Quarter-finals qualification matchups determined - day 5 results

On day 5 of the 15th FINA World Championships here in Barcelona, Spain the preliminary rounds of the women's water polo tournament will be concluded. Team USA opened up beating Great Britain 16-4 in a one sided affair to stay unbeaten and win group C. Caroline Clark finished as top scorer for the Adam Krikorian netting three goals. Group D's fourth-ranked side will now await in the next, crossover, quarterfinals qualification round on Saturday. For Great Britain, losers of all three group stage matches, the winner op group D will be up next. The finish in group C came after the second game contested on Thursday as Canada and reigning champs Greece put up a nice show. After Greece showed promising signs early on taking a 1-3 lead in the first quarter Canada came back nicely in the second term. However the Greek forced them to do it again as the 2011 Shanghai gold medallists got up 4-6 at half time before at the end of the third term it became clear that this would be a close call. Joelle Bekhazi, after missing he second penalty shot attempt of the game, got Canada up 7-6 on a counter attack before 2011 world player of the year Alexandra Asimaki came up big scoring the game's next two goals including the one that had Greece leading 7-8 with 2.00 to go off a player advantage possession. But Canada was not to give up. In the final minute it was Monika Eggens (pictured) who netted her fourth of the game on man-up to levell the game (8-8), knowing that was what Canada needed to finish on top of Greece in group C. They held on in Greece's final possession and played out the clock celebrating the second spot in group C because of a better result (two-goal defeat)to the top ranked USA. Greece had lost that game by four and finish in third place. The result marked the first draw between the two sides on world championships in their fourth meeting. The Greek had previously beat Canada in 1998, the Americas representatives finished on top in 2001 and 2005 before today's draw.

In the early session's third game Hungary clinched the win in group D rolling past Kazakhstan 18-7. Right from the start it was obvious that the Hungarians were the clear better side. Kazakhstan was led by both Aizhan Akilbayeva and center Assel Jakayeva who scored all the team goals with three and four respectively. On Hungarian part the goalscoring was equally devided with Barbara Bujka as top shooter with three. The Hungarians will now meet Great Britain in the playoff battle for quarter-finals qualification.

The final group D standings were made up with the conclusion of the early session and its final game between Italy and the young squad of Brazil. Although the heavy favorites it was not until the second quarter before the Fabio Conti coached side took off. But once they did there was nothing Brazil could do. Six unanswered goals decided the game in the second term putting Italy up a comfortable 8-1 at half time. From that point on the Italians slowed down, allowing Brazil to strike on a couple of counter attacks and a nice catch-and-shoot goal from rising star Izabella Chiappini but stil Italy finished on top in the third period and drew level 3-3 in the final period recording a 13-5 victory to close out the group stage and finish second in group D setting up an exciting meeting with Greece in the next quater-finals qualification round. Roberta Bianconi and lefthander Giulia Emmolo scored a game-high three each for the 2012 European champions.

The second session started with one of the exciting matches of the day as Russia faced the Netherlands in a key matchup for the composition of group A. As always the sides were close although Russia had the better start jumping out to a 6-3 lead halfway through the second period. From that the Dutch side got into their groove and gradually started to come back. Iefke van Belkum, who played in Ruza, Russia this past club season, eventually got her side next to the Russian scoring for the 7-all tie with six minutes to go in the third quarter. What followed was an exciting and tense final phase in which the teams stayed close although Netherlands never grabbed a lead. In the final part of the fourth period the Mauro Maugeri coached squad came back from being 10-8 down to tie and were forced to repeat that equalizing for two more times before Russia finally played out the clock with the score tied at 12 knowing that would bring them the top spot in group A. For the Netherlands Lieke Klaassen, now tournament top scorer with 13 goals, went off for a game-high four in this game while both center Olga Beliaeva and Evgenyia Ivanova netted three each for the victorious Russians.

In the following game Australia clinched their group win in group B by outplaying South Africa 16-1 in the final group stage match for both teams. The one sided affair had the Aussie Stingers leading 4-0 after quarter time as the Greg McFadden coached side just went on to score sixteen against the last ranked team of the group. Australia had the scores nicely spreaded over the team once again with Holly Lincoln-Smith and Rowena Webster ending up as top scorers with three each. The only South African goal was scored by Kelsey White. For both teams it now is all about the next round as Australia will probably face Uzbekistan as fourth ranked side out of group A while South Africa again awaits a difficult meeting, now with group A winners Russia.

Altough the difference in the final score was less than the previous game still there was no doubt about the outcome of the following match on Thursday in Barcelona. China led New Zealand 6-1 at half time and extended that margin by three goals in the second half. Yujun Sun and Donglun Sun netted a triple each for top scoring honors as the Chinese completed their preliminary round at the world championships finished second in group B setting up a meeting with the Netherlands in the quarter-finals qualification round on Saturday. New Zealand are now likely to meet hosts Spain in the next and first playoff round the day after tomorrow.

Hosts Spain confirmed their second spot in group A in the final game of the day rolling past Uzbekistan 20-4, in what appeared to become a seventeen-goal victory until Natalya Plyusofa shot one home from almost halfcourt at the buzzer to give herself and her team a little reason to cheer at the end. But the rest of the game was all Spain, and center Andrea Blas in the first half in particular. The Zaragoza player went off for no less than five goals in the first and second period, an absolute tournament record. Eventually finishing at six, she highlighted the one sided affair on Thursday being unstoppable for the Uzbekistan defence. Now the London 2012 silver medallists can look ahead to next round's meeting with New Zealand for a sport in the quarter-final, to be contested next Saturday.

USA vs. Great Britain. Photo by Russel McKinnon

Canada vs. Greece. Photo by Russel McKinnon

Hungary vs. Kazakhstan. Photo by Russel McKinnon

Italy vs. Kazakhstan. Photo by

Russia vs. the Netherlands. Photo by

Australia vs. South Africa. Photo by

China vs. New Zealand. Photo by

Spain vs. Uzbekistan. Photo by Russel McKinnon

Spain vs. Uzbekistan. Photo by

15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain
Women's water polo
Fixtures and results day 3

Thursday, July 25th
09.30 USA vs. Great Britain 16-4 (4-0, 2-2, 3-1, 7-1)
10.50 Canada vs. Greece 8-8 (2-3, 2-3, 3-0, 1-2)
12.10 Hungary vs. Kazakhstan 18-7 (8-1, 4-2, 3-2, 3-2)
13.30 Italy vs. Brazil 13-5 (2-1, 6-0, 2-1, 3-3)
17.30 Russia vs. Netherlands 12-12 (3-3, 4-2, 1-2, 4-5)
18.50 Australia vs. South Africa 16-1 (4-0, 5-1, 5-0, 2-0)
20.10 China vs. New Zealand 13-5 (2-0, 4-1, 5-3, 2-1)
21.30 Spain vs. Uzbekistan 20-4 (8-1, 3-0, 6-0, 3-3)
Preliminary round groups and final standings
Group A (final)
Russia 5 points
Spain 4
Netherlands 3
Uzbekistan 0
Group B (final)
Australia 6
China 4
New Zealand 2
South Africa 0

Group C (final)
United States 6
Canada 3
Greece 3
Great Britain 0
Group D (final)
Hungary 6
Italy 4
Kazakhstan 2
Brazil 0
Fixtures and results
Sunday, July 21st
09.30 Russia vs. Uzbekistan 22-6 (5-1, 6-1, 5-2, 6-2)
10.50 Australia vs. New Zealand 15-4 (3-1, 4-2, 4-0, 4-1)
12.10 China vs. South Africa 17-2 (4-0, 4-0, 5-0, 4-2)
13.30 USA vs. Greece 12-8 (1-2, 3-2, 4-2, 4-2)
17.30 Canada vs. Great Britain 14-9 (3-2, 4-3, 4-3, 3-1)
18.50 Hungary vs. Brazil 20-6 (6-2, 3-0, 3-0, 8-4)
20.10 Italy vs. Kazakhstan 9-7 (1-3, 5-0, 2-3, 1-1)
21.30 Spain vs. the Netherlands 14-12 (2-4, 5-1, 3-3, 4-2)
Tuesday, July 23rd
09.30 South Africa vs. New Zealand 7-13 (2-3, 1-3, 1-3, 3-4)
10.50 Australia vs. China 14-5 (1-3, 3-2, 6-0, 4-0)
12.10 Great Britain vs. Greece 7-13 (1-1, 2-2, 2-5, 2-5)
13.30 USA vs. Canada 10-8 (4-1, 2-2, 3-2, 1-3)
17.30 Kazakhstan vs. Brazil 9-5 (2-2, 3-0, 2-0, 2-3)
18.50 Hungary vs. Italy 10-4 (3-1, 3-1, 3-1, 1-1)
20.10 Uzbekistan vs. Netherlands 3-30 (1-7, 0-9, 1-6, 1-8)
21.30 Spain vs. Russia 6-7 (0-1, 2-1, 1-3, 3-2)
Thursday, July 25th
09.30 USA vs. Great Britain 16-4 (4-0, 2-2, 3-1, 7-1)
10.50 Canada vs. Greece 8-8 (2-3, 2-3, 3-0, 1-2)
12.10 Hungary vs. Kazakhstan 18-7 (8-1, 4-2, 3-2, 3-2)
13.30 Italy vs. Brazil 13-5 (2-1, 6-0, 2-1, 3-3)
17.30 Russia vs. Netherlands 16-1 (4-0, 5-1, 5-0, 2-0)
18.50 Australia vs. South Africa 16-1 (4-0, 5-1, 5-0, 2-0)
20.10 China vs. New Zealand 13-5 (2-0, 4-1, 5-3, 2-1)
21.30 Spain vs. Uzbekistan 20-4 (8-1, 3-0, 6-0, 3-3)
Saturday, July 27th (Quarter-finals qualification)
09.30 Russia (1A) vs. South Africa (4B)  - 25
10.50 Australia (1B) vs. Uzbekistan (4A)  - 27
12.10 China (2B) vs. the Netherlands (3A)  - 28
13.30 Spain (2A) vs. New Zealand (3B)  - 26
17.30 United States (1C) vs. Brazil (4D)  - 29
18.50 Canada (2C) vs. Kazakhstan (3D)  - 30
20.10 Hungary (1D) vs. Great Britain (4C)  - 31
21.30 Italy (2D) vs. Greece (3C)  - 32
Monday, July 29th (quarter-finals)
15.30 W25 vs. W30  - 33
17.00 W27 vs. W32  - 34
20.15 W29 vs. W26  - 35
21.45 W31 vs. W28  - 36
Wednesday, July 31st (semi-finals and places 5-8)
15.30 L33 vs. L34  - 37
17.00 L35 vs. L36  - 38
20.15 W33 vs. W34  - 39
21.45 W35 vs. W36  - 40
Friday, August 2nd (medal matches)
15.00 L37 vs. L38 - places 7/8
16.30 L39 vs. L40 - bronze medal game
20.45 W37 vs. W38 - places 5/6
22.15 W39 vs. W40 - final game

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