USA Women’s Water Polo 1 Win Away From Quad Sweep at 2015 FINA World Championships

2672555 03.08.2015 Главный тренер женской сборной США по водному поло Адам Крикорян в четвертьфинальном матче по водному поло среди женщин между сборными Испании и США на XVI чемпионате мира по водным видам спорта в Казани. Константин Чалабов/РИА Новости
Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

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Olympic, World Cup and World League champion United States of America is one win away from the clean sweep of women’s water polo crowns after beating Australia 8-6 in the first medal semifinal today at 2015 FINA World Championships.

USA will face Netherlands, who beat Italy 10-9 in the other semifinal where Italy forced a shootout after being 1-5 down at halftime and scoring the only four goals of the final two periods. In the shootout, both teams scored three from five in the first rotation and Netherlands won through on the fourth sudden death shot, when Giulia Emmolo had her shot blocked by the right hand of Dutch goalkeeper Laura Aarts.

In the classification round 5-8 semifinals, China held off Spain 10-9 after being 10-7 ahead with five minutes remaining. Greece scored with a second remaining against Russia to force a shootout, which it won 4-3 for a 16-15 victory.

Hungary bowed out in a disappointing ninth position, defeating Brazil 22-7.

In the classification match 11-12, Canada beat Kazakhstan 20-4, improving on the 17-4 score in their group match on day two.

August 7 Schedule

Classification 7-8

14:00, ESP v RUS

Classification 5-6

15:30, CHN v GRE

Classification 3-4 (Bronze medal)

20:30, AUS v ITA

Classification 1-2 (Gold medal)

22:00, USA v NED

Match 44: 22:00, ITALY 9 NETHERLANDS 10 in sudden death penalty shootout (FT: 5-5. Pens: 3-3. SD: 1-2)

Classification 1-4 Semifinal

Quarters: 0-2, 1-3, 1-0, 3-0. Pens: 4-5

Referees: Sergey Naumov (RUS), Nenad Peris (CRO).

Extra Man: ITA: 1/11. NED: 0/6.

Pens: ITA: 0/1.


ITALY: Giulia Gorlero, Chiara Tabani, Arianna Garibotti (1), Elisa Queirolo (1), Federica Radicchi (2), Rosarie Aiello (1), Tania di Mario (2), Roberta Bianconi (1), Giulia Emmolo, Francesca Pomeri, Laura Barzon (1), Teresa Frassinetti, Laura Teani. Head Coach: Fabio Conti.

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

Match Report:

Italy scored four unanswered goals in the second half to force a 5-5 draw and go to a penalty shootout, which it lost 4-5 in sudden death. The first-half heroics of Maud Megens meant the Dutch will go to their first final since their last appearance after four consecutive in 1994. Netherlands held sway for most of the first half, keeping the Italians scoreless until the last half minute. Leading the charge for the Dutch was 19-year-old Megens scoring four goals, including all three Dutch scores in the second quarter. Her centre-forward backhand, climbing high out of the water, was sensational. Then, with just eight seconds on the clock, her fourth crossed the line from outside seven metres. Her first came on counter and the second was after extra-man attack from the top. She was born for the big matches, having scored three in the quarterfinal against Russia. Italy had the first big opportunity of the match when Roberta Bianconi took a penalty shot; her blast hit the cross. Federica Radicchi netted Italy’s sole goal of the half, from seven metres, clipping a player and spinning into goal. Almost apologetically, she laughed. There was lots of effort for no reward in the third period until Arianna Garibotti sent one into the bottom right from about eight metres at 1:33 for 2-5. The game had come alive. The defensive record of both teams on man-down defence was flawless by the final break. With the Dutch off the boil, Radicchi took the opportunity to arrow one in from top left for 3-5 at 6:33. The closest Netherlands came to a good shot was just before 11pm when Megens hit the crossbar from centre forward. Then the unthinkable happened as on extra the ball zipped across to the far post where unguarded Elisa Queirolo accepted and scored at 3:52 for 4-5. The stunned Dutch watched in horror as Rosaria Aiello snapped in a centre-forward backhand at 2:34 while being lightly guarded. It was 5-5 and the stadium had awoken, although Netherlands still appeared a little sleepy. Italy was pressuring the Dutch into long shots. Italy called a timeout with two seconds left after a Dutch shot and Tania di Mario’s attempt at a deflect was too high and the match went to a shootout. Netherlands was kept scoreless in the second half and gold-medal-final dreams were dimming. In the shootout, both teams missed two shots and it went to sudden death. Both Lieke Klaassen and di Mario netted. Then Catharina van der Sloot converted. Giulia Emmolo, who missed in the first rotation, had her attempt blocked by the right hand of Laura Aarts and the Dutch were through to the final.


Arno Havenga (NED) — Head Coach
”Our first two quarters were simply phenomenal. But in the second half the basic problem was to score. I believe that if we had done that in the third, we could have decided the game by then, but instead, playing a smart team as Italy, it hurts you in the end. But the girls have showed great resilience and as we had prepared possible penalties very well, we knew that even in a shootout we had very good chances to win. Even this morning I got a tape of the penalty series Russia-Italy at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, so we were aware of what was coming by the time the shootout started. Now USA in the final. A very, very good team. But we will be prepared. My team is gaining confidence every match this tournament so far and we’ll see how good we are on Friday.”

Fabio Conti (ITA) — Head Coach
“We were no good in the first half of the game and we didn’t start faster like other games. In the second half I liked the energy of my team and arrived at the last quarter in a more interesting position. The penalty shootout is a lottery. I just want to see a glass full and not half empty.”


Classification 1-4 Semifinal

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

Referees: Boris Margeta (SLO), Georgios Stavridis (GRE).
Extra Man: USA: 0/4. AUS: 2/6.
Pens: AUS: 0/1.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Samantha Hill, Madeline Musselman (1), Melissa Seidemann (1), Rachel Fattal (2), Alys Williams, Maggie Steffens (2), Courtney Mathewson, Kiley Neushul, Ashley Grossman, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Makenzie Fischer (1), Kami Craig (1), Ashleigh Johnson. Head Coach: Adam Krikorian.
AUSTRALIA: Lea Yanitsas, Gemma Beadsworth, Hannah Buckling, Holly Lincoln-Smith (1), Keesja Gofers (1), Bronwen Knox, Rowena Webster, Glencora McGhie (1), Zoe Arancini (1), Ashleigh Southern (1), Bronte Halligan, Nicola Zagame (1), Kelsey Wakefield. Head Coach: Greg McFadden.
USA vs AUS ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia

Match Report:
USA, who snatched a buzzer-beating goal for a 5-5 score at halftime, went on to beat Australia by two goals. A defensive structure adjustment at halftime served USA well to earn a gold-medal final shot. The first quarter saw USA open the scoring through Kami Craig at centre forward, followed by two goals from the Aussie Stingers — Keesja Gofers on extra and Holly Lincoln-Smith with a centre-forward backhand. Madeline Musselman effectively used a five-metre foul to net the equaliser at 1:44. Nicola Zagame scored off a high pass into two metres to open the second quarter followed more than a minute later by USA captain Maggie Steffens off a cross pass to the right. Makenzie Fischer drove down the left and scored into the bottom left to give USA a 4-3 lead at 5:07. At 3:41, Ash Southern swept in the ball from centre forward and slightly off centre, an unusual position for the big outside shooter. Glencora McGhie gave Australia the 5-4 advantage with a score from top right just inside three minutes. Australia used a timeout at 1:36, but the USA defence forced the Stingers well out and USA spelled at 0:10. The ploy was successful as Rachel Fattal scored her 15th goal of the championship from nine metres, skipping into the right side on the halftime buzzer for 5-5. The pressure was on in the third quarter and only one goal came, that from Steffens, receiving a long angled pass to the left post, catching on her back and scoring for 6-5. Fattal scored from the top at the start of the fourth and Australia struggled in the following minutes to get any traction. USA found it hard to penetrate as well until at 2:48 Mel Seidemann sent in a screamer. It hit the upright, bounced into the back of the head of Lea Yanitsas and into goal for 8-5 at 2:48. Australia had a chance on penalty, but Zoe Arancini’s shot was blocked by Ashleigh Johnson. Arancini made amends soon after with a conversion on extra for 8-6 at 1:10. Southern had a big shot with 20 seconds left but Johnson was there to make sure USA went to the final.
Adam Krikorian (USA) — Head Coach
On what led to the win: “Our defence in the second half. We made some adjustments at halftime as we were out of sorts in the first half. All credit to Australia for this. For us to hold them to one goal in the second half is fantastic.” On the pressure of being a favourite for the title: “Pressure is a privilege, you must be doing something right. You have to put yourself in a position to be successful. We lost to Italy and I think they are playing the best in the tournament. We know it will be extremely hard (final) and Holland is just getting better. It will be a tough final.”

Rachel Fattal (USA) — Two Goals
I think we played very good in defence We talked about it before the game and being able to use our counter and set up our offence.” On knowing Australia so well: “It’s good to know who we play, their tendencies and such. It’s good and bad. We don’t want to become too comfortable. I love playing them because they always give us a good game.”

Bronwen Knox (AUS) — Captain.
“In the second half we made some individual mistakes. We worked hard on defence and then individual areas let us down. There were also missed opportunities in attack.” On the word from the coach before the match: “We were looking for desperation in defence. Gradually our lapses gave them goals, some easy goals, especially the one just before halftime. It was annoying.”

Match 42: 17:00, GREECE 16 RUSSIA 15 in penalty shootout (FT: 12-12, Pens: 4-3)
Classification 5-8 Semifinal

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

Referees Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU), Gyorgy Kun (HUN).
Extra Man: GRE: 1/7. RUS: 3/17.
Pens: Nil:

GREECE: Eleni Kouvdou, Christina Tsoukala (2), Stefania Charalampidi (2), Christina Kotsia, Margarita Plevritou (2), Alkisti Avramidou (2), Alexandra Asimaki (1), Antigoni Roumpesi (4), Ioanna Charalampidi, Triantafyllia Manolioudaki (1), Eleftheria Plevritou (1), Eleni Xenaki (1), Chrysoula Diamantopoulou. Head Coach: Georgios Morfesis.
RUSSIA: Anastasia Verkhoglyadova, Tatiana Zubkova, Ekaterina Prokofyeva (3), Elvina Karimova (1), Ekaterina Zubacheva, Anastasia Simanovich, Ekaterina Lisunova (4), Evgeniia Abdriziakova (1), Anna Timofeeva (1), Ekaterina Tankeeva, Evgeniya Ivanova (5), Nadezhda Iarondaikina, Anna Karnaukh. Head Coach: Mikhail Nakoryakov.
RUS vs GRE ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia

Match Report:
In an incredible game of consecutive goals and turnarounds, Greece plundered the match from Russia, firstly forcing the tie and then winning the shootout. Greece had all the answers in the opening seven minutes, leading 4-0. Then a sensational minute came for Russia with three goals, including two in the last 18 seconds with one on the buzzer. The match had changed and not just that period, but in the next when the Russian sickle cut deep with the first three goals for a 6-4 turnaround. Greece had the better of the next stanza, scoring three of the four straddling the halftime break to level the match at 7-7. Evgeniya Ivanova, who scored the 7-5 goal, then put away consecutive scores for 9-7. Greece dragged it back to 8-9 by the close of the third and then Russia drilled three goals for what seemed an unassailable 12-8 advantage by 4:47. Ivanova converted extra for the 12th. Then Greece decided to have a run of fun with goals from Triantafyllia Manolioudaki, captain Antigoni Roumpesi, centre forward Eleni Xenaki and the all-important equaliser on extra, one second from time by Alkisti Avramidou. The stadium fell silent as a shootout loomed. Greece shot first and Christine Tsoukala bounced the second shot into the bar. Russia went to 15-14 ahead after the third rotation, but while Greece scored its final two shots, Russia had both blocked for Greece to emerge the victor.

Stefania Charalampidi (GRE) — Two Goals
“To tell the truth we have been preparing for this match for some time. (After shooting to a 4-0 lead) we started making mistakes. Our coach told us to keep our heads high. Even in the fourth (when four down) we were not scared. Our coach said three minutes is so much time to make the goals. We kept screaming to each other ‘We have got this, we have got this’.”

Alexandra Asimaki (GRE) — Centre Forward
“We have won! We wanted to win and finish fifth rather than last. It is a really good thing we win, however, all the best games are in the final four. It was not our best game, but at 4-0 we started well. We played the last minute as if we were in the final four, even like this.”

Ekaterina Prokofyeva (RUS) — Captain
“In the first quarter when the was a four-goal differential, we started to play and score. When we had a four-goal advantage (at the end) and lost we were sad. We wanted to win this to prove we are good. In the shootout we hoped up until the end to win. We all know the shootout is a lottery where anything can happen, but we still believed we could win.”
Match 41: 15:30, SPAIN 9 CHINA 10

Classification 5-8 Semifinal

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

Referees: Joseph Peila (USA), Daniel Flahive (AUS).
Extra Man: ESP: 5/14. CHN: 2/8.
Pens: CHN: 0/1.

SPAIN: Laura Ester, Marta Bach, Anna Espar (1), Paula Leiton, Matilde Ortiz, Jennifer Pareja (1), Clara Espar, Pilar Pena, Judith Forca (3), Roser Tarrago (1), Maica Garcia (1), Laura Lopez (2), Patricia Herrera. Head Coach: Miguel Oca.
CHINA: Jun Yang, Jianing Tian, Xiaohan Mei (1), Dunhan Xiong (1), Guannan Niu, Yating Sun, Donglun Song (4), Cong Zhang, Zihan Zhao (4), Weiwei Zhang, Xinyan Wang, Jing Zhang, Lin Peng. Head Coach: Rick Azevedo (USA).
ESP vs CHN ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia

Match report:
China consigned outgoing champion Spain to the play-off for seventh with a clinical display, bereft of too much emotion. The plan was there to play with “a little anger” as head coach Rick Azevedo (USA) said afterwards. This is what China did, taking the early lead, surrendering it at 4-5 late in the second quarter and regaining it midway through the third, never to relinquish it. From 5-6, China scored three quick goals for 8-7 with the youngest player (sitting up and claiming the eighth goal. China was well served by Zihan Zhao, a revelation at this tournament. She scored the first two goals, the fifth and the seventh, while team-mate Donglun Song equalled here efforts with the third, fourth and last two, which came at the top of the fourth for 10-7. Her third was exceptional, tipping on a high pass over her head at two metres. It was a match of multiple scorers with Spain’s Judith Forca scoring the last three in just over a quarter. Spain had chances in the final two minutes to equalise, but China was cool and defended for victory.


Rick Azevedo (USA) — China Head Coach
“We wanted to get top four at this tournament. We have a young team and came here to learn. We know we are good enough for top four. My 18 year-old (Xiohan Mei) got a great outside shot and we’re really looking good for Rio (Olympic Games). I had special tactics to play against Spain today and they 95 percent followed that. I told them to play with a little bit of anger today, especially after our (quarterfinal shootout) loss to Australia. The young ones stepped up and the defenders did a great job. The youngers ones have to play as good as the four veterans.”

Zihan Zhao (CHN) — Four Goals and 16 for Tournament
“I want every game to my best and score many goals. I have only been playing water for four years and I love it. I don’t think too much, just go and play the game. I love scoring goals.” On the best moment at the tournament: “Australia,” she said referring to the climactic encounter.

Miguel Oca (ESP) — Head Coach
“We didn’t play very well today and made many mistakes on defence. We ewren’t very good. China played the centre well and we were expecting that. Now we just have to get seventh position.”

Match 40: 12:10, HUNGARY 22 BRAZIL 7

Classification 9-10

Quarters: 5-2, 6-2, 6-0, 5-3

Referees: Ursula Wengenroth (SUI), Dion Willis (RSA).
Extra Man: HUN: 3/6. BRA 0/5.
Pens: HUN: 1/1.

HUNGARY: Flora Bolonyai, Dora Czigany, Dora Antal, Dora Kisteleki, Gabriella Szucs, Orsolya Takacs, Anna Illes, Rita Keszthelyi, Ildiko Toth, Barbara Bujka, Krisztina Garda, Kata Menczinger, Edina Gangl. Head Coach: Andras Meresz.
BRAZIL: Tess Oliveira, Diana Abla, Marina Zablith, Mariana Duarte, Lucianne Barroncas, Izabella Chiappini, Amanda Oliveira, Luiza Carvalho, Melani Dias, Viviane Bahia, Lorena Borges, Gabriela Mantellato, Victoria Chamorro. Head Coach: Patrick Oaten (CAN).
HUN vs BRA ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia

Match Report:
Hungary did what was required to claim ninth place and prove to the players that they were capable of a top-eight finish and good enough to mix it with the best. Brazil struggled against the desire of Hungary to show people back home that they are worth following and that they have the capability of bouncing back at upcoming championships. Brazil went several long periods without goals and had trouble containing the counter-attack game of Hungary. Rita Keszthelyi hammered home five goals with Dora Kisteleki and Barbara Bujke lifting their scores as well. Keszthelyi staked her claim for the highest goal-scorer award, leaving Kazan with 21 goals. Bujka was second best with 14. On the other side of the ledger, Izabella Chiappini netted twice and leaves with a tally of 17, the second best so far. Hungary’s ninth place is a long way down from titles in 2005 and 1994 and seven places off its podium finish in Barcelona in 2013. Ninth place in 2011 was previously the lowest finish. For Brazil, heading into the Rio Olympics as host, 10th equalled its best performances from 2007, 2001 and 1998. It
has played every edition except the first in 1986.


Orsolya Takacs (HUN) — Captain
“We are very disappointed as we worked a lot during the year. I don’t know what didn’t work. Physically we were right, mentally maybe not. We have to work on it from September for the European Championships (Belgrade in January) and then the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament for Rio. There si a very high level here and USA is the best physically and mentally and everything, but also the first eight are very good. There is a little difference of one or two goals in the teams.”
Match 39: 10:50, CANADA 20 KAZAKHSTAN 4

Classification 11-12

Quarters: 4-1, 5-1, 5-2, 6-0

Referees: Anne Grandin (FRA), Cory Williams (NZL).
Extra Man: CAN: 1/5. KAZ: 2/8.
Pens: CAN: 1/1. KAZ: 0/1.

CANADA: Jessica Gaudreault, Krystina Alogbo (1), Katrina Monton, Emma Wright (1), Monika Eggens (5), Kelly McKee, Joelle Bekhazi (1), Shae Fournier (3), Carmen Eggens (4), Christine Robinson (2), Stephanie Valin (2), Dominique Perreault (1), Nicola Colterjohn. Head Coach: Johanne Begin.
KAZAKHSTAN: Alexandra Zharkimbayeva, Aruzhan Yegemberdiyeva, Aizhan Akilbayeva (1), Anna Turova (1), Kamila Zakirova, Oxana Tikhonova, Zamira Myrzabekova, Oxana Saichuk, Darya Muravyeva, Darya Roga, Anastassiya Mirshina (2), Assem Mussarova, Darya Ryzhinskaya. Head Coach: Miroslav Trumbic (CRO).
CAN vs KAZ ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia

Match report:
Spurred on by a five-goal haul to Monika Eggens, Canada ripped through Kazakhstan with some handsome quarter margins. Canada came into the play-off with a +10 scoring differential so could be considered unlucky not to finish higher, but three-goal losses to both Greece and Hungary consigned it to this classification. Canada and Kazakhstan clashed in their group with Canada making it a 17-4 game, suggesting that today the margin needed to be bigger for its esteem and depart Kazan on a good winning note. Monika Eggens temporarily went top of the tournament-scoring list with 16 as her team’s best finisher. For Canada it was the worst performance at a World Championship, having contested every edition and finishing no worse than eighth in the past two and having finished on the podium four times. Kazakhstan, in finishing 12th, was one place down the ladder from two years ago and better than four editions stretching back to 2003. Its best performance and only one in single figure, was eighth in 2001. Anastassiya Mirshina finished her team’s best scorer with 13.

Johanne Begin (CAN) — Head Coach
“Before the game I asked the players, do you want to play for Canada, for me, for your team-mates? Do you believe in yourself? What do you want? Find the right solution. I think we played together, we were talking in the pool, so it was good communication.”

Miroslav Trumbic (CRO) — Kazakhstan Head Coach
“The first half was good water polo with good players. The second half was different as Canada was far away from us. This showed how strong are the others that they were not playing for one to eight. After the New Zealand game (4-14) it was really a catastrophe to lose in this manner. Finally, we played very bad. The final result was very bad, so I am not satisfied. I will go home to Split for a holiday.”

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2015 FINA World Championships, Women’s Water Polo: Preliminary Round Day 6 – Results