Gergely Csurka, FINA Media Committee

Russia reached the best eight with a fine win over China in the first of the four eight-final matches and in the afternoon Hungary and Canada joined them, both after hard-fought victories. Japan and Slovakia earned easy wins and will play for the 13th place.

China showed a different face after their bad defeat against Greece last evening. Had they managed to make most of their scoring chances they could have played a rather tight game with the Russians. But missing crucial man-ups and penalties presented the Russian team with fine counter opportunities and they stroke back mercilessly. They led 5-1 at half-time and after scoring three goals in 100 seconds in the third they earned themselves a calm last period. They won 9-5 and will face Italy in the quarters.

Russians were a constant threat in front of the Chinese goal - Credit: Apostolos Zacharakis

The afternoon session was launched by a fine Hungarian win over Australia. A truly outstanding individual effort from Vanda Valyi – she scored 5 goals while her team won 8-5 - helped the Magyars to reach the best eight. Besides their man-down diffence also worked superbly as they killed 11 of 14 Aussie man-up. Soon Canada joined the party of the best eight, though they found it hard to overcome New Zealand as their 9-6 win was secured only in the fourth period.

The Hungarian blocks worked really well in the whole game

The US team was the last one to advance, beating Serbia 10-1 in the evening. It was a professional job from the Americans, even though their offence started working really effectively late in the match but their defence did an awfully great job: after conceding a goal in the first period after 1:37sec, they shut out the Serbs for the rest of the match (for 30:23 minutes!).

In the early encounters played for the 13/16th places Japan outplayed South Africa while Slovakia beat Croatia with surprising ease.

 

Schedule for Thursday

9.00 For places 15/16: South Africa v Croatia

10.20 For places 13/14: Japan v Slovakia

11.40 For places 9/12: China v New Zealand

13.00 For places 9/12: Australia v Serbia

 

16.00 Quarter-final: Netherlands v Canada

17.20 Quarter-final: Italy v Russia

18.40 Quarter-final: Spain v Hungary

20.00 Quarter-final: Greece v United States