Greece, Netherlands, USA, China Earn Way to Quarterfinals in Women’s Water Polo at 2015 FINA World Championships

Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

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Greece, Netherlands, United States of America and China won through to Monday’s quarterfinals in preliminary round competition on the fourth day of women’s water polo at 2015 FINA World Championships.

While the group winners enjoyed a day off competition, the next eight teams battled for the right to play the quarterfinals and the bottom four teams played their classification semifinals.

Greece was the first team through, defeating Canada 9-6 mid-afternoon; Netherlands was rampant against Kazakhstan, winning 21-1 in a heavy downpour that lasted the entire match; United States of America had the better of Hungary 12-7 after being 11-3 up after three quarters in constant rain (heavy in the first half and lighter in the second) and China stuttered to a 10-8 win over Brazil (in light rain).

In the round of 13-16, New Zealand broke free of South Africa, turning a 4-0 halftime margin to 11-3 at fulltime. France beat Japan 9-6, meaning France will play New Zealand for 13th place on Monday and the others will play off for 15th classification.

August 3 Schedule

Classification 15-16

31. 09:30, RSA v JPN

Classification 13-14

32. 10:50, NZL v FRA

Classification 9-12 Semifinals

33. 12:10, CAN v HUN

34. 13:30, KAZ v CAN


35. 17:30, ESP v USA

38. 18:50, RUS v NED

36. 20:10, AUS v CHN

Match 30: 20:10, BRAZIL 8 CHINA 10

Quarters: 1-2, 1-3, 4-3, 2-2

Referees: Stephane Roy (CAN), Dion Willis (RSA).

Extra Man: BRA: 2/7. CHN: 3/12.

Pens: BRA: 1/2. CHN: 1/1.


BRAZIL: Tess Oliveira, Diana Abla, Marina Zablith, Mariana Duarte (1), Lucianne Barroncas, Izabella Chiappini (5), Amanda Oliveira (1), Luiza Carvalho, Melani Dias (1), Viviane Bahia, Lorena Borges, Gabriela Mantellato, Victoria Chamorro. Head Coach: Patrick Oaten.

CHINA: Jun Yang, Jianing Tian, Xiaohan Mei, Dunhan Xiong, Guannan Niu (2), Yating Sun (1), Donglun Song (2), Cong Zhang, Zihan Zhao (2), Weiwei Zhang (1), Xinyan Wang (1), Jing Zhang (1), Lin Peng. Head Coach: Rick Azevedo (USA).

Match Report:

China became the last team to qualify for the quarterfinals at the expense of a gallant Brazil and the shooting prowess of Izabella Chiappini. It was not made easy as China had to work slowly, moving to 4-1 and 5-1 by halftime. China’s fifth goal gave Guannan Niu her 11th for the tournament after starting the day as the equal leading shooter at the championships. Izabella Chiappini netted both Brazil’s goals with an excellent counter attack for 1-1 and a penalty conversion at 2-4. She sent her early third-quarter penalty attempt into the bar off a bounce, which could have narrowed the margin to two. It was critical as Brazil stepped up and took the score to 5-7 at 3:53, Chiappini sending in what looked like a lazy lob, fooling Chinese goalkeeper Jun Yang. She did it again at 2:11, lobbing off the left post from 10 metres for 6-7 and the match was on. It was her 10th goal in Kazan. Chinese captain Yating Sun stopped the landslide with a backhand shot from centre forward to take a two-goal buffer into the final period. Chiappini made Yang look ordinary with a centre-forward, back-flick lob three minutes into the final quarter. Luckily Weiwei Zhang converted extra on the next attack and Zihan Zhao finished off a double attempt on extra for 10-7 at 3:26. Brazil scored the last at 1:13 but it wasn’t enough.


Rick Azevedo (USA) — China Head Coach

“It was not a very good game; an ugly game. Brazil came with a very good game plan, jamming us. I’ve got to give credit to Brazil, also coming back to a one-goal game. Our goalie (Jun Yang) did not have a good game tonight. Perhaps it was all the lobs that threw her off. Ugly or not, a win’s a win, so now we get ready for Australia (in the quarterfinals).

Pat Oaten (CAN) — Brazil Head Coach

“I don’t think anyone expected a great game, however, we are improving game by game. We have got to get into pressure situations and convert. When we make an error it seems a big error. We’ve got to cut down on the errors.”


Quarters: 3-1, 4-1, 4-1, 1-4

Referees: Ursula Wengenroth (SUI), Daniel Flahive (AUS).

Extra Man: USA: 2/7. HUN: 1/6.

Pens: HUN: 1/1.


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Samantha Hill, Madeline Musselman, Melissa Seidemann (1), Rachel Fattal (4), Alys Williams, Maggie Steffens (3), Courtney Mathewson (3), Kiley Neushul, Ashley Grossman (1), Kaleigh Gilchrist, Makenzie Fischer, Kami Craig, Ashleigh Johnson. Head Coach: Adam Krikorian.

HUNGARY: Flora Bolonyai, Dora Czigany (2), Dora Antal (1), Dora Kisteleki, Gabriella Szucs, Orsolya Takacs, Anna Illes, Rita Keszthelyi (3), Ildiko Toth, Barbara Bujka, Krisztina Garda, Kata Menczinger (1), Edina Gangl. Head Coach: Andras Meresz.

Match report:

USA came to play, despite the heavy rain that became just a constant drizzle at halftime. Hungary was just not in the match for much of the first period with USA shooting to a 3-0 lead before Hungary pulled one back thanks to Dora Antal at 2:01. The second quarter opened the match up with USA’s Rachel Fattal scoring her second and third for 5-1 and Courtney Mathewson her second for 6-1. Captain Maggie Steffens, the London Olympics’ dominant star, converted her second for 7-1 and Hungary was really on the ropes. With just seconds remaining in the half, Rita Keszthelyi scored Hungary’s second to close the half. Mathewson’s aim was straight again to start the third period and Steffens and Mathewson followed with shots all from the same position on the left for an incredible 10-2 by 3:04. Mel Seidemann snapped in a rebound off a shot on extra-man attack for 11-3. USA’s defence was superb, shifting quickly and blocking many Hungarians shots while Ashleigh Johnson was collecting most of the rest. The fourth period was all Hungary as USA changed into a defensive system, allowing the Hungarians to score four straight goals before USA netted the last from centre forward.


Maggie Steffens (USA) — Captain

”We wanted to come into this match with a lot of heart since from this game onwards it’s do or die. The tournament ends with the next game, is how we look at it. In the fourth quarter our defence let up a little bit, but we were also trying to play a different sort of game, being a bit more protective. But that can also get you into trouble, so moving forward we have got to adjust that a bit. Now Spain in the quarterfinals, but I think it’s not a rematch (of Barcelona 2013). It’s two years later and a completely new team and you’ve got to go into it that way.”

Courtney Mathewson (USA) — Three Goals

“We knew it was do or die game after finishing second in our bracket. We know we have to win every game from here. We definitely have things to work on. We have a chance in two days to get better.” On playing in heavy rain: “The rain was a shock, but we train in outdoor pools all year so it was not too big a factor.”

Andras Meresz (HUN) — Head Coach

“The US are very, very strong at World Championships; they lost to Italy and they know they must play to get into the best eight. Against Hungary the USA always plays press and that style is not good for my team. It was awful for us.”

Match 28: 17:30, KAZAKHSTAN 1 NETHERLANDS 21

Quarters: 0-4, 0-7, 0-6, 1-4

Referees: Joseph Peila (USA), Cory Williams (NZL).

Extra Man: KAZ: 1/6. NED: 4/6

Pens: NED: 1/1


KAZAKHSTAN: Alexandra Zharkimbayeva, Aruzhan Yegemberdiyeva, Aizhan Akilbayeva, Anna Turova, Kamila Zakirova, Oxana Tikhonova, Zamira Myrzabekova, Oxana Saichuk, Darya Muravyeva, Darya Roga, Anastassiya Mirshina (1), Assem Mussarova, Darya Ryzhinskaya. Head Coach: Miroslav Trumbic.

NETHERLANDS: Laura Aarts, Miloushka Smit (5), Dagmar Genee (2), Chatarina van der Sloot (1), Amarens Genee (1), Nomi Stomphorst, Marloes Nijhuis (2), Vivian Sevenich (2), Maud Megens (3), Isabella van Toorn (4), Lieke Klaassen (1), Leonie van der Molen, Debby Willemsz. Head Coach: Arno Havenga.

Match Report:

Kazakhstan was no match for Netherlands from start to finish. The Dutch, needing as much pressure game time as possible ahead of the quarters, pressured themselves, mainly with counter-attacks. This may have helped to keep the body heat up in what were atrocious conditions, raining heavily from start to finish. Perhaps that was putting the shooting arms off as the Dutch failed to find the target on many occasions. The Kazakhs, heavily supported by the large crowd ducking and diving for cover, tried hard and were finally rewarded at 2:00 when Mirshina nailed the goal everyone wanted, on extra from the top. Zamira Myrzabekova nearly made the scoresheet on counter the next attack but it was saved.


Arno Havenga (NED) — Head Coach

“’This was basically a game we had to play. I could practise some minor tactical details, but mainly told the girls to go have fun, try not to concede a goal and avoid injuries. We’re already busy analysing Russia and will continue to work towards that big game.”

Match 27: 13:30, CANADA 5 GREECE 8

Quarters: 3-3, 1-1, 0-2, 1-2

Referees: German Moller (ARG), Voijin Putnikovic (SRB).

Extra Man: CAN: 1/5. GRE: 1/3.

Pens: GRE: 1/2


CANADA: Jessica Gaudreault, Krystina Alogbo, Katrina Monton, Emma Wright (1), Monika Eggens, Kelly McKee, Joelle Bekhazi (1), Shae Fournier, Carmen Eggens, Christine Robinson (1), Stephanie Valin (2), Dominique Perreault, Nicola Colterjohn. Head Coach: Johanne Begin.

GREECE: Eleni Kouvdou, Christina Tsoukala, Stefania Charalampidi (3), Christina Kotsia (1), Margarita Plevritou, Alkisti Avramidou, Alexandra Asimaki, Antigoni Roumpesi (1), Ioanna Charalampidi, Triantafyllia Manolioudaki (2), Eleftheria Plevritou (1), Eleni Xenaki, Chrysoula Diamantopoulou. Head Coach: Georgios Morfesis.

Match report:
In beating Canada, Greece set itself for a tough quarterfinal against Italy on Monday. Greece was behind three times until nearly midway through the second quarter and from there on it was basically all Greece. Watched by the Presidents of Russian Federation regions Tatarstan and Crimea (along with their security details), the Greeks held Canada scoreless for 21 long minutes until at 1:15 in the final quarter, Joelle Bekhazi scored from well outside. Stefania Charalampidi, a left-hander in her 20th year, scored three, including a penalty conversion after three minutes earlier her team-mate, veteran Antigoni Roumpesi, bounced her attempt into the bar. Canada was trying everything it could in those 21 minutes, however, poor finishing and perhaps concentrating too hard on restricting the likes of Alexandra Asimaki proved too tough mentally. The efforts in this arena worked well as Asimaki, her team’s leading scorer going into the match, failed to find the net — on just two chances. Canada is now consigned to the 9-12 classification round.


Georgios Morfesis (GRE) — Head Coach
“Well done. Good opening. I didn’t want this scenario (playing Italy in the semifinals). I would rather play Spain. We prepared a lot for this match. We had good defence. We were clearly better than Canada. The tournament starts for us now.”

Antigoni Roumpesi (GRE)
“We deserved to win. In water polo you have to prove it in the water. In the third period and after we proved we were the better team. It was a good result and everything went well.”

Joelle Bekhazi (CAN)

“We knew (Alexandra) Asimaki was the player to watch. There were a few breakdowns and we let Greece get a run. We didn’t put away every opportunity, especially on the power play.”

Match 26: 12:10, JAPAN 6 FRANCE 9

Classification 13-16 Semifinal

Quarters: 3-2, 1-4, 1-1, 1-2

Referees: Fabio Toffoli (BRA), Peter De Jong (NED).

Extra Man: JPN: 3/5. FRA: 1/6.

Pens: FRA: 3/3.

JAPAN: Rikako Miura, Chiaki Sakanoue, Yuri Kazama, Shino Magariyama, Moe Nakata (1), Ayaka Takahashi (1), Yumi Nakano (2), Mitsuki Hashiguchi, Kana Hosoya (1), Tsubasa Mori, Marina Tokumoto, Kotori Suzuki (1), Yuko Umeda. Head Coach: Hideo Katoh.

FRANCE: Lorene Derenty, Estelle Millot (1), Lea Bachelier (1), Aurore Sacre, Louise Guillet (5), Geraldine Mahieu (1), Marie Barbieux, Marion Tardy (1), Lucie Cesca, Sonia Bouloukbachi, Yaelle Deschampt, Michaela Jaskova, Morgane Chabrier. Head Coach: Filippos Sakellis.

Match Report:

France moved into the play-off with New Zealand for 13th place with a strong showing against a determined Japan. France’s spearhead was captain Louise Guillet who added another five goals to the seven she already had during the week. Two came from penalties and her fifth was a backhand shot from six metres three seconds from halftime. Japan restricted her movements in the second half and tight defence by both times kept the scoring chances low. Guillet drew a penalty in the last four seconds while on counter and Lea Bachelier converted for 9-6.


Louise Guillet (FRA) — Five Goals

“We did not play well at the start, but afterwards we started to play our game better. We play New Zealand now and I hope we will win and finish 13th at this World Championship.”

Keishi Oi (JPN) — Assistant Coach

“We concentrated too much on our centre play. We had to use middle shots to get more space. I think we improved in the fourth. We played porrly in the first, second and third quarters.” On restricting Louise Guillet (FRA) to no goals in the second half: “Even before the game we knew she was a key player, but we did stop her in the second half. Our shot conversion was also poor.”

Match 25: 10:50, NEW ZEALAND 11 SOUTH AFRICA 3

Classification 13-16 Semifinal

Quarters: 2-0, 2-0, 4-3, 3-0

Referees: Anne Grandin (FRA), Tadao Tahara (JPN).

Extra Man: NZL: 5/8. RSA: 2/10.

Pens: Nil


NEW ZEALAND: Brooke Millar, Nicole Lewis (1), Sarah Pattison, Danielle Lewis (2), Simone Lewis, Sarah Landry, Miranda Chase (1), Caitlin Lopes Da Silva, Emma Stoneman (1), Liana Dance, (1) Kirsten Hudson (2), Jasmine Myles (3), Katherine Curnow. Head Coach: Attila Biro.

SOUTH AFRICA: Rebecca Thomas, Megan Parkes, Kieren Paley (1), Ruby Versfield, Megan Schooling, Amica Hallendorff, Kimberly Kay (1), Delaine Christien, Lindsay Killeen, Deborah O’Hanlon, Kelsey White (1), Alexandre Gascoigne. Head coach: Bradley Rowe.

Match report:

Two nations not known for professional programmes showed some interesting water polo in front of a nearly full house, almost unheard of for a match at the bottom end of competition. Both teams were tentative in the first two periods and South Africa could not get shots on target as the Kwiis drilled two in each quarter. The third quarter was real delight as both teams roared into high-competition mode. Kimberley Kay put South Africa on the scoreboard with a bounce shot from deep left and 17-year-old Liana Dance, a revelation at the Intercontinental Tournament in Auckland, responded for 5-1 at centre forward. South Africa threw in consecutive goals from captain Kelsey White and Kieren Paley, both born from extra-man chances. The game and the spectators had lit up. New Zealand struck a purple patch with three goals in just over a minute with Nicole Lewis having two point-blank shots to score once and sister Danielle Lewis — two of three sisters in the team, thought to be a first at World Championship women’s level — finishing a counter-attack 18 seconds later to close the third period. The Kiwis compiled another three in the last period, getting seven different players on the scoresheet and Danielle Lewis gained her third.


Attila Biro (NZL) — Head Coach

“I’m really happy we have some success finally, which I was hoping for earlier. Hopefully it will give the girls some confidence to take 13th place (on Monday). South Africa was strong and always grabbing the togs, but it was good to be 4-0 at halftime. I’m content with the result OK.”

Danielle Lewis — Top Scorer

“It was hard that we lost our first four games, but we were positive and came out firing.” On being one of three sisters in the team: “Nicole is the eldest, Simone the second and I am the youngest. We played together at school and all went to different universities. We came together to try out for the team and it’s the first time we have all played together internationally.” On her future in the sport: “I hope to play overseas somewhere. I really love the sport.”

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2015 FINA World Championships, Women’s Water Polo: Preliminary Round Day 4 – Results

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