London 2012 Water Polo
Water polo (M) final day - Croatia captures first Olympic gold medal
The legend continues as Ratko Rudic guided Croatia to their first Olympic gold medal with a comprehensive 8-6 victory over Italy at the Water Polo Arena on Sunday. For Rudic, it was a record fourth gold medal as a coach, let alone silver as a player in 1980. Rudic guided Yugoslavia to gold in 1984 and 1988 and Italy in 1992 and now his native Croatia at London 2012. Croatia enjoyed a silver medal at Atlanta 1996 soon after independence but now rise into the hall of champions with a dominant performance built on three Maro Jokovic goals, a 3-2 half-time advantage and 5-3 at the final break.
The victory and the lack of goals against Croatia during the fortnight can also be attributed to the tournament's finest goalkeeper, Josip Pavic (CRO), who was named London 2012's most valuable player. Joining Pavic in the all-star team was Niksa Dobud, the tournament's pre-eminent centre forward. Jokovic scored twice in the fourth for a handsome 7-3 lead. It became 8-4 with just over three minutes remaining, a chasm Italy could not bridge. Christian Presciutti (ITA) accepted a cross pass on counter attack to narrow the margin to 8-5 but the game crawled to an end with only Maurizio Felugo (ITA), selected to the all-star team, failing to accept defeat, sending in a shot from near halfway on full time for 8-6.
Water polo (M) day 7 - Italy will play Croatia for the final; Serbia and Montenegro fight for bronze
Croatia will face Italy on Sunday at 15:50 at the London 2012 Olympic Water Polo Arena to determine the winner of the gold medal in this tournament. In today's semi final match Croatia, the only undefeated team, defeated Montenegro by a score of 7-5. Italy bested Serbia to earn their opportunity to play for the Olympic gold medal.
In the classification round, Spain will meet Hungary for the decision on which team will finish in 5th place at this tournament. The USA and Australia will battle for the 7th and 8th positions in the tournament. The placement of the following teams was determined after the five match preliminary round: 9th place: Greece, 10th place: Romania, 11th place: Kazakhstan, 12th place: Great Britain.
Water polo (W) final day - USA captures elusive Olympic gold medal; Spain takes silver, Australia earns bronze
The USA played their fourth Olympic water polo tournament before achieving their highest reward, an Olympic gold medal. Two USA players, Brenda Villa and Heather Petri now have four medals, one from each women's tournament since competition was inaugurated in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Spain achieved its historic triumph, the silver medal, in their first time in the Olympic tournament. Australia leaves London with a bronze medal, the only other nation to compete for an Olympic medal in each of the last four Olympic Games. Australia defeated the USA in the first tournament in the Sydney 2000 Games, and collected a bronze four years ago in Beijing. The Australian team finished fourth in 2004 Athens Olympics. The complete ranking of the 2012 Water Polo Women's Tournament also includes: 4. Hungary; 5. China; 6. Russia; 7. Italy; 8. Great Britain
Water polo (M) day 6 - Balkan powerhouses and Italy together in the men's semi-finals
Four nations each bordering the Adriatic Sea will play for Olympic medals in the semi-final round of the men's 2012 London Olympic water polo tournament. In today's biggest upset, Italy defeated Hungary, the 2008 Olympic champions to earn their spot in the next round. Italy's opponent is Serbia which had a closer than expected victory over Australia today. Croatia easily dismantled the USA, the 2008 Olympic silver medallists, to secure their spot in Friday's semi-final round. Serbia's opponent is Montenegro, which faced down a challenge by Spain earlier today, winning 11-9.
The losers of today's games will meet in the classification round to play for places 5th through 8th. The USA will face Spain on Friday and the other match up will include Hungary and Australia.
Water polo (W) day 5 - Newcomer Spain to meet experienced USA in battle for first Olympic gold medal
Spain and the USA will meet on Thursday to challenge for the gold medal at the London 2012 women's Olympic tournament. These two teams tied at 9-9 when they met last week in the preliminary round. Spain is making its first appearance in the women's Olympic tournament whereas it's the fourth consecutive appearance for the USA in the medal round and the third time the USA is playing for the gold medal, something that has eluded the team.
USA veterans Brenda Villa (USA) and Heather Petri (USA) will enter the record books as four time Olympic medallists on Thursday. The US veteran players are seeking their first Olympic gold medal to go with two silver and one bronze medals they already own. The USA was second to Australia in Sydney 2000 and silver medallists again in Beijing 2008 losing to the Netherlands, 8-9.
Water polo (M) day 5 – Croatia and Serbia are the only undefeated quarterfinalists
Following the conclusion of the preliminary round in the men's tournament, Croatia and Serbia were the top ranked teams in Group A and B respectively. Croatia was the only team with five victories, while Serbia earned four wins and a draw with Montenegro. Croatia will meet the USA, the 4th ranked team from Group B in the first game of the quarterfinal round which begins on Wednesday. Serbia will match up against Australia, the 4th ranked team from Group A in the fourth match of the quarterfinal round
Spain, the second place team in Group A will square off against Montenegro, which finished third in Group B in the quarter final in the second match of the next round. In Wednesday's third match, Italy, the number 3 ranked team in Group A will face Hungary, the second ranked team from Group B and the 2008 Olympic champions. Hungary's campaign was off to a uncertain start having lost their first two matches to Serbia and Montenegro, but they won their final three matches in the preliminary round.
Water polo (W) day 4 - Hungary seals narrow win over Russia to clinch semi-final berth
Hungary survived a last second Russian rally and was able to clinch a semi-final berth with an 11-10 victory at the Water Polo arena. In the final minutes of the game Russia laid siege to Hungary's goal. Olga Beliaeva's (RUS) point blank shot was blocked before Ekaterina Lisunova's (RUS) rebound was disallowed because the siren had started to sound.Russia had raced to a 2-0 lead but surrendered their advantage early in the second quarter. Hungary went two ahead with 2:31 remaining. Russia fought back with the fourth goal of Evgenia Ivanova (RUS) which arrived from well outside and after an extra man exclusion period had expired.Dora Antal (HUN) scored her second goal with 1:19 left on the clock before Russia earned a penalty shot, which Beliaeva converted for 11-10. Russia won the ball and took a timeout with 10 seconds left, then gained an extra man advantage with six seconds left leading to Beliaeva's unsuccessful last second shot.
Water polo (M) day 4 - Hungary keeps their Olympic dream alive following their triumph over Great Britain
Hungary's quest for a 10th Olympic crown is still on track after qualifying for the quarterfinals with a 17-6 victory over Great Britain in a men's Group A match. Hungary's gain was Great Britain's loss and the British side will depart the competition after Monday's clash with Montenegro. Hungary needed to produce a quality performance after a lacklustre London 2012 prior to today. They have won just two games from four outings but finished ahead of Romania and Great Britain on the group ladder. Hungary used their best team often, looking for quality everywhere in the pool with some success.Britain used number 13 Matt Holland (GBR) in goal and he has just 32 minutes, equivalent to one match, in the previous three encounters. Hungarian captain and triple Olympic champion Peter Biros (HUN), in particular, had a nightmare time against Holland (GBR), who excelled with 12 saves.
Water polo (W) day 3 - Spanish victory over Hungary earns top Group A ranking
Spain's women sensationally finished at the top of Group A with a 13-11 victory over Hungary at the London Olympic Water Polo Arena on Friday. Spain has won two matches and drew even with the USA, but they win the group ahead of the USA based on the second tie breaker, the result against the third place team Hungary. USA beat Hungary 14-13 while Spain won their match against the same team by a margin of two goals, yielding the top spot in the group rankings. This scenario is predicated on the USA beating China in the final match of the day at 19:40, where a USA victory will earn five points after three days of competition, but placement below the Spanish team.Spain's win today came in the fading seconds of the match. Spain dominated the game holding three goal leads on four occasions. Hungary struck back delivering two goals in the last 90 seconds of the match. Dora Czigany (HUN) provided the goal down result at 11-12 with 49 seconds left and called a timeout with 21 seconds on the clock. Spain earned a turnover foul and went to a timeout with 12 seconds on the close. A major foul was called outside five metres and Spain whipped the ball to the two metre line where Anni Espar (ESP) drilled it home for a two goal winning margin with two seconds left.
Water polo (M) day 3 - Champions Hungary win first match in goal fest
It took three matches for Hungary to kick into gear in their Olympic gold medal defence, beating Romania 17-15 in a men's Group B match today. Norbert Madaras (HUN) turned up with two goals in two matches but delivered seven after a final display with his left arm. Winless after the first two days of competition, Hungary has to use all their skills to fend off a Romanian team fighting for its Olympic survival.Romania levelled at 1's, 3's, 6's, 7's, 8's and again at 9's leading up to half time. The second half was tougher with Romania coming back to 11-10, but them watching as the goal fest reached 14-11 after three periods. Romania scored consecutive goals to narrow the match to 15-13 after a Hungarian spurt, but it went 17-13 in Hungary's favour in the last three minutes. Romania scored the last two goals. They must have been surprised to have scored 15 goals against Hungary but to still have lost the game.
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