Super Final 2012 (Women): Australia, China, Greece and USA advance to semi finals

World League

CHINA, Changshu (June 1) - Greece stunned Russia in a tight 11-9 victory and makes its way to the semi finals of the FINA Women's Water Polo World League Super Final. Australia, USA and host China all won their match in convincing fashion against Germany (18-0), Italy (14-2) and Canada (13-7), respectively, to reach the semi finals stage as well.

Match report

Game 13, CHINA 13 - CANADA 7
(3-1,2-2, 4-3, 4-1)
Referees: Emanuel Taylan, Dreval Svetlana
CHINA: Yang Jun, Teng Fei, Liu Ping, Sun Yujun, He Jin, Sun Yating, Song Donglun, Gao Ao, Wang Yi, Ma Huanhuan (captain), Sun Huizi, Zhang Lei, Wang Ying. Head coach: Juan Jane Giralt.
CANADA: Serena Bredin, Joannie Morisseau, Katrina Monton, Alexia Tielmann, Stephanie Valin, Sophie Baron, Joelle Bekhazi (captain), Hanna Yelizarova, Rebekka Steenkamer, Monika Eggens, Carmen Eggens, Dominique Perreault, Emma Wright. Head coach: Justin Oliveira.

China's Head coach Juan Jane Giralt could not have hoped for a better birthday gift on this day: a 13-7 victory over strong rival Canada. Locals Zhang Lei and Wang Yi scored three goals each during the game while Gao Ao netted two in the first and second quarters. Sun Huizi scored the first goal at 5:03, Canada answered a little more than a minute later with a goal from Monika Eggens. China took the lead again with Sun Yujun's goal at 1:45 and another one by Gao Ao at 0:10. The second period ended on a tie (2-2). In the second half, China clearly imposed their lead with four goals netted in each of the third and last quarters. Sun Yating scored the last goal for China at 2:09.

Gao Jun, China's goal keeper, said after the win: "We are happy that we played a good game for our coach Juan as a birthday gift. We made some improvement in the attacks today but we need to strengthen our defence."

Canada's Head coach Justin Oliveira said on the loss: "We were good in the first half, but we missed many shots in the second half. We had some problems on the defence against China. It was a tough game."

CHN vs CAN - credit: Han Yuqing

Game 14: GREECE 11 - RUSSIA 9
(4-5, 2-2, 4-0, 1-2)
Referees: Cristina Taccini, Daniel Flahive
GREECE: Kouvdou Eleni, Tsoukala Christina, Kotsia Christina, Psouni Ilektra Maria, Charalampidi Stefania, Alkisti Avramidou, Alexandra Asimaki (captain), Charalampidi Ioanna, Plevritou Eleftheria, Triantaf Manolioudaki, Plevritou Margarita, Koutogianni Stamatina, Diamantopoulou Chrysoula. Head coach: Georgios Morfesis.
RUSSIA: Maria Kovtunovskaia, Nadezhda Fedotova, Ekaterina Prokofyeva, Sofya Konukh (captain), Alexandra Antonova, Olga Belova,  Ekaterina Lisunova, Marina Kalyagina, Ekaterina Tankeeva, Olga Beliaeva, Evgeniya Ivanova, Diana Antonova, Ksenia Krimer. Head coach: Alexander Kabanov.

Russia had a good start when Ekaterina Lisunova fired four goals to take a 5-4 lead over Greece. But in the second quarter, the team lost momentum and suffered a 0-4 in the third quarter. Greece's captain Alexandra Asimaki scored twice and a goal from teammates Christina Tsoukala and Christina Kotsia completed the feat. Russia's successful attempts in the last quarter - Evgeniya Ivanova at 7:33 and Ekaterina Prokofyeva at 4:42 - were not enough to catch the Greeks.

Russia's center player Olga Beliaeva said: "We didn't play very well. Maybe it was because we played too hard yesterday against Australia and we were too tired. We lost focus most of the time. We only played OK in the opener when we led 5-4. We lost too many shots."

Georgios Morfesis, Greece's Head coach, was very pleased with today's result: "I'm very happy with my players. They did a great job in both defence and offence against the Russians. The goalkeeper Eleni Kouvdou blocked many shots from our rivals. I'm happy that my girls made improvement in every game of this high-level competition."

GRE vs RUS - credit: Han Yuqing

Game 15, USA 14 - ITALY 2
(5-0, 3-1, 4-0, 2-1)
Referees: Kazuhiko Makita, Meng Anlong
USA: Elizabeth Armstrong, Heather Petri, Melissa Seidemann, Brenda Villa (captain), Lauren Wenger, Margaret Steffens, Courtney Mathewson, Jessica Steffens, Elsie Windes, Kelly Rulon, Annika Dries, Kameryn Craig, Tumuaialii Anae. Head coach: Adam Krikorian.
ITALY: Federica Eugenia Lavi, Ursula Gitto, Martina Verducci, Giulia Viacava, Alessia Millo, Laura Repetto,  Giovanna Pellegrino, Claudia Marletta, Valeria Grazia Palmieri, Carla Carrega, Giusy Citino, Francesca Pomeri (captain), Sara Dario. Head coach: Paolo Zizza.

USA took the lead from the very beginning, imposing a five-goal margin after the first quarter. They scored three more in the second quarter, Italy reacting with one goal by Martina Verducci at 2:42. Verducci was the sole scorer for Italy in this game, netting a second goal at 1:47 in the last quarter. USA's Margaret Steffens was the best scorer of the day with five winning shots.

U.S. Head coach Adam Krikorian said on the victory: "After the game was finished, it was finished. We need to think about our next game against Greece in the semi-finals. Though Greece is a mixed team, it is still a strong team."

Paolo Zizza, Italy's Head coach, said on the loss: "We played better in the defence and attacks. Team USA is the best in the world, it is important to learn from them."

USA vs ITA - credit: Han Yuqing

(0-6, 0-3, 0-5, 0-4)
Referees: Dykman Kikhail, Drury-Pinto Amber Marie
GERMANY: Bianca Ahrens, Jasmin Krieter, Tatjana Steinhauer, Carolin Seifert, Claudia Blomenkamp, Anja Seyfert, Monika Kruszona, Claudia Kern, Kim Illinger, Jenny Stiefel, Carmen Gelse (captain), Bianca Seyfert, Jana Lueg. Head coach: Rene Reimann.
AUSTRALIA: Victoria Brown, Gemma Beadswork, Sophie Smith, H. L. Smith, Jane Moran, Bronwen Knox, Rowena Webster, Kate Gynther (captain), Glencora Rippon, Ashleigh Southen, Melissa Rippon, Nicola Zagame. Head coach: Greg McFadden.

Strong favourite Australia showed no mercy to team Germany and turned the game into a shooting practice with non-stop firing. Nicola Zagame and Melissa Rippon both netted three goals while five of their teammates scored two goals each.
Australia's Head coach Greg McFadden sets eyes already on tomorrow's game: "China is a strong team physically. They swim fast, and pass the ball well. It will be a very tough game. Every semi-final game is tough. Our recent games against China were all very close."

For Germany's Head coach, Rene Reimann, the outcome of the game was obvious: "We didn't expect to win. It is not realistic. Australia is as strong physically as USA."

AUS vs GER - credit: Han Yuqing