Game 38: 16:40, ITALY 14 AUSTRALIA 12 in penalty shootout (FT: 8-8. Pens: 5-3)

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo Games Reports

Group 1-8 Quarter-final

Quarters: 0-1, 4-0, 4-6 0-1, 0-1, 1-0. Pens: 5-3

Referees: Gyorgy JUHASZ (HUN), Sergio BORRELL (ESP)

Extra Man: ITA: 3/9. AUS: 0/7

Pens: ITA: 3/3

ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE, Elisa CASANOVA, Francesca POMERI, Martina SAVIOLI, Allegra LAPI, Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI, Giulia EMMOLO, Giulia RAMBALDI, Alessandra COTTI, Teresa FRASSINETTI, Elena GIGLI. Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.
AUSTRALIA: Alicia McCORMACK, Gemma BEADSWORTH, Sophie SMITH, Rebecca RIPPON, Jane MORAN, Bronwen KNOX (1), Rowena WEBSTER, Kate GYNTHER, Glencora RALPH, Holly LINCOLN-SMITH, Melissa RIPPON (1), Nicola ZAGAME (1), Victoria BROWN. Head Coach: Greg McFADDEN. 

ITA vs AUS - credit: Russell McKinnon
ITA vs AUS - credit: Russell McKinnon

Four-time World Championships medallist and twice champion Italy beat Australia, one of only five countries to win the gold medal (the inaugural 1986 event in Madrid, Spain), in a penalty-shootout thriller. Australia was killed in the second quarter as Italy levelled on counter-attack three minutes into the period through SAVIOLI. EMMOLO then converted a penalty.

Australia called a timeout to no effect. SAVIOLI  fired in Italy's second penalty goal. POMERI made it 4-1 from deep right.

ZAGAME stopped the rot early in the second quarter with a cross-cage shot. FRASSINETTI sent in a bouncer and BIANCONI scored on extra from the top. KNOX drove right and brought up 6-3. BIANCONI said "thank you" for another penalty shot and at 7-3 the game looked over for the Aussie Stingers. Rebecca RIPPON scored a chance shot off left-hand-catch and WEBSTER rocketed in a shot from outside for 7-5 by 3:1q9. It was game on. Italy had timeout to stop the momentum but a minute afterwards BEADSWORTH took the foul at centre forward, accepted the free pass and scored from three metres for 7- 6. BIANCONI responded with a shot after extra-man period, off the left post for 8-6 at 0:31. Australia was not done and RALPH sat up and shot from six metres for 8-7 at 0:06. Australia missed several counter chances at the top of the fourth and FRASSINETTI saw her turn shot at two metres hit the right post. Italy wanted to stifle the superior Australian momentum so took a timeout  at 4:04. Australia missed an extra-man chance inside the last three minutes with a GORLERO save. Italy had the ball stolen by the incoming ejected player and the ball raced up to GYNTHER and then to BEADSWORTH on the right, who scored the equaliser at 1:50. Italy lost the ball on the next attack and Australia had its shot steered clear by GORLERO.

Australia had a timeout at 0:57. Australia moved the ball and BEADSWORTH gained an exclusion but the resulting shot by RALPH was blocked by GORLERO. Italy was smothered and the game went to extra time. Both teams had chances in the first period of extra time with the best BEADSWORTH's lob on drive going wide. The breakthrough came when Australia moved the ball around and at the end of possession time Rebecca RIPPON passed right to RALPH on six metres who rose and lobbed GORLERO at 0:24. The score was now 6-1 to Australia since  midway through the third period. Australia won the swim-off again but could not shoot, such was the pressure and the ball wasted.  FRASSINETTI gained an exclusion on WEBSTER and EMMOLO converted from the left-hand-catch position at 2:01. Australia turned the ball over. BIANCONI shot wide. GYNTHER had her shot tipped to the left by GORLERO so Australia used its timeout at 1:08. GYNTHER took the shot and sent in wide right, leaving Italy on attack with just over half a minute remaining. RALPH was ejected and Italy called a timeout at 0:25. In the penalty shootout, Italy started first and the seven opening shots were converted. RALPH had her shot blocked by GORLERO. FRASSINETTI made no mistake of her shot and Italy had advanced to the top four, leaving Australia to rattle around in the 5-8 positions.