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USA, Hungary, Russia and Australia win women’s water polo groups
Olympic champion United States of America, Hungary, Russia and Australia have won their groups on the third day of the FINA Women’s Water Polo World Championships at the Bernat Picornell Pool.
The match of the day was undoubtedly the clash between Russia and the Netherlands. From 7-3 ahead in the second quarter, Russia looked unbeatable but the dogged efforts of Netherlands led to a revival that levelled the match at 7-7 early in the third quarter. Russia took charge again, then the Dutch levelled at 10-10, 11-11 and finally 12-12 inside the final minute — the final score.
The setting sun might have had something to do with it. However, Russia will now play South Africa for a berth in the quarterfinals and Netherlands will have the tougher route by playing World League champion China.
Spain closed the group play, and Group A, with a 20-4 victory over Uzbekistan. The win gave Spain second place and a quarterfinal qualifier against New Zealand.
In Group B action, Australia triumphed over South Africa 14-1 and set up a clash with Uzbekistan. China downed New Zealand 13-5. In Group C, USA defeated Great Britain 16-4 and Canada drew with world champion Greece 8-8. Canada just needed the draw to take second place. In Group D, Hungary cruised to a group-winning 18-7 victory over Kazakhstan, who finished third. Italy took second place with a 13-5 margin over Brazil, the fourth-ranked team gaining valuable championship practice ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
USA plays Brazil, Canada takes on Kazakhstan, Hungary faces Great Britain and Italy will front Greece in the qualifiers with the latter the most tantalising matchup.
After the swim-up for the first quarter of the first game, one minute’s silence was staged for the victims of the train crash in the province of Galicia in north-western Spain.
Group A: RUS 5, ESP 4, NED 4, UZB 0.
Group B: AUS 6, CHN 4, NZL 2, RSA 0.
Group C: USA 6, CAN 3, GRE 3, GBR 0.
Group D: HUN 6, ITA 4, KAZ 2, BRA 0.