Game 44 (W): 16:50, GREECE 14 ITALY 11

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo Games Reports

Semifinal 1-4

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

Referees: Erhan TULGA (TUR), Sergio BORRELL (ESP)

Extra Man: GRE: 1/7. ITA: 3/9

Pens: GRE: 1/1. ITA: 3/3

GREECE: Eleni KOUVDOU, Christina TSOUKALA, Antiopi MELIDONI, Ilektra Maria PSOUNI (1), Kyriaki LIOSI (1), Alkisti AVRAMIDOU, Alexandra ASIMAKI (2), Antigoni ROUMPESI (3), Angeliki GEROLYMOU (3), Triantafylla MANOLIOUDAKI (1), Stavroula ANTONAKOU (3), Georgia LARA, Eleni GOULA. Head Coach: Georgios MORFESIS.
ITALY: Giulia GOLERO, Simona ABBATE (2), Elisa CASANOVA, Francesca POMERI, Martina SAVIOLI (1), Allegra LAPI (1), Marta COLAIOCCO, Roberta BIANCONI (3), Giulia EMMOLO (1), Giulia RAMBALDI (3), Alessandra COTTI, Teresa FRASSINETTI, Elena GIGLI. Head Coach: Fabio CONTI.

GRE vs ITA - credit: Russell McKinnon
GRE vs ITA - credit: Russell McKinnon

When ASIMAKI scored twice from the two-metre line to start the game, the writing was on the wall for Italy. The Roman wall was defenceless at times and the superior strength of the advancing horde called Greece proved too much. Greece had moved one step closer to collecting its first medal at a FINA World Championship. A medal has been won but what colour we will not know until Friday. The win brings into mind glory days of the past seven years — silver at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games; gold at the 2005 FINA World League Super Final and silver at the 2010 European Championships. In Rome two years ago, Greece was fourth so battled for a medal at least. A gold medal would top that collection nicely. After ASIMAKI scored twice, GEROLYMOU netted twice and in between ABBATe scored a pair for Italy. The Greeks slipped to 6-2 halfway through the second period and goals were swapped as Italy came back. ROUMPESI scored twice from the left and the margin had slipped out to 10-5 three minutes into the third quarter. Things started to get a little shaky for Greece as the fouls mounted and two penalty goals were gifted to Italy, thanks to BIANCONI's arm. ROUMPESI took it to 11-7 but RAMBALDI, either side of the final break, scored for 11-9 and the game was becoming interesting. RAMBALDI scored  one goal in the previous four matches and rattled in three today. However, ANTONAKOU scored her third and ninth for the tournament from seven metres. But the real sealing point was captain LIOSI when she scored at 3:53 form about one mtre outside the line and to the right of the right post. With three players bearing down on her, she managed to scrape the ball into goal. It was the defining moment and she said after the match that: "every Greek goal is important to me. I cheer my team-mates when they score". Modest lady. It was the winner in a world championship semifinal. Italy was desperate for goals A long shot failed to make its mark. but at 2:38 SAVIOLI rifled in a shot from six metres for 13-10. Greece called a timeout but the resulting shot by ROUMPESI, looking for a 13th of the championship, sent the ball narrowly left of the goal. Another quick shot by Italy came after a timeout but again the Greek defence was stout. GEROLYMOU scored her third from deep left on extra for 14-10. FRASSINETTI drew a penalty foul on PSOUNI and EMMOLO converted for 14-11 at 0:51. Italy's final attack saw a lob shot miss and Greece was through to the final.