In the semifinal of the water polo tournament of 17th FINA World Championships USA ladies beat the Olympic bronze medallist Russia after a slow start. Spain dominated against Canada and finally reached the last game of the tournament.
W43 - 1st semifinal
Russia-United States 14-9 (4-5, 1-6, 2-2, 2-1)
Hajós Alfréd Complex, referees: Alexandrescu (ROU), Putnikovic (SRB)
Russia: Karnaukh - Prokofyeva 3, Gorbunova, Serzhantova, Simanovich 2, Tolkunova, Ryzhkova 1. Subs.: Vakhitova, Karimova, Borisova, Timofeeva, Ivanova 1. Head coach: Alexander Gaidukov
United States: Stone - Musselmann 4, Seidemann, Fattal 5, Steffens 3, K. Neushul 1, M. Fischer. Subs.: Hauschild, Raney, A. Fischer, J. Neushul, Williams 1. Head coach: Adam Krikorian
The world champion United States came to the semifinals as the only unbeaten team in the tournament, where the Russian national team was the opponent who had defeated two big squads, the Dutch and the Italians earlier.
It was a big accomplishment from the Olympic bronze medallist Russia, the question remained whether they were able to surprise the Americans, who seemed unbeatable.
Photo: Máté Balogh/Bp2017
At the beginning they succeeded, after Simanovich's goal and Prokofjeva's huge bomb (maybe the goal of the World Championships) Russia led 2-0. Not much later, Musselmann and Rachel Fattal made it even, 2-2. Prokofjeva's repeated goal, then stroke a 5 meters from the Russians, 4-2.
There seemed to be a two-way advantage, we could think of 4-4, but then Rachel Fattal's third goal gave USA the lead still in the first quarter.
Afterwards, the American advantage grew to two, then Simanovich scored a backhanded goal, keeping the match tight. The events took place extremely fast, the audience watching in the heavy rain did not even notice it, but the United States had already increased their advantage to 8- 5.
Adam Krikorian’s team picked up the pace very well, they were at 10-5 in the middle of the second quarter. In the big break six goal was the difference between the two teams.
Ivanova broke a long Russian goal silence in the fourth minute of the third quarter, but it was only 12-6.
Later, the game did not change much, Americans were quite confident as they advance to the final of the 17th FINA World Championships women's water polo tournament.
W44 - 2nd semifinal
Canada-Spain 10-12 (2-4, 2-3, 2-2, 4-3)
Hajós Alfréd Complex, referees: Georgio Stavridis (GRE), Alessandro Severo (ITA)
Canada: Gaudreault – Wright 1, Eggens 2, Bekhazi, McKelvey, Robinson, Fournier 3. Subs: Alogbo, Crevier, Christmas 3, Lenay-Lavoie, McKee 1, Hage. Head coach: Haris Pavladis
Spain: Ester Ramos – Espar Llaquet A. 1, Ortiz Munoz 3, Ortiz Reyes, Espar Llaquet C. 1, Pena Carrasco, Leiton Arrones 1. Subs: Bach Pascual 1, Lloret Gomez, Forca Ariza, Crespi Barriga, Gual Rovirosa 5, Domene Perez. Head coach: Miguel Oca Gaia.
It was a huge surprise that Canada advanced to the semifinals, although they were silver medallists in the World League behind USA, so they shall be in the focus and Spain – who beat Greece in the previous round by penalties after equalizing in the last seconds – should have taken them seriously.
And they did, they were able to score multiple times in the first quarter againts Canada’s extraordinary defense. In fact they scored four times while only conceding twice, so Spain had the lead after the first period. The Spaniards' defense went well in the second quarter and their offense worked as well, Gual scored three times as Spain took a 7-4 lead to half time.
The pace of the game didn’t change in the third quarter, Spain controlled the match. Canada couldn’t come closer, although they literally needed only millimetres to come back up to a two goal deficit. In the final period, Spain was passive on offense trying to eat up as much time as possible. This led to Canada decreasing their deficit to only one with a goal by Eggens. At the end, Spain was able to get away with the win, advancing to the final, where they will face the defending champion USA.
For 11th place:
New Zealand-France 7-9 (1-0, 2-2, 1-5, 3-2)
For 9th place:
Netherlands-China 14-7 (2-2, 5-2, 2-1, 5-2)
Figures 5-8. place:
Italy-Australia 18-17 (5-3, 2-3, 1-3, 3-2, 7-6) – with penalties
Hungary-Greece 10-9 (2-4, 1-2, 5-0, 2-3)
Friday, July 28th
For 7th place:
12:00 - Australia-Greece
For 5th place:
13:30 - Hungary-Italy
For bronze medal:
15:00 – Russia-Canada
In the final:
20:30 – United States-Spain