Women's Water Polo World Cup 2010, Day 3: Australia and China win groups at FINA World Cup

Water Polo World Cup

Australia won Group B with a come-from-behind 10-8 victory over Russia at the women's water polo FINA World Cup at QE II Park Pool here today. The shocking start helped steel the Aussie Stingers as they decreased the deficit to one (5-4) at halftime and then smashed the European champion with a 5-2 third period.

The 9-4 middle segment of the game showed just how good the Aussies are and lived up to the expectations of retaining the crown won in China four years ago. Australia scored three penalty goals and two from four attempts when a player up while defending 11 of Russia's 13 attempts on extra.

Stingers' head coach Greg McFadden said: “Russia came out firing while we were still wallowing in our glory from yesterday's game (two-goal win over USA). “It gave us a very early wake-up call. We had our chances in the first quarter but we weren't clinical enough. The girls thought it was a bit too easy but you have to show the utmost respect for all teams in this competition,” McFadden said.

Knox's contribution was huge while two quick goals from Glencora Ralph to take the Stingers ahead for the first time in the third period, proved critical to the win. Australia will play winless Greece in the quarterfinals.

Greece lost 13-11 to Hungary today, producing its best performance of the week. China won Group A with an excellent 9-7 victory over Canada. World champion United States of America beat New Zealand 17-8 to finish second and fourth respectively in Group B. The sell-out crowd was strongly behind the Kiwis who drew the final quarter 5-5.

Greece may have had the advantage in the opening quarter but it was Hungary from then on. Greece started with the opening goal but Hungary responded through gutsy  centre forward Barbara BUJKA. Angeliki GEROLYMOU slotted a penalty goal and after Rita KESZTHELYI scored for 2-2, Hungarian captain Rita DRAVUCZ had her penalty attempt blocked by Maria TSOURI’s right hand. Antigoni and Christina TSOUKALA pushed Greece out to a 4-2 lead at quarter time. Hungary struck back to 4-4 through Agnes VALKAI from the top and Rita POSZKOLI’s effort. Then Greece took back the advantage through TSOUKALA and feisty centre forward Alexandra ASIMAKI, Hungarian coach Matyas PETROVICS couldn’t help himself and gained a yellow card, probably thinking that twice his team should have been given penalty attempts. BUJKA gained another of her trademark-turn and left-hand shot using sheer muscle and determination. KESZTHELYI lobbed TSOURI for the equaliser at 1:10. Hungary tried a timeout with no success. Stavroula ANTONAKOU gave Greece the lead at the start of the third period but then a five-goal Hungarian surge for eight minutes of play took the Hungarians out to 11-7. Twice BUJKA proved dangerous with a centre-forward shot and then a rebound. After DRAVUCZ earned the four-goal margin, ANTONAKOU beat the possession buzzer after some snappy passing. Greece called timeout and TSOUKALA converted the play for 11-9. A minute later DRAVUCZ rifled in a long shot. ASIMAKI found a gap above the head of Orsolya KASO for 12-10 at 4:35. ASIMAKI drew the game to within one, using her skill to turn her opponent and pop the ball past KASO for 12-11. Orsolya TAKACS ruined the Greek party with a shot from the top left at 2:09. Greece had three shots inside the last minute but could not breach the defence.

Quarters: 4-2, 2-4, 1-4, 4-3
GREECE: Maria TSOURI, Christina TSOUKALA (3), Konstantina KOUTELI, Ilektra PSOUNI (1), Kyriaki LIOSI (C), Alkisti AVRAMIDOU, Alexandra ASIMAKI (3), Antigoni ROUMPESI (1), Angeliki GEROLYMOU (1), Triantafylia MANOLIOUDAKI, Stavroula ANTONAKOU (2), ANTONIA SOLANAKI, Eleni KOUVDOU. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.

HUNGARY: Orsolya KASO, Hanna KISTELEKI, Rita POSZKOLI (2), Dora ANTAL, Gabriella SZUCS, Orsolya TAKACS (1), Rita DRAVUCZ (C 2), Rita KESZTHELYI (2) Ildiko TOTH, Barbara BUJKA (4), Agnes VALKAI (2), Kiata MENCZINGER, Aniko GYONGYOSSY, Mercedes STIEBER. Head Coach: Matyas PETROVICS.

credit: Russell McKinnon


Georgios MORFESIS (GRE) — Head Coach

"We played much better than yesterday (against Canada) but not well. We now have a hard cross game. We tried to avoid USA and Australia in the cross-overs, but… We had three losses and one was a disaster. The cross-overs are very difficult and leave us little chance (to progress to the top four). We will probably play Australia. The other teams have very good form and have been targeting this tournament. In 15 days we have the European championships where we expect to play better than here."

"The problem in these three games is we gave away easy goals. We scored with difficulty and gave away easy goals. Australia is the worst team to play at this moment. They are very strong swimmers and have a lot of enthusiasm."

Matyas PETROVICS (HUN) — Head Coach

"We played easy in the first quarter. I then changed some tactical variations in the first seven players — their places. The problem for me was the 4-0. We made mistakes after mistakes. We then used our heads and had some very good defence. Greece only played at 50 per cent. Tomorrow will be hard and it will be a learning game. Then comes the important games for qualification (for next year’s FINA World Championships)."

Two periods really made this match and the opening quarter where Russia came out firing to lead 3-0 by the break was absolutely amazing. Australia was stunned and struggled to gain some traction in the second quarter, pulling the game to within one before steaming ahead in the third period, which was all Australia’s. Russia was a worthy adversary for Australia and two Evgeniya SOBOLEVA goals at the start from the same position outside had Australia reeling. Rowena WEBSTER scored twice for Australia with the second from the penalty line. Russia maintained he momentum with two goals to Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA, who has been quiet at this tournament. Australia earned another penalty and captain Bronwen KNOX obliged for 5-3. Jane MORAN scored off extra from wide and Australia was just one behind at the long break. The third period was action plus and the Aussie Stingers were at their speedy best, scoring twice on counter (Mel RIPPON and Nicola ZAGAME), one from 10m by Glencora RALPH, a follow-up shot from deep by RALPH and then a closing penalty by Gemma BEADSWORTH. In between this Sofya KONUKH drilled one from the top for 6-5 and Evgeniya IVANOVA brought Russia to one behind at 8-7. BEADSWORTH gave Australia the 9-7 lead just before the final break. ZAGAME increased the margin to three with a nice pass from MORAN on counter inside the last three minutes. The Russian impetus was gone and Australia by this stage was 10-4 in scoring since the first quarter. However, the final goal came from IVANOVA on extra inside the final minute. But the biggest hiccup for Russia was the extra-man count — a shocking 2/13 conversion rate.

Quarters: 3-0, 2-4, 2-5, 1-1
RUSSIA: Evgeniya PROTSENKO, Nadezda GLYZINA (1), Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA, Sofya KONUKH (C 1), Evgeniya PUSTYINNIKOVA, Natalia RYZHOVA-ALENICHEVA (2), Ekaterina TANKEEVA, Evgenia SOBOLEVA (2), Anna TIMOFEEVA, Olga BELYAEVA, Evgeniya IVANOVA (2), Yulia GAUFLER, Maria KOVTUNOVSKAYA. Head Coach: Alexandr KABANOV.

AUSTRALIA: Victoria BROWN, Gemma BEADSWORTH (1), Sophie SMITH, Holly LINCOLN-SMITH, Jane MORAN (1), Bronwen KNOX (C 1), Rowena WEBSTER (2), Glencora RALPH (2), Zoe ARANCINI, Ashleigh SOUTHERN, Melissa RIPPON (1), Nicola ZAGAME (2), Lea BARTA. Head Coach: Greg McFADDEN.

credit: Russell McKinnon


Alexandr KABANOV (RUS) — Head Coach

“We were not totally switched on but we did start well. We are still warming up. The main problem is that Australia is tough and far more physical. This component of the game means we are weaker. However, we did not use our opportunities on six on five. We were very bad and that’s why we lost. In the second half our defence was not good and we hit the post and did not score so much. We tried too hard to score.”

Greg McFADDEN (AUS) — Head Coach

“Russia came out firing while we were still wallowing in our glory from yesterday’s game (two-goal win over USA). It gave us a very early wake-up call. We had our chances in the first quarter but we weren’t clinical enough. The girls thought it was a bit too easy but you have to show the utmost respect for all teams in this competition. In the third quarter we played the style we know we can play. Bronwen Knox was excellent at centre back and the pressure allowed us to get steals and counter-attacks. The really crucial part of the game was where Russia called a timeout, we defended the shot and scored at the other end, which happens to be very demoralising.”

This was one of the most eagerly anticipated games and it proved to be a stunner. Both teams have played strongly this week and with two wins each and the group victory on offer, it was a great match. Canada managed to win the opening quarter but a trio of Chinese goals swung the pendulum and by halftime China was still one ahead. China had the better of the third and no goals came in the last. Canada’s Emily CSIKOS was the strike weapon throughout. Twice she went to the penalty line and converted and one other was on counter. Both teams had strong defensive games. When the SUN attack came in the second quarter, Canada was not phased. SUN Yujun scored twice and SUN Yating went on counter for a 5-3 lead. CSIKOS and Monika EGGENS kept Canada in the game but TENG Fei scored on extra in the middle. With EGGENS’ goal coming three seconds from the long break, the game was kept on a knife’s edge. HE Jin sent in a back-hander from two metres to open the second half and two CSIKOS goals covered GAO Ao’s successful penalty. SUN Yating closed the period on extra for a 9-7 lead. Both teams took a timeout early in the final quarter but goals were scarce. Christine ROBINSON’s big chance inside the last minute bounced wide and Canada could not bridge the gap and had to settle for second.

Quarters: 2-3, 4-2, 3-2, 0-0
CHINA: YANG Jun, TENG Fei (1), LIU Ping, SUN Yujun (3), HE Jin, (1) SUN Yating (2), SONG Donglun (1), GAO Ao (1), WANG Yi, MA Huanhuan (1), SUN Huizi (C), ZHANG Lei, CHEN Yuan. Head Coach: Juan JANE GIRALT.

CANADA: Rachel RIDDELL, Krystina ALOGBO (C 1), Katrina MONTON, Emily CSIKOS (5),Joelle BEKHAZI. Whitney GENOWAY, Rosanna TOMIUK, Dominique PERRAULT, Monika EGGENS (1), Christine ROBINSON, Tara CAMPBELL, Marina RADU, Marissa JANSSENS. Head Coach: Pat OATEN.

credit: Russell McKinnon


Pat OATEN (CAN) — Head Coach

“We didn’t play badly and the Chinese played very well. They’re a very disciplined team and you can’t make little mistakes against them. I thought we deserved a bit more in the centre-forward position. I have no problem with our ejections. Now we have to regroup and get ready to play Russia tomorrow.”

Juan JANE GIRALT (CHN) — Head Coach

“It is the same feeling as yesterday. Maybe not perfect but we played correct, very well and clean. To be the winner is not easy. I have more respect for Russia, Australia and USA but we must show respect to New Zealand (tomorrow). Three top teams and three wins. That is very important for China.”

New Zealand was on a win to nothing against the World and World League champion USA. That didn¹t stop the gutsy Kiwis scoring first to huge delight of a capacity crowd. Emily COX netted but the USA was stung into action and scored the next three through Lauren SILVER, Brenda VILLA and Annika DRIES. COX ensured that New Zealand would go to the break only one goal behind when she swept in a right-arm goal from centre forward. The second quarter was all USA with Kami CRAIG, DRIES and Kelly RULON producing a 6-2 halftime score. VILLA opened the third for 7-2 but New Zealand responded through Kirsten HUDSON on extra. Anne BELDEN, Dries for her third and SILVER from the top for her second had the USA 10-3 up two minutes from the last break. Courtney MATHEWSON scored from the penalty line and Melissa SEIDEMANN shot from the top to close the period. Well into the final quarter, Lynlee SMITH lobbed Emily FEHER, who was playing the last quarter in the USA goal, from six metres for 12-4. This was a frantic match in which goals were sprayed from everywhere. SMITH, BELDEN, BOWRY, MOSS and RULON in succession had USA 15-5 ahead. Lauren SIEPRATH rifled in two either side of a SEIDEMANN goal. Margaret STEFFENS planted one in from the top and then BOWRY had the last say with a six-metre lob. It was fantastic scoring: 5-5 in the final period. The extra-man statistics were the best of the tournament and all credit to the Kiwis with their 5/7.

Quarters: 3-2, 3-0, 6-1, 5-5
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, Anne BELDEN (2), Brenda VILLA (C 2), Margaret STEFFENS (2), Juliet MOSS (1), Courtney MATHEWSON (1), Lauren SILVER (2), Elsie WINDES, Kelly RULON (2), Annika DRIES (3), Kameryn CRAIG (1), Melissa SEIDEMANN, Emily FEHER. Head Coach: Adam KRIKORIAN.

NEW ZEALAND:  Carina HARACHE, Emily COX (2), Emma STONEMAN, Danielle LEWIS, Alexandra BOYD, Lynlee SMITH (1), Isabella MORRISON, Lauren SIEPRATH (2), Anna SIEPRATH (C), Casie BOWRY (2), Kirsten HUDSON (1), Shann ELLS-TEWHIU, Dana HARVEY. Head Coach: Eelco URI.

credit: Russell McKinnon


Eelco URI (NZL) — Head Coach

“That final-quarter draw with the States was great. You have to be happy that quarter. I was also pleased with the first two quarters. We still make mistakes. That’s normal but a team like the US punishes you. All they need is half a metre of space and the ball goes in. It’s punish and learn.
“The third quarter was very physical and we’re not used to that. It’s a completely different style of play.
“I’m very pleased to being China. I have a lot of respect for the way Juan Jane (Chinese coach who hails from Spain) approaches the game . We share the same vision. They look for the answer. I like that as you have to react to what’s happening around you. He’s the master and a legend of the game.”

Adam KRIKORIAN (USA) — Head Coach

“A little better than the five goals we put up yesterday but the way they were playing defensively we knew that we were going to get opportunities on goal. They played a big zone and really dared our shooters on the outside to shoot. You know if teams are going to do that we are going step up to the plate and be aggressive, get on our legs and not be afraid to shoot the ball and that’s what we did today.

“I guess as a coach you always worry about complacency and taking it lightly but that is something that we talked about heading into the game. I think it helped a little bit  that they played Russia to a tight game yesterday but we are just focusing on playing the best we can no matter who the opponent is and we did that today.

“They’re (Hungary) a very scary team to play. Offensively they are potent and have a lot of weapons. Their centre has been playing great, they have some of the best shooters in the world so we are going to have to be very sharp defensively if we want to come away with a win tomorrow.”