Water Polo Women, Day 5: AUS 9 GRE 5
Greece relinquished its World Championship crown in losing 9-5 to world No 3 Australia in a match where the Aussie Stingers dominated throughout. Greece is the team Australia has trouble with the most so today it went to a 3-1 lead within two minutes and kept Greece at bay for the rest of the night.
In the setting sun, Greece’s ambitions for retention of the crown won in Shanghai two years ago, also set. Its ambitions must now be for fifth place. Australia needed to win strongly to show its semifinal opponent — Russia — that it has the overall game to thrust itself into the gold-medal final. Both teams had excellent defence and when the match hit 3-1, it looked like it would be a high-scoring match.
Not to be as it was eight minutes later that the ball went into the net again, but that was disallowed and Australia had to go to a timeout and set up a play capable of a goal, which it eventually did, Glencora McGhie scoring as the excluded player was returning to play.
Alkisti Avramidou scored her second in similar fashion to McGhie for 4-2 heading into the long break.
Greek captain Antigoni Roumpesi narrowed the margin to one early in the third but unfortunately for Greece, it was the second-last goal.
Aussie skipper Bronwen Knox and big-shooting Ashleigh Southern took it to 6-3. Greece was swift to reply through the exceptional centre forward Alexandra Asimaki for 6-4. Asimaki was marked heavily throughout, as was Christina Tsoukala, nullifying their tremendous influence on the game.
When Rowena Webster screamed in a bounce shot into the right upright and rebounding to the left, it was the start of the end for Greece.
A minute later Jayde Appel scored from centre forward and Knox nailed a second in counter-attack, receiving a cross pass for 9-4 at 3:42. In the final minute Roumpesi converted extra-man attack for 9-5.
The Australian win brought its record against Greece at World Championships to 2-3 and reverses the 2009 quarterfinal result.
will now have to face Canada in the Round of 5-8 semifinals. Australia
is already better off than Shanghai, where it beat USA for fifth place.
Match 34: 17:00, Quarterfinal, AUSTRALIA 9 GREECE 5
Quarters: 3-1, 1-1, 2-2, 3-1
Referees: Boris Margeta (SLO), Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU).
Extra Man: AUS: 1/3. GRE: 2/5.
Pens: AUS: 1/1.
AUSTRALIA: Lea Barta, Jayde Appel (1), Hannah Buckling, Holly Lincoln-Smith, Isobel Bishop, Bronwen Knox (2), Rowena Webster (2), Glencora McGhie (2), Zoe Arancini, Ashleigh Southern (2), Keesja Gofers, Nicola Zagame, Kelsey Wakefield. Head Coach: Greg McFadden.
GREECE: Eleni Kouvdou, Christina Tsoukala, Vasiliki Diamanopoulou, Ilektra Psouni, Margarita Plevritou, Alkisti Avramidou (2), Alexandra Asimaki (1), Antigoni Roumpesi (2), Christina Kotsia, Triantafyllia Manolioudaki, Eleftheria Plevritou, Alkistis Benekou, Chrysoula Diamantopoulou. Head Coach: Georgios Morfesis.
Isabel Bishop (AUS):
“We are very happy and very excited to be in the semifinals. We played better than ever. We didn´t expect to win with such a big difference, we expected a closer game. We aim to win a medal.”
Kelsey Wakefield (AUS):
“We want to win a medal. This is our dream because we have trained very hard. We have always controlled the game. The key of the match has been the defence. ”
Greg McFadden (AUS Head Coach):
“It was a closer game than in our previous matches, but it’s obviously a good victory because Greece is a strong team, hard to play. Our tactics were to block the key players of Greece (number 2, 7 and 8). In the attack, we still have to be more patient. Now we are in the heart of the competition, semifinals will be tough and we’ll touch the real high level. We are one of the favourites, but not the favourite. We want the gold medal, like three other teams.”
Eleni Kouvdou (GRE):
“We are always optimistic facing every match, especially after the previous one, when we beat Italy in the penalties. Against Australia we did make some big mistakes and gave up some unnecessary goals. Besides, we had a hard time scoring. It´s a pity, considering we wanted to make it to the semifinals.”
Triantafyllia Manolioudaki (GRE):
“We believed we would achieve a better result at the championship after our victory against Italy, but we didn’t play well today. In any case we have to continue and look ahead.”
Georgios Morfesis (GRE Head Coach):
“We always fight. We have to improve in controlling the game. Australia is physically very strong. During this match we didn´t concentrate enough. We committed far too many mistakes and technical errors, basically in the first and fourth quarters. Anyway, our main goal was to reach the quarter-finals, especially considering our team is quite new.”
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