Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Gwangju, South Korea, July 18.— Spain, Italy, United States of America and Russia have advanced to the quarterfinals of the FINA World Championship women's water polo tournament at the Nambu University Grounds in Gwangju.

Spain was the first qualifier, winning its third consecutive match in Group C, downing Cuba 19-6. Beatriz Ortiz top-scored with four goals and Cuba's Mayelin Bernal netted three against the "mother country". Greece cemented second position with a 13-7 margin over Kazakhstan with centre forward Eleni Xenaki scoring three goals.

In Group D, Australia had to work hard to repulse Japan’s challenge 9-7. It took a three-goal burst in the middle of the final quarter to break free. Sadly, for Japan, after three two-goal losses in one of the toughest groups, it has been exiled to the rough 13-16 while Australia takes second spot. Italy took control of the group with a 14-6 win over China, who finished third.

Group A began with United States of America defeating South Africa 26-1 and booking a quarterfinal berth, as expected. Then Netherlands was leading only 6-3 at halftime over New Zealand before swimming away to a 15-6 scoreline, clinching second spot from New Zealand.

In Group B, Korea again attracted a huge crowd with everyone waiting for the elusive second goal. Not one, but two goals came for the host nation as Canada enjoyed the festival style and secured third spot and its first win with a 22-2 margin. In a world first, probably, all 13 Canadian players scored, including the two goalkeepers. Russia stunned Hungary with a 4-0 start and continued to hold the reins in a high-scoring match that looked much like beach water polo. Russia led 11-7 at halftime, 13-8 at the final break and 17-12 at the final whistle

Progress and Final points:

Group A: USA 6, Netherlands 4, New Zealand 2, South Africa 0.

Group B: Russia 6, Hungary 4, Canada 2, Korea 0.

Group C: Spain 6, Greece 4, Kazakhstan 2, Cuba 0.

Group D: Italy 6, Australia 4, China 2, Japan 0.

Thursday schedule:

Match 17, 08:30, Group A, CUBA 6 SPAIN 19

Match 18, 9.50, Group A, GREECE 13 KAZAKHSTAN 7

Match 19, 11:10, Group B, JAPAN 7 AUSTRALIA 9

Match 20, 12:30, Group B, ITALY 14 CHINA 6


Match 22, 17:50, Group C, NEW ZEALAND 6 NETHERLANDS 15

Match 23, 19:10, Group D, CANADA 22 KOREA 2

Match 24, 20:30, Group D, HUNGARY 12 RUSSIA 17