Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Auckland, New Zealand, December 14.— Russia, Netherlands, Greece and Hungary all emerged as group winners on the third day of the FINA World Women’s Youth Water Polo Championships at the Sir Owen Glenn National Aquatic Centre in Auckland.

They earn a day off on Thursday as the next eight teams play the preliminary round in the battle for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Live streaming of all matches is via: 

In Group A, Spain headed off South Africa 19-3 and Russia nailed the group with a 16-6 advantage over host New Zealand.

In Group B, Netherlands elbowed out Australia 11-9 after Australia led twice and had the match level until the final four minutes.

In Group C, Greece claimed the group on the fourth countback, after beating Japan 27-9, needing a 17-goal difference to head off United States of America, who earlier shut out China 14-7. Both the top teams were tied and the bottom two tied meaning a deep dip into the countback determinations.

In Group D, Hungary defeated Germany 17-5 to secure the group after finishing level with Canada. Canada downed Mexico 19-4, but it was the result of the clash against Germany that decided the group winner. Hungary won by 12 and Canada only by four.

The tournament, like the youth men's event some months ago, is being played with just 11 of the 13-player rosters, with 25 seconds possession time and 15 seconds exclusion periods. This makes for a much faster style of game with more shots and plenty of goals. However, following this tournament, FINA is not expected to continue with experimental rules.


Final standings (in order):

Group A: RUS: 6, ESP 4, NZL 2, RSA 0.

Group B: NED 4, ITA 2, AUS 0.

Group C: GRE 5, USA 5, CHN 1, JPN 1.

Group D: HUN 5, CAN 5, GER 2, MEX 0.


Thursday Preliminary Round programme:

Match 26: 2.40pm, JPN-MEX

Match 27: 4.00pm, ESP-AUS

Match 29: 5.20pm, USA-GER

Match 30: 6.40pm, CHN-CAN

Match 28: 8.00pm, NZL-ITA


Match reports: 

Match 17, 9.30am, Group C, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 14 CHINA 7

Quarters: 4-2, 4-0, 3-3, 3-2

Referees: Raffaele Colombo (ITA), Dasch Barber (RSA).

Extra Man: USA: 2/6. CHN: 1/4.

Penalties: USA: 0/1. CHN: 0/1.


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Heidi Ritner, Alexis Liebowitz (1), Valeria Ayala (1), Abrielle Hill, Paige Hauschild (3), Bayley Weber (2), Madeline Johnston, Sarah Klass (2), Aria Fischer (2), Ryann Neushul (3), Thea Walsh. Head Coach: Marcelo Leonardi.

CHINA: Jingying Wu, Yanan Bi (2), Sanfeng Nong (3), Dunhan Xiong (1), Shiyun Wang, Wen Su, Rui Xu, Qingwei Wang, Xinyan Meng (1), Yun Wang, Yuting Xie. Head Coach: Dali Gong.


United States of America gained its first win of the tournament to go with the previous day’s draw and is looking keener ahead of the tougher end of the week. China was no pushover, but the Asians started poorly with USA pummelling the goal at will. Two solid opening quarters set the seal on the match. However, China awoke in the third — with Sanfeng Nong posting three goals — and matched USA at every turn, playing the way it is truly capable. A slight drop off in the final eight minutes was mainly due to USA’s better skills, especially on the drive where space to move invariably saw quick shots into the net.  USA was snappier on attack, strong at centre forward and swift on counter. China’s inability to breach the USA defence in the second quarter was particularly troubling.


Match 18, 10.50am, Group C, GREECE 27 JAPAN 9

Quarters: 10-1, 4-4, 5-1, 8-3.

Referees: Ivanka Rakovic-Krstonosic (SRB), Oriel Jaumandreau (ESP)

Extra Man: GRE: 5/6. JPN: 1/2.

Penalties: GRE: 2/2. JPN: 1/1.


GREECE: Ioanna Stamatopoulou, Elisavet Protopapas (6), Maria Eleni Seletopoulou (1), Nikoleta Eleftheriadou (4), Vasiliki Plevritou (6), Pinelopi Kollia, Anthia Papanastasiou, Maria Patra (3), Ifigeneia Mavrota (4), Maria Myriokefalitaki (3), Marina Kotsioni. Head Coach: Stefanos Leandros.

JAPAN: Riho Sakamoto, Akari Inaba (5), Ann Innoue (1), Asuka Watada, Chiaki Terakata (1), Haruna Nonomura, Maiko Hashida, Ayano Yamamoto, Yuka Matsuura, Kaho Iwano (1), Yuka Kawatashiro. Head Coach: Hideo Katoh.


In a group where the top two teams would finish tied on three points and the next two also tied, albeit with one point, this match became a clash of attrition. Mathematicians around the pool figured that the group win would come down to which team could score the most goals in three days. USA already had 50 so Greece needed 51 or more. The pressure was on from the start and Greece was equal to the task in hand, racing to a 10-1 quarter-time score. It looked set for top of the group. However, Japan struck back and levelled the second quarter with a converted penalty goal in the bag. The nine-goal margin was still on track but hard work was needed. Greece played with purpose, speed and agility. Japan played a much more committed style of game and restricted Greece to a 5-1 quarter. The target to win the group was ahead of it and it had +13. The difference was wiped out, but not before Japan’s resilience and closeness of the decision with two minutes left. Greece dug in and made sure of the correct margin and even had two to spare. Sadly, for Japan, it slips to fourth and out of medal contention, when it could easily have been different. If only Japan had come out fighting in the first quarter then USA, cheering heavily for Japan from the bleachers, could have been the victor.


Match 19, 12.10pm, Group D, HUNGARY 17 GERMANY 5

Quarters: 4-1, 3-0, 5-1, 5-3

Referees: Nicola Johnson (AUS), Henk Smit (NED).

Extra Man: HUN: 4/12. GER: 2/8.

Penalties: Nil


HUNGARY: Gina Lekrinski, Reka Miklos (1), Vanda Valyi (3), Orsolja Hertska (4), Henriett Adam (2), Hlengiwe Mchunu (1), Laura Koncz, Csenge Toth (3), Eszter Kiss, Anna Mucsi (3), Alda Magyari. Head Coach: Gabor Godova.

GERMANY: Liese Lotte Hurrelmann, Lynn Krukenberg (1), Meike Weber, Lara Kostruba Theresa Podsiadly, Sophia Eggert, Franziska Dregger, Aylin Fry (1), Jamie Verebelyi (1), Nadine Hartwig (2), Leonie Prinz. Head Coach: Milos Sekulic.


Hungary made sure of a big win over Germany to secure the group success. It needed just a five-goal margin to beat the 12-8 Canada had over Germany. A 12-goal difference was emphatic, to say the least. It brought to 58 goals the team has scored in Auckland, which should have loosened the arms up for the second round. German pressure meant Hungary struggled on the extra-man-advantage count, netting just 33 percent, which was better than Germany’s 25 percent. Seven Hungarians made the scorers’ sheet as the team looked more composed, even under the thunderous voice of head coach Gabor Godova.


Match 20, 1.30pm, Group D, CANADA 19 MEXICO 4

Quarters:  2-2, 3-0, 7-1, 7-1

Referees: Ursula Wengenroth (SUI), Svetlana Dreval (RUS)

Extra Man: CAN: 2/5. MEX: 2/6.

Penalties: Nil


CANADA: Ana Maria Vulpisi, Tyanna Supreme (3), Viktoria Orlova (1), Brianna Vtas (2), Joelle Nacovski (3), Emily Aikema (2), Adrien Van Dyke (1), Verica Bakoc (2), Keara Boan (2), Chayma Hlanadif (3), Katherine Campbell. Head Coach: Andrew Robinson.

MEXICO: Lizli Patino, Diana Rojas, Lucia Carballo (2), Sofia Carrillo (2), Maria Mendez, Joceline Alatorre, Alejandia Bareno, Beatrice Fragoso, Monique Anderson, Paulina Espadas, Julia Lara. Head Coach: Fausto Yazquez.


Canada pulled out all stops to show what it can do ahead of the elimination phase of the competition. Mexico worked hard for its four goals, only to watch as the speedy Canadians went on counter with superior skills and firepower. Two big-shooting final quarters made sure that all nine field players made the scoresheet while Mexico had to rely on pairs to Lucia Carballo and Sofia Carrillo. Despite five chances on extra, Canada could only convert two. Mexico has scored many of its goals from extra-man plays and has proved to be one of the better teams this week with 11 conversions from 19 goals.


Match 22, 5.20pm, Group A, SOUTH AFRICA 3 SPAIN 19

Quarters: 0-3, 2-6, 0-5, 1-5

Referees: Marcela Mauss (GER), Martin Murray (CAN).

Extra Man: RSA: 1/4. ESP: 5/7.

Penalties: Nil.


SOUTH AFRICA: Daniela Passoni, Lace Hallendorff (1), Chloe Meecham Nina Bohata, Ayanda Maphumalo, Hanna Muller, Ashleigh Vaughn (1), Lauren Harper, Zandre Smit (1), Cassandra Day, Emma Herbet. Head Coach: Brad Rowe.

SPAIN: Sandra Domene, Laura Gomes, Paula Leiton (2), Mireia Guiral (1), Alejandra Aznar (7), Blanca Goset (6), Elia Montoya (1), Carmen Barringo (1), Alba Bonamusa (1), Sofia Diaz, Paula Rutgers. Head Coach: Jordi Valls.


Spain won as expected over South Africa and used much of the match to prepare tactics for the knockout phase. South Africa was struggling against the stronger Spanish players and the tactics were to control the ball, work on defence and let the attack work itself. South Africa managed to keep possession for long periods against a Spanish team oozing with talent and speed. For all that, Spanish coach Jordi Valls was content to come through the match unscathed better off tactically and have the two points that would secure second place. South African coach Brad Rowe was visibly unhappy with the lack of decisions for his team, so elected to play the defensive game, he said after the match. Alejandra Aznar was on fire with seven goals and teammate Blanca Goset netted six. Laura Gomez (ESP) failed to get to three-quarter time, leaving with three major fouls. Lace Hallendorff, who was red-carded on Tuesday, collected two fouls in the first quarter but managed to make the final buzzer.


Match 24, 6.40pm, Group B, AUSTRALIA 9 NETHERLANDS 11

Quarters: 3-4, 3-1, 1-3, 2-3

Referees: Amber Drury (USA), Andreas Moiralis (GRE).

Extra Man: AUS: 1/4. NED: 3/7.

Penalties: Nil


AUSTRALIA: Gabriella Palm, Emma Jones (1), Kiara Holden (1), Matilda Kearns, Sofia Chaves (1), Alice Williams (2), Brooke Dickie (1), Danielle Morrissey (3), Savannah Henshaw, Sofie Pontre, Bridget Johnston. Head Coach: Predrag Mihailovic.

NETHERLANDS: Sarah Buis, Rozanne Voorvelt, Brigitte Sleeking (1), Fluerien Bosveld (1), Maartje Keuning (1), Anouk Bergsma (1), Brigit Mulder (2), Saranne Dukel (1), Kitty-Lynn Joustra (2), Lieke Rogge (2), Gezina Scholte. Head Coach: Gerrit-Jan Schothans.


Netherlands rolled into top place with a near last-gasp victory, sending in the last two goals for a deserved victory. Australia has plenty of enthusiasm, which it seemed to lack on Tuesday, and had the lead 3-2 in the first quarter and 6-5 at the stroke of halftime as  #8 screamed in a missile from halfway. The match was level at six and seven in the third period with the Dutch taking an 8-7 lead to the last. This became 9-7 before Australia replied twice only to watch as Netherlands secured the win and the group with the final two goals. This was as thrilling as it gets with plenty of movement and many sensational goals. The Dutch, however, were a little sharper around the pool and superior fitness told at the end.


Match 21, 8.20pm, Group A, NEW ZEALAND 6 RUSSIA 16

Quarters: 3-3, 1-6, 1-3, 1-4

Referees: Ziliang Chen (CHN), Kazuzo Moribayashi (JPN).

Extra Man: NZL: 2/12. RUS: 5/5.

Penalties: RUS: 0/1.


NEW ZEALAND: Antonia Young, Emily Sanderson, Malia Josephson, Emmerson Houghton, Nadia Pavlovich (1), Caitlin Parker-Allen (1), Mikayla Eruera, Emily Nicholson (1), Bernadette Doyle (2), Morgan McDowall (1), Alisha Winstanley. Head Coach: Davor Carevic.

RUSSIA: Evgenia Golovina, Daria Gerzanic (2), Elizavita Zaplatina (4), Maria Bersneva (4), Bella Khamzaeva (), Polina Popova, Alena Serzhantova (1), Polina Kempf (2), Veronika Vakhitova (2), Tatiana Tolkunova (1), Svetlana Stephakhina. Head Coach: Sergey Markoch.


Russia was expected to win big in this encounter. It already had the group sewn up but needed to show the other teams present what it could do and why it could be world champion. New Zealand decided to  try and turn the tables and di an excellent job in the first quarter with the opening goal and equalising twice. The Kiwis went ahead in the second and then had a “momentary lapse of reason”. This Pink Floyd reaction allowed Russia to reshape the match with six unanswered goals. New Zealand looked good in parts, however, it must be said that Russia is stronger all around the pool, has sharper reactions in front of goal and a talented arsenal. New Zealand’s attempts lacked the rifling required to play for medals at this early stage of the tournament. Russian Bella Khamzaeva blotted her copybook with a striking foul that earned a misconduct red card and a seat in another part of the stadium in the first minute of the second quarter. The Russian momentum was slightly blunted in the third and Russia seemed to cruise home happy with a big-margin victory.