FINA World Championships

Italy returns to world stage with extra-time victory

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

Italy has returned to the top tier of men’s world water polo, wresting the FINA World Championship crown from the Balkans in a spectacular gold-medal final at the Natatorium on Saturday.

The climax to the 14-day water polo programme saw Italy take world champion Serbia to extra time after the game was locked at 6-6. A 2-1 first period had Italy in the box seat and the second period yielded no goals for the 8-7 victory.

The game had everything, although water polo purists may say it was too much. It had a huge crowd players and coaches red-carded, coach antics poolside and a fantastic celebration afterwards that had the spectators cheering and dancing in the aisles.

Following the presentation of the medals, the entire Italian team, dressed in tracksuits and shoes, jumped into the water with their medals to celebrate.
It lifted Italy above Serbia after finishing runner-up to the Serbs at the recent FINA World League Super Final in Florence with the same score.

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Greece fends off China for women’s water polo gold

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

Antigoni ROUMPESI and Alexandra ASIMAKI guided Greece to its first FINA World Championship in women’s water polo at the Natatorium on Friday.

The dynamic duo scored three goals each as Greece led from the front and survived a late Chinese comeback amidst a huge barrage of fouls that almost derailed its chance for glory.

For both teams it was a first medal at this level. Before tonight, Greece had Olympic silver and FINA World League gold and two bronzes while China had just the FINA World Cup bronze from last year. Both are now hot contenders for next year’s London Olympic Games.

Greece made the move in the second quarter with a 2-0 effort and levelled the third at four. The margin went to three (9-6) early in the fourth period but despite many chances could not expand the gap. China scored twice and had a chance in the final half minute but blew the pass.

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Serbia needs extra time to beat Hungary for gold-medal clash with Italy

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

World champion Serbia needed extra time to beat Olympic champion Hungary 15-14 in the first semifinal of the men's water polo competition at the FINA World Championships.

But for head coach Dejan UDOVICIC, it is not a case of defending "but winning again".

"We are not here to defend anything. The final is the final. We cannot compare Rome to Shanghai. Now we have to prepare for the final. It is the most important game."

UDOVICIC coached his team to what must be one of the finest moments in a long stream of top performances by the water polo-made nation.
"It was the spirit of Serbia on show today. We never give up. We can play at the highest level but we must peak again (for the gold)."
On the game, UDOVICIC said Hungary was very physical and a fast swimming team. He also said that having his players involved in so many high-level competitions in such a short period was telling.

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Greece and China to battle for women's water polo gold

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

FINA will crown a new women's water polo champion on Friday.

Greece and China will play for gold in the FINA World Championship competition at the Natatorium on Friday.

Neither team has competed in the championship game before so new ground is being broken. Anointing a new champion will expand the class of five — USA, three times champion; Hungary and Italy twice; Australia and the Netherlands once.

For Greece it could be a fairytale finish to a wonderful tournament, not having won a medal of any colour at this event. Its progression to the gold-medal match was epitomised with a splendid effort against Italy, a less experienced opponent, but both played well with Greece emerging with the honours 14-11.

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World champion Serbia heads expected bunch in men's water polo semifinals Shanghai

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

altThe script has gone as expected in the FINA World Championship men's water polo competition with the top four teams in the world making the semifinals.

It was not without difficulties and none more so that Croatia's 9-6 victory over Balkan neighbour Montenegro.

With just 14 seconds left in the match and Montenegro consigned to the play-offs for fifth to eighth, Montenegro head coach Peter POROBIC called a timeout, which incurred the wrath of Croatian superstar head coach Ratko RUDIC.

"The timeout was not necessary in such a high-class game where goal differential does not matter," he said after the match.

This after a tirade of words from POROBIC to RUDIC in the mixed zone for about five minutes.

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Mighty world champion USA rumbled by Russia in women's water polo

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

GRE vs NED - credit: Russell McKinnonWorld champion United States of America, so long a permanent feature of the FINA World Championship women's water polo final, will not be contesting a medal this year.

Perennial podium-climber Australia, Olympic champion Netherlands and 2009 silver medalist Canada were also denied a top-four finish when quarter-final action was played today at the Natatorium.

The USA was upstaged by a gutsy Russia who used a seven-goal blitz to shatter the hearts of the North Americans. Not out of a podium finish since 2001, the multi-awarded USA had no answer to Russia after being 4-0 up midway through the second quarter.

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Montenegro, Spain, USA and Germany keep medal hopes alive

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

credit: Russell McKinnonMontenegro, Spain, United States of America and Germany have fired through to the quarter-finals of the FINA World Championships men’s water polo competition at the Natatorium today.

The second-round games went as predicted but the pressure was firmly put on the Spaniards as Australia came back from 7-2 down only to fall a goal short at 9-8.

Montenegro, who missed the top eight two years ago in Rome, beat Romania 84; the United States of America which was fourth in Rome, rumbled North American cousin Canada 127-4 and Germany put paid to Japan’s hopes with a rousing 8-6 success in front of 150 screaming German youth camp swimmers.

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Netherlands, Australia, Russia and China qualify for quarter-finals

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

Olympic champion Netherlands heads a list of four teams who survived the second round of the women’s water polo competition at the Natatorium on Saturday.

The Dutch defeated New Zealand 14-8, while Australia held off a late-charging Hungary 10-9 after leading by four goals seven minutes from time. Aussie Stinger Rowie WEBSTER netted four goals to take her tournament tally to 11.

Russia had little trouble getting past Cuba, winning 26-4 and China pleased the huge crowd in the late game with a 15-6 destruction of Spain, built on a 7-2 opening quarter. MA Huanhuan became the tournament’s highest scorer with 14 goals thanks to a five-goal effort tonight.

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Croatia, Italy, Hungary and Serbia advance to water polo quarter-finals

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

credit: Russell McKinnonCroatia, Italy, Hungary and Serbia won their groups and advanced to the quarter-finals of the men’s water polo competition on the last day of preliminary-round games at the Natatorium today.

Hungary edged out Spain 12-11 to win Group A in a near packed house in a game where Spain held sway in the first half but Hungary took control just before halftime and never relinquished the lead. Montenegro clinched second with a 16-5 success over Kazakhstan.

In Group B, defending champion Serbia beat previously unbeaten Australia 12-9 while in the last game of the night, Romania defeated China 14-10 after the Chinese led 6-5 at halftime.

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Historic victory for Greece over Russia in women’s water polo

Shanghai 2011 - Water Polo

altGreece created history in beating Russia for the first time at a FINA World Championship in women’s water polo competition at the Natatorium today.

A penalty goal to Antigoni ROUMPESI just inside the final minute broke the deadlock for a 6-5 success that repeated the previous victory over Russia, in Kirishi, Russia, at the 2005 FINA World League Super Final. Since then there have been several draws, including at the European Championships but today’s victory was momentous.

The win secured Group C success with three narrow losses for Greece while Russia’s international woes this year continue. In Tianjin, China, last month, Italy gained a 21-20 margin over Russia in the FINA World League Super Final quarter-finals, eventually finishing fifth.

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