spirited effort against the Netherlands after trailing 10-1 at halftime.
The game started at a frenetic pace with the first five goals coming with 4:30 showing on the clock. The Dutch took this to 5-1 at the quarter and stretched it to 10-1 by halftime with seven different players scoring.
The third was a different matter with Japan scoring twice, once through Makoto Tanaka on counter and the second by Akana Yamazaki, who swam across the goalmouth and sent in a right-hand backhander. Helen Peerenboom and Karin Kuipers scored their second goals in this period.
In the last, Danielle de Bruin picked up her third from left-hand catch, Kuipers scored again on extra and Gillian van den Berg converted a cross pass.
(courtesy of FINA)