Junior female national water polo teams of Italy and Spain are going to play on Sunday in the big final of the FINA World Championship at the Milan Gale Muskatirovic swimming pool in Belgrade.
In the semifinal games, Italy beat Australia, while Spain managed to deal with Greece – 13:9.
Italians controlled the game during most of the first half, with brilliant Lucrezia Cergol leading the team. So, it was not a surprise that Italy had a 5:3 lead after the first two quarters.
Australian girls tried to fight back in the third quarter and thanks to Matlinda Kearns, they cut the deficit to 6:5. But, in the last eight minutes, Italian defense was really great and Isabella Riccioli for a 7:5 lead sealed the deal. Cergol was the best player of the match with five goals.
Spain took the lead in the first quarter after Andrea Arias goal and it seemed they are holding the rhythm. But, after Spain took a 3:1 lead at the start of the second quarter, Greece answered swiftly and with style. Maria, Vasiliki, and Eleni scored three quick goals and gave the Greek team a 5:4 lead at the halftime.
And it was Greece who had the control of the game through the most of the third quarter. But, in the last minute of this period, Spain showed some top quality water polo. Alejandra Aznar equalized 42 seconds before the end of the quarter, while Ruth Arino made it 10:9 in the last second.
It was in the last eight minutes when the Spanish team played the best tonight. First, they scored two goals thanks to Guiral and Aznar and took a 12:9 lead. They defended at a high level and everything was over when Aznar scored another goal.
Kazakhstan national water polo team won the 11th place after they defeated their local Asian rival Uzbekistan 14:13. Viktorya Khritankova was absolutely magnificent as she scored eight goals for the winning team.
New Zealand water polo team finished the tournament at the 9th place after a win against Canada 9:5. It was an equal first half, but after that, Kaitlin Howarth led New Zealand to victory.
Hungary will fight against the Netherlands in a fifth-place match on Sunday. Hungarians beat Russia 13:11 with a great last quarter display and goals from Farago, Utassy, and Pap. The Netherlands team won against USA – 8:7 and Simone van der Kraats scored the winning goal in the last quarter.
Uzbekistan – Kazakhstan 13:14
New Zealand – Canada 9:5
5th – 8th place
Hungary – Russia 13:11
USA – Netherlands 7:8
Spain 13:9 Greece
(2:1, 2:4, 6:4, 3:0)
Spain: Aznar 6, Arino 2, Morell 2, Guiral 2, Arias
Greece: Eleni 3, Maria 3, Anna, Vasiliki, Anastasia
Italy 7:5 Australia
(3:1, 2:2, 1:2, 1:0)
Italy: Cergol 5, Colletta, Riccioli
Australia: Kearns 2, Ballesty, Traplin, Andrews