WPWL 2011: Australia men and women qualify for Super Finals, as does China women
Sydney (May 18). Australia has qualified both its teams for the FINA World League Super Finals following third-night action in the second leg of the Asia-Oceania FINA World League water polo event at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
China women are also in an unassailable position with two nights remaining but the real action is which of the two teams — China and Japan — will fill the second spot in the men’s competition in Florence, Italy next month?
China had a 6-3 advantage over Asian Games champion Kazakhstan by halftime but then the scoring dried up as the Kazakhs, led by veteran Evgenyi ZHILAYEV (3 goals) and Mikhail RUDAY (4) brought the game to a penalty shootout. China led by two heading into the final quarter but RUDAY scored midway and then, after a tactical timeout, equalised with just 10 seconds remaining. China managed to net all five attempts but international newcomer Alexey SHMIDER missed his side’s third attempt, meaning Kazakhstan lost the shootout 5-3 and the game 12-10. PAN Ning and LIANG Zhongxing added a shootout penalty goal each to the two they threw in the game proper. China took just the two points for a shootout victory instead of three and it could haunt them in the coming two days.
China and Japan go head to head tomorrow with Japan in the box seat as it has New Zealand on the final day while China mixes it with Australia. Japan has one hard game left while China has two.
Veteran Olympians were to the fore for Australia men with dual Olympian Trent FRANKLIN scoring four goals with his left arm and former captain Thomas WHALAN (3) and fellow triple Olympian Gavin WOODS netting twice from centre forward against a determined Japan. The first three periods were 3-2 affairs while Japan, wary of what a victory over Australia could mean to its chances, matched the Sharks and outscored them with the final goal coming too late at 0:40.
Australia and China women were already too far ahead of their rivals in the race for the Tianjin, China Super Final and it was the Aussie Stingers’ chance to impress tonight, beating Japan 14-5. Japan forgot about Australia’s reputation and levelled the first quarter 3-3 but then the Stingers took control and denied Japan access to the goal in the second and fourth periods. Nicola ZAGAME, who made her senior debut in Rome two years ago, slotted four goals, including two in the first two minutes. Japan tried to make attacking chances until the end but the Stingers’ swarming defence proved fatal.
In the other (non-competition) match, China beat Australia 20&Under 12-7.
The big question in the women’s competition is who of the two superstar teams will win Friday’s encounter and take top ranking to Tianjin?
CHINA 11 KAZAKHSTAN 10 in penalty shootout (FT: 7-7. Pens: 5-3)
Quarters: 2-3, 4-0, 1-2, 0-2. Pens: 5-3
CHINA: GE Weiqing, TAN Feihu (1), LIANG Zhongxing (3), YU Lijun (1), GUO Junliang (1), PAN Ning (3), LI Bin (1), WANG Yang, XIE Junmin (1), LI Li, LIANG NIANXIANG (1), DONG Tianyi, ZHANG Chufeng. Head Coach: CAI Tianxiong.
KAZAKHSTAN: Alexandr SHVEDOV, Alexey SHMIDER, Azamal ZHULUMBETOV, Roman PILIPENKO, Murat SHAKENOV, Alexandr FENOCHKO, Anvar SHAKENOV, Rustam UKMANOV, Evgeniy ZHILAYEV (3), Mikhail RUDAY (4), Ravil MANAFOV, Nikita KOKORIN, Alexey DEMCHENKO. Head Coach: Sergey DROZDOV.
AUSTRALIA 12 JAPAN 10
Quarters: 3-2, 3-2, 3-2, 3-4
AUSTRALIA: Joel DENNERLEY, Adam POLIVKA, Trent FRANKLIN (4), Stephen CODY, Chris DYSON (1), Aiden ROACH, Mitchell EMERY, Mitchell BAIRD, Thomas WHALAN (3), Gavin WOODS (2), Rhys HOWDEN, Billy MILLER (1), Tyler MARTIN (1). Head Coach: John FOX.
JAPAN: Katsuyuki TANAMURA, Kan AOYAGI (2), Koji TAKEI (1), Shota HAZUI (1), Mitsuaki SHIGA, Akira YANASE (1), Yusuke SHIMIZU, Atsushi NAGANUMA (2), Kan IREI (1), Yoshinori SHIOTA, Keigo OKAWA (1), Satoshi NAGATA (1), Naoki SHIMIZU. Head Coach: Hideki TAKAGI.
AUSTRALIA 14 JAPAN 5
Quarters: 3-3, 3-0, 5-2, 3-0
AUSTRALIA: Victoria BROWN, Holly LINCOLN-SMITH (3), Sophie SMITH (1), Rebecca RIPPON, Jane MORAN, Bronwen KNOX (3), Rowena WEBSTER (2), Nanda STOLZ, Patrice O’NEILL (1), Keesja GOFERS, Melissa RIPPON, Nicola ZAGAME (4), Lea BARTA. Head Coach: Greg McFADDEN.
JAPAN: Rikako MIURA, Yumi NAKANO (1), Saki OGAWA, Shino MAGARIYAMA, Moe NAKATA (1), Yuki OKAMURA, Sayaka OKAWARA, Misa KONAKA (3), Riri KURAMOCHI, Chie YASUMOTO, Mari TAKESHIGE, Nao YOSHIDA, Yumi KANNO. Head Coach: Hidenori FUJIWARA.