WP World Cup 2014 (W), Day 5: USA to defend World Cup crown against Australia

Water Polo World Cup

Defending champion United States of America and Australia will face off in Sunday’s gold-medal final after both teams had convincing semifinal victories. USA beat off China 11-4 and Australia had the better of world and European champion Spain 8-2 on day five of the FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup at the Ugra State University Sports Complex.

In the semifinal round for place 5-8, Hungary shunted Singapore 42-0 and Russia was kinder to South Africa, winning 22-2.

Game reports:

Match 17: 15:00, Round 5-8 semifinal, HUNGARY 42 SINGAPORE 0
Quarters: 14-0, 11-0, 7-0, 10-0

Referees: Andrew Carney (AUS), Marcela Mauss (GER)
Extra Man: HUN: 2/3. SIN: 0/3.
Pens: HUN: 1/1

HUNGARY: Orsolya Kaso, Dora Czigany (5), Dora Antal (5), Hannah Kisteleki (2), Gabriella Szucs (2), Orsolya Takacs, Anna Illes (2), Rita Keszthelyi (9), Ildiko Toth (3), Barbara Bujka (8), Anita Hevesi (1), Kata Menczinger (5), Edina Gangl. Head Coach: Andras Meresz.
SINGAPORE: Seet Low, Ting Koh, Su-Lynn Tan, Enci Kan, Adelyn Yew, Angeline Teo, Ser Han Neo, Lynette Tan, Yiwen Ng, Denise Chen, En Yuan Loke, Cheng Ong, Eunice Fu. Head Coach: Luo Nan.

HUN vs SIN - credit: Russell McKinnon

Hungary was far too strong for Singapore and did not take the foot off the pedal at any stage. As Hungary pressed for much of the time, Singapore struggled to get the ball up front and when it did have chances, it failed to take the opportunities.

Match 18: 16:30, Round 5-8 semifinal, RUSSIA 22 SOUTH AFRICA 2
Quarters: 7-0, 5-1, 9-0, 1-1

Referees: Hong Boon Tan (SIN), Joao Cardenuto (BRA)
Extra Man: RUS: 6/8. RSA: 1/6
Pens: Nil

RUSSIA: Maria Bersneva (2), Ekaterina Prokofyeva (2), Elvina Karimova (3), Valeriia Kolmakova (1), Olga Koryakina (2), Nadezhda Iarondaykina (3), Maria Borisova (1), Anna Kravchenko (1), Anna Grineva (1), Evgeniya Ivanova (3), Daria Ryzhkova (3). Anna Karnaukh. Head Coach: Mikhail Nakoriakov
SOUTH AFRICA: Anke Jacobs, Amica Hallendorf, Kieren Paley, Kim Rosslee (1), Carly Wessels, Samantha Shead (1), Chloe Bradley, Lee-Ann Keet, Christy Rawstrom, Megan Parkes, Deborah O’Hanlon, Kelsey White, Rebecca Thomas. Head Coach: Brad Rowe.

RUS vs RSA - credit: Russell McKinnon

Russia played to win and give South Africa respect and South Africa responded with two goals and plenty of blocks and saves against a far superior team. With the result never being in doubt and eyes only on Hungary in Sunday’s play-off for fifth and sixth, Russia played with purpose in the first half and then the stars were rested to allow the full team water time. One of South Africa’s goals came on extra at the end of the second quarter at 12-1 and the second goal in action settled for 21-2 late in the fourth. In fact, such was South Africa’s resolve, it scored the first goal of the period at 2:58 and finished the eight minutes at 1-1. Russia’s number one goalkeeper, Evgeniia Novoksenova, did not play, suffering from illness.

Match 19: 18:00, Round 1-4 semifinal, CHINA 4 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 11
Quarters: 0-4, 0-3, 3-2, 1-2

Referees: Marie-Claude Deslieres (CAN), Dion Willis (RSA)
Extra Man: CHN: 1/9. USA: 3/7
Pens: Nil

CHINA: Jun Yang, Jing Zhang, Ping Liu, Yujun Sun, Huili Chen, Yating Sun, Donglun Song (1), Cong Zhang (1), Zihan Zhao (1), Jianing Tian, Xinyan Wang, Guannan Niu (1), Lin Peng. Head Coach: Rick Azevedo.
USA: Samantha Hill, Alys Williams, Melissa Seidemann (1), Rachel Fattal (1), Caroline Clark (1), Maggie Steffens (4), Courtney Mathewson (1), Kiley Neushul (1), Jillian Kraus, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Annike Dries, Kameryn Craig (2), Ashleigh Johnson. Head Coach: Adam Krikorian.

USA vs CHN - credit: Russell McKinnon

When a team comes out and keeps the other scoreless in a World Cup semifinal for the first half, there must be something special about that team. USA owns the Olympic, World League and World Cup crowns and desperately wants to retain the title here in Khanty-Mansiysk. With a Kami Craig centre-forward special in the first minute, two Maggie Steffens goals — one on extra and the other on counter — USA was well placed. Kiley Neushul added a fourth with three seconds left from the top right. More damage was to ensue in the second quarter as Caroline Clark, Steffens with a third and Rachel Fattal with her 10th of the tournament set the bar high for China to jump. China settled in the third and won the period 3-2. Guannan Niu opened the period on extra and Craig responded. Cong Zhang sent in a soft lob down the left and Zihan Zhao nailed a third. Steffens closed the quarter with a close-in shot from deep left for 9-3, a margin almost too big for China to even contemplate surpassing. China maintained the pressure on USA in the final period, but USA was too good and not wanting to lose another period, as it marches on to Sunday’s final.

Match 20: 19:30, Round 1-4 semifinal, AUSTRALIA 8 SPAIN 2
Quarters: 2-1, 1-0, 3-1, 2-0

Referees: Alexey Krapivin (RUS), Gabriella Varkonyi (HUN)
Extra Man: AUS 3/6. ESP: 0/9
Pens: ESP: 0/1.

AUSTRALIA: Lilian Hedges, Jayde Appel, Hannah Buckling, Bronte Colenso, Isobel Bishop, Bronwen Knox (3), Rowie Webster (2), Glencora McGhie (2), Zoe Arancini, Ashleigh Southern, Morgan Baxter, Keesja Gofers (1), Kelsey Wakefield. Head Coach: Greg McFadden.
SPAIN: Patricia Herrera, Marta Bach, Anna Espar, Beatriz Ortiz, Matilde Ortiz, Helena Lloret, Clara Espar, Lorena Miranda, Mar Pastor, Roser Tarrago (2), Paula Chillida, Laura Vicente, Maria Sanchez. Head Coach: Miguel Oca.

AUS vs ESP - credit: Russell McKinnon

Australia and Spain played an amazing game of water polo, but Australia conquered the world and European champion with a powerful effort built on teamwork and skills around the pool. Throw in a three-goal effort to captain Bronwen Knox, who is approaching 300 internationals, and you have a team capable of matching it with USA in Sunday’s final. Knox scored two goals in the first quarter to Spanish powerhouse Roser Tarrago’s one. The second quarter saw both teams battering each other for little effect, although Glencora McGhie countered down the right for the 3-1 goal and only score of the period. After two periods of compact action where both teams crushed any attempt of a breakout, the third period lit up the stadium. Firstly Tarrago broke a 15-minute drought for Spain when allowed to shoot from seven metres for 3-2. However, Rowena Webster responded instantly on an extra-man attack for the second two-goal margin of the match. Then McGhie scored a second for 5-2. The match had suddenly changed. Both teams took timeouts to no avail and when Australia regained the ball in the dying seconds of the quarter, Webster took the ball on her 2-metre line, watched the clock and launched a satellite, slipping the ball through the hands of Spanish goalkeeper Patricia Herrera into the top left on zero seconds for a 6-2 margin going into the final period. Knox converted extra for 7-2 at 3:09 and the writing was on the wall. Spain gained a penalty when Hannah Buckling went for her third major and Tarrago, so often the heroine of this tournament, had her shot blocked by Kelsey Wakefield. Down the other end, Keesja Gofers made the most of some confusion to lob Herrera at 0:26 for the 8-2 scoreline and a gold-medal-final berth.

Leading Scorers:

Rita Keszthelyi (HUN) - 20
Kameryn Craig (USA) - 17
Roser Tarrago (ESP) - 17
Elvina Karimova (RUS) - 16
Rowena Webster (AUS) - 14
Barbara Bujka (HUN) - 14
Nadezhda Iarondaykina (RUS) - 13
Hannah Kisteleki (HUN) - 11
Ekaterina Prokofyeva (RUS) - 11
Evgeniya Ivanova (RUS) - 11
Dora Antal (HUN) - 10
Rachel Fattal (USA) - 10