08 Aug Italy eliminates defending champions By: Wolfgang Philipps National Teams, Olympic Games Montenegro took the first semi-final berth in the men's waterpolo competition of the 2012 Olympic Games here in London, Great Britain. The players from the Adriatic Sea gained an 11-9 victory against Spain in the first quarter-final match of the day. The Spanish men made quite a comeback in the final period as goals from centre-forward Xavi Valles, lefthander Xavi Garcia and Marc Minguell cut the deficit to just one goal before Nikola Janovic virtually sealed the victory for the Montenegrins scoring with 1.30 min remainin. Montenegro, who reached fourth place at the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing, China got a nice lift from centre-forward Boris Zlokovic who was the team's top scorer netting four goals. Reiging European champions Serbia needed a huge comeback in order to overcome Australia in their quarer-final on Wednesday in the Water Polo Arena. The Aussie Sharks delivered an impressive second quarter putting themselves in the lead 7-4 at half-time, looking for a potential huge upset. Serbia however stormed back in a equally huge fourth period scoring six unanswered goals from the final phase of the third quarter on to eventually winning 11-8. Goals by Filip Filipovic, who scored three, centre-back Milan Aleksic and driver Stefan Mitrovic, with 20 seconds left, decided the outcome in favor of the heavy gold medal favorites who are the second squad to progress to the semi-finals. Today's matches and results are as follows: Italy delivered a strong performance when needed in their quarter-final upsetting the reigning champs Hungary 11-9. After a 2-2 start, the Italians pulled away in the second and third period with strong, versatile play including some nice long-distance shooting leading to a 8-5 score after three quarters. The Hungarians got the call and look to answer as they turned up the defense while coming closer and closer in the final period before Italy responded. Veteran Maurizio Felugo converted from way out giving his team a two-point advantage with under a minute left (10-8), but was worried when lefthander Norbert Madaras scored his third of the game on the other end not much later bringing the reinging champs back within one. Although their was not much time for attempting to score the equalizer, all Hungarian hopes were crushed in the next posession as Madaras was excluded and Italy could play out the clock, with eventually Christian Presciutti, another stand-out for Italy, scored his third goal of the game in the final buzzer to bring the final score to 11-9. Group A winners Croatia completed the London 2012 semi-finalists as they ran away from Team USA to win 8-2 in the final quarter-final of the day. Head coach Ratko Rudic' squad will now face Montenegro in the semi-finals. The win for the Croatians came in an impressive first half denying the Americans from scoring a single goal as Croatia led 5-0 at half time. Eazing up after the break, Ryan Bailey put USA up the scoreboard scoring followed by another from his team mate lefthander Peter Varellas but Croatia responded through shooters Miho Boskovic and Sandro Sukno who netted one each before Damir Buric scored his second of the game, the only goal of the fourth quarter, as Croatia eliminated the second Beijing 2008 finalist from the medal race. XXX Olympic Games 2012 at London, Great Britain Schedule and results of today's matches Day 11: Wednesday, 8 August - MEN 31. 14.30 Spain (3A) vs. Montenegro (2B) 9-11 (4-4, 1-3, 1-3, 3-1) - Quarter-final 1 32. 15.50 Australia (4A) vs. Serbia (1B) 8-11 (2-3, 4-2, 1-2, 0-5) - Quarter-final 2 33. 18.40 Italy (2A) vs. Hungary (3B) 11-9 (2-2, 3-2, 3-1, 3-4) - Quarter-final 3 34. 20.00 Croatia (1A) vs. United States 8-2 (2-0, 3-0, 2-2, 1-0) (4B)- Quarter-final 4 Upcoming matches Day 12: Thursday, 9 August - WOMEN 21. 14.30 Italy (L17) vs. Great Britain (L18) - Classification 7th - 8th place 22. 15.50 China (W17) vs. Russia (W18) - Classification 5th - 6th place 23. 18.40 Australia (L19) vs. Hungary (L20) - Bronze Medal Match 24. 20.00 USA (W19) vs. Spain (W20) - Gold Medal Match N. b: starting times are London local time Pictured: Italy's Maurizio Felugo delivered the dagger (his third of the game) to put up Italy 10-8 with under a minute remaining as the reigning champs are now out of the medal race. Photo by Henk Swinkels.