London 2012 Water Polo

Water polo (W) day 2 - Hungary upset world number 2 China

London 2012 Water Polo

altHungary came out on top of today's Group A match defeating the #2 world ranked team China in the second day of women's competition at the Water Polo Arena on Wednesday, August 1st. The world #9 ranked Hungarians were unphased by a 3-1 deficit at the end of the first quarter and at being behind 7-5 at half time. Three goals by Gabriella Szucs in the third period brought Hungary to within one goal at 10-9. Dora Czigany (HUN) levelled the game in an extra-man attack early in the fourth quarter.

Five minutes later, former German player Barbara Bujka gave the huge Hungarian supporter base what they wanted with a sweeping flick over her head from the centre-forward position for the first Hungarian lead of the game with just 1:56 minutes remaining on the clock. China had chances to draw but even after a timeout at 12 seconds left in the game, the Chinese players could not penetrate the strong Hungarian defence.

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Water polo (M) day 2 - Nine-time Olympic champions lose second game in a row

London 2012 Water Polo

Hungary, a 9 time Olympic champion in men's water polo was beaten for the second time this week at the Olympic water polo competition. In today's Group B match Montenegro came out on top 11-10. On Sunday, the team from Serbia upset Hungary by an even wider margin, 14-10. The Hungarian team owns three consecutive gold medals from Olympic composition starting with the Sydney Games in 2000. The last time the Hungarians lost two consecutive games was in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when they were on the losing end of a semi-final and bronze medal encounters. It is not often that head coach Denes Kemeny (HUN) throws his hands over his face, but as the final seconds of the game ticked away, his dream of a fourth Olympic title in London may have been in doubt.

On the brighter side, Hungary scored 20 goals in their two losses, itself an amazing statistic in international water polo. The team from Montenegro was never behind and broke free of Hungary midway through the second quarter and able to post a 6-5 lead at halftime. Early in the third quarter the margin grew to three goals, but twice the Hungarians struck back to bring the difference to only one, 9-8 at the end of the third period. Goals were traded in the final quarter but Denes Varga's (HUN) last three shots were all thwarted by goalkeeper Milos Scepanovic (MNE). Montenegro was able to maintain its one goal advantage, finishing 11-10. Looking back, Hungary's ability to score on extra-man opportunities could have been the team's salvation especially inside the final minute of the game. The Hungarian team finished with an impressive seven goals from 10 attempts throughout the game. Montenegro scored only four times from 10 extra-man attempts, but their action shots helped them win the game. Montenegro has now beaten Hungary a total of four times in 2012, most noteworthy was their extra time win in the European Championships semi-final game.

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Water polo (W) day 1 - Spain upset world 2011 silver medallist China

London 2012 Water Polo

Olympic qualification tournament winner Spain upset world number 2 China by a surprising 11-6 margin in the opening Group A preliminary match of the women's competition at the Water Polo Arena on Monday. It was only two minutes into the second quarter when Spain took control and started to swim away from the Chinese. China earned a silver medal at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai. That margin went to 4-2 before China struck back to even the score at 4-4. From that point on the Spanish armada took over, going ahead 6-4 at half time and then 10-6 at the final break.

The stunned Chinese, who were late leaving the pool deck after the match were kept scoreless. The Spanish team, less experienced and slightly younger pressed home their advantage with Anni Espar (ESP) attaining her hat-trick of goals in the only score of the fourth quarter.

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Water polo (M) day 1 - Serbia breaks Hungarian streak of 18 Olympic victories

London 2012 Water Polo


Hungary's hoped of winning a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal were dealt a blow when they lost to European Champions Serbia in the opening round of men's water polo competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games Water Polo Arena. Olympic champions Hungary suffered their first defeat in 18 Olympic matches by losing to Serbia, 14-10. It was at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games that Hungary was last defeated in an Olympic match, falling to Yugoslavia in the preliminary rounds.  

The Serbian players stamped their authority on today's game, putting Hungary and the world on notice of their intentions to compete for the Olympic gold medal. Playing with passion and purpose the Serbs turned a 2-2 opening quarter into a 5-3 half time lead. Daniel Varga (HUN) evened the score at 3-3 at two minutes into the second period but it would be 11 minutes before Hungary would score its next goal. As in the earlier stages, the third quarter pace was fast and the match was physical as 9 goals were scored, Serbia holding an 11-6 advantage. Serbian centre forward Dusko Pijetlovic was unstoppable, twice evading the Hungarian defenders with speeding bullets from inside two metres. Hungary managed 4 goals in the final quarter, but fell to Serbia in a final score 10-14. Serbian goalkeeper Slobodan Soro made 13 saves. Filip Filipovic said of the Hungarian team, "they are triple Olympic champions, so we were expecting more pressure from their side. We were expecting a tougher offence and defence." 

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Azevedo and Bailey (USA) eye fourth Olympics

London 2012 Water Polo

Huntington Beach, Calif. – Terry Schroeder, Head Coach for the U.S. Olympic Men's Water Polo Team, has announced the final 14 athletes in training to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games this summer in London, England at a press conference at the LA84 Foundation in Los Angeles, CA, on June 5. LA84 Foundation Chairman, Bob Graziano and President, Anita DeFrantz welcomed the team to open the press conference. Only 13 athletes will compete for Team USA, the final 13 will be announced at a later date. Featuring eleven returners from the 2008 team that won the Silver Medal, the team clinched a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games by winning Gold at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Due to recent injuries the announcement of the final 13 athletes has been put on a hold until a date later this month. "We had every intention of coming here today and announcing 13 players on our team," said USA Head Coach Terry Schroeder. "Based on the respect for the process of naming the Olympic team we've decided to come here with 14 players."

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USA Water Polo announces Olympic women's team

London 2012 Water Polo

Adam Krikorian, Head Coach for the U.S. Olympic Women's Water Polo Team, announced the 13 athletes that will compete at the 2012 Olympic Games this summer in London, England at a press conference at the LA84 Foundation in Los Angeles, CA. Featuring seven returners from the 2008 team that won the silver medal, and eight athletes overall with Olympic Games experience, the team clinched a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games by winning gold at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Led by Team Captain Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) the U.S. Olympic Women's Water Polo Team is one of the most successful programs in international water polo history over the last twelve years. The only nation to win an Olympic medal at every Olympic Games offering women's water polo, a tally that includes two silver medals (2000 and 2008) and a bronze (2004), the program has also won three World Championships and one World Cup title during that span.

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Spain fires in Trieste (ITA) and triumphs over Italy

London 2012 Water Polo

Trieste (April 22) - Confirming their progress, Spain, indeed the best team in Trieste - in spite of two losses in the Preliminary Round (against Russia and Hungary) - clinched a clear cut victory over Italy in the last match of the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament. While the Italians appeared out of focus and confused, the Spaniards managed to keep their concentration and motivation, fully deserving the final success.

Russia won over Hungary for the third place 18-13. The Netherlands narrowly beat Greece after extra-times (11-10) to be fifth while Canada crushed Kazakhstan (17-2) to take the seventh place. Italy’s Tania Di Mario was the top scorer of the tournament with 22 goals. Curiously, no Spanish player ranked among the Top Ten scorers. Paradoxically, this is also a sign of strength within the greatly balanced Spanish side.

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An all-mediterranean final for Spain and Italy

London 2012 Water Polo

Trieste (April 21) - Following their respective victory against Hungary and Russia, the squads of Spain and Italy will battle for the first place in tomorrow's final of the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Trieste (ITA). Having successfully reached the quarter finals yesterday, the four teams have met the Olympic target to compete at the London Games this summer. In today's other two matches, Greece was the obvious winner in their clash with Kazakhstan, scoring 21-9 while the Netherlands defeated Canada 16-13. 

After yesterday’s decisive quarter-finals, adrenaline was lower on day 6 of the tournament. Some teams seemed to lack motivation. Others, quite simply, did not have much energy left. Whatever the reason, today’s matches were less intense than yesterday’s, with the exception of the last match between Russia and Italy, which was thrilling and exciting until the very end.

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Hungary, Russia, Spain and Italy march to Olympic temple

London 2012 Water Polo

Trieste (April 20) - The women's teams of Hungary, Russia, Spain and Italy, each winning their respective quarter final game on Day 6 of the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Trieste (ITA), successfully booked their ticket to the 2012 London Olympic Games. The four squads will join Australia, China, Great Britain and the United States in the most expected international water polo showdown of the Olympic cycle this summer.  

In today's first encounter, Hungary imposed a grueling victory, 18-5, on Kazakhstan, thus being the first to secure the precious Olympic spot. Russia was too good for Canada, whose consistent team managed to lose by one goal (7-6). In a surprising game outcome, World champion Greece (and 2004 Olympic silver medallist) missed their chance to secure a London berth, losing to ever-impressive Spain 9-7. The Olympic dream of another heavy favourite abruptly vanished; that of the Dutch squad, Olympic champions in Beijing. The Netherlands indeed lost their chance to defend their Olympic title in London after a bitter loss to the home squad, Italy, 7-6.

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Hungary and the Netherlands top favourites in advance of quarter finals

London 2012 Water Polo

HUN vs ESP - credit: Guido Cantini/Sea&SeeTrieste (April 19) - Hungary and the Netherlands top their respective group, A and B, after an intense Day 5, the last of the Preliminary Round, at the Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in Trieste (ITA). The two European squads advance to the quarter finals as top favourites to secure one of the four remaining Olympic spots and will face different opponents on Day 6: the Magyars will play against Kazakhstan and are assured of a comfortable victory while the Dutch will have a tougher game against host Italy, last of its Group but still an established threat.  

In Group B, Kazakhstan and Brazil finished their game on a tie (7-7) while the showdown between Olympic champion Netherlands and World number 1 Greece ended up with a clear victory for the Dutch squad, 13-6. In Group A, the wins were once more very close with Hungary defeating Spain 10-9 and Russia eclipsing locals 15-13.

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