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Water polo: Women’s semifinals are going to be tense

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There are only four teams fighting for the gold medal in Hajós Alfréd Complex in the women’s water polo tournament. The heavy favourite USA jumps in the pool againts Russia, while Canada – who shockingly knocked out Hungary – plays againts Spain for the final.

26 July, Wednesday

20:30 – Russia-United States

It was obvious before the start of the tournament that the world- and olympic champion USA is the heavy favourite. They did not show mercy in the group stage, where they beat South Africa 24-2 and New Zealand 22-7. Spain was the only one who was able to come close to the americans (12-8) and that matchup might take place in the final too – but more on that later. In the quarterfinals, they faced Australia in raining weather, who proved to be a worthy opponent as the final score was 7-5.

USA – who won four gold-, one silver- and two bronze medals in world championships –, only lost two quarters so far: one againts Spain and on againts Australia, but this game againts Russia is going to be a tough one. For one, Russia is the olympic bronze medalist. For two, they beat out strong teams: the world championship silver medalist Netherlands (11-10) and the olympic silver medalist Italy (9-8) and they did so with contentrating at the end of each match. For three, they would like to celebrate Evgenyina Ivanova’s 30th birthday today.

22:00 – Canada-Spain

Canada won againts China (9-8) and Brazil (16-6) in the group stage but took the loss againts Italy (10-4), so they advanced in second place. As it turned out, it was a blessing, as they faced New Zealand first, which was an easy game (16-3) and Hungary came next in the quarterfinals, who played much worse than what they are capable of. But give credit where it’s due, Canada’s defense was stellar and Monika Eggens put on a show with five goals to advance to the semifinals.

Photos: Máté Balogh/Bp2017

Canada will need this great defense again tonight, beacuse they face Spain, who only lost to USA in this tournament. They beat New Zealand (10-2), South Africa (17-3) and in the playoffs, they won quite easily againts China (13-5). The quarterfinals against Greece was a thriller as the two teams had to shoot penalties after a 10-10 tie. Spain was the one to equalize in the last seconds and they were mentally strong to advance to the final four.