Mighty world champion USA rumbled by Russia in women's water polo

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

GRE vs NED - credit: Russell McKinnonWorld champion United States of America, so long a permanent feature of the FINA World Championship women's water polo final, will not be contesting a medal this year.

Perennial podium-climber Australia, Olympic champion Netherlands and 2009 silver medalist Canada were also denied a top-four finish when quarter-final action was played today at the Natatorium.

The USA was upstaged by a gutsy Russia who used a seven-goal blitz to shatter the hearts of the North Americans. Not out of a podium finish since 2001, the multi-awarded USA had no answer to Russia after being 4-0 up midway through the second quarter.

The loss means the USA will shed one of its crowns, leaving it with the World Cup and World League titles.

The USA missed a crucial penalty shot when 8-6 down and Russia seized on the defence to march to victory and set up a semifinal clash with China.

Ekaterina PROKOFYEVA scored five goals in the demolition and is rapidly stamping her authority on the championship.

Greece beat the Olympic champion Netherlands 12-10, coming from 3-1 down in the first quarter to grasp the lead two minutes into the second quarter.

And then Italy toppled Australian in a mouth-watering penalty shootout after the game finished at 8-8 and the extra periods stopped at 9-9. Italy led the penalty shootout and sent in five straight goals but Australia missed its fourth shot and Italy had the game 14-12.

China, in downing Canada 9-7, became the fourth team to make the semifinals and will face Russia while Canada will play its nemeses the USA in the round of 5-8 semifinals.

In the round 9-12, Cuba overhauled New Zealand 11-10 and Hungary outlasted Spain 17-13 in a 31-foul match riddled with stoppages.
Kazakhstan beat Brazil for 13th place and South Africa downed Uzbekistan 6-5 for 15th.

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