Gergely Csurka, FINA Media Committee

The Netherlands reached the semi-final round first after a convincing win over Canada, next came Russia after beating Italy 5-4 in the clash of defences. Spain downed Hungary in a one-sided contest, taking commanding lead already in the in the first period. Greece was the last one to join the party after a thrilling 4-3 win over the United States in front of an absolute capacity crowd, 2.000 enthusiastic locals.

The Dutch dominated the game against Canada, especially with their excellent defending - they shut out their opponents for 22:04 minutes while scoring seven unanswered goals, and towards the end of the contest their offensive potential was also shining (10-2). Then Russia and Italy offered their very best of defending but the Russians scored two fantastic action goals in the fourth period which sent them to the semi-finals. 

Spain did a splendid job against Hungary, a 5-1 rush in the first period did the damage, the Spaniards never looked back, though the flood of goals in the remaining part of the match served as a fine entertainment to the evening crowd. 

The evening game was a real coronation of the day as every available space was filled with spectators around the pool. The vast majority cheered for the Greeks who played a thrilling match with the USA. Brilliant goaltending, extreme tension, missed opportunities made the match the lowest-scoring one in the tournament. At the end of the day it was Eleni Xenaki who made the difference, Greece's best player netted 3 goals, quite a feat when your team wins 4-3. This also means that after two successive triumphs, the US team won't retain its title.

Defences did a tremendous job at both ends in the evening QF

Australia and China overcame their disappointment for not making the best eight this time and came up with fine performances in the crossover matches, beating Serbia and New Zealand respectively. At the bottom, Japan clinched the 13th place with ease (they should have finished higher), while in the battle of the two winless teams South Africa managed to beat Croatia and finish 15th. 

A nice scene from the game China v New Zealand - Credit: Apostolos Zacharakis

Schedule for Friday

10.00 For places 11/12: New Zealand v Serbia

11.20 For places 9/10: China v Australia

12.40 For places 5/8: Canada v United States

17.20 For places 5/8: Italy v Hungary

18.40 Semi-final: Russia v Spain

20.00 Semi-final: Netherlands v Greece