Saturday, August 04, 2012
Water polo - Spain, Australia finish top of their groups
By Sarah Young
LONDON (Reuters) - Spain's women beat Hungary in an adrenaline-pumped final minute to ensure the top position in their water polo group on Friday, while Australia cruised past Russia to top their half of the draw and extend an unbeaten run.
The Spanish women, making their Olympic water polo debut, let a three goal advantage slip out of their hands in the final quarter, leaving themselves under pressure to score in the last minute on Friday to secure the group win.
"We needed to score, so it was a bit tense. We kept calm and we scored," said Anni Espar, who scored the final goal with less than 10 seconds left, netting herself a hat-trick.
Australia, one of the favourites for a podium finish, handed Russia their first defeat of the tournament in a game that ended 11-8 to the Stingers.
There are eight teams in the women's water polo tournament split into two groups.
All of the teams go through to the knock-out stages but theoretically winning the group is an advantage as it means a match against a lower ranked team from the opposite group in the quarter finals, scheduled for Sunday.
"We've come here for one job and that's to get the gold medal so just six games, three down, just ticking the boxes as we keep going," Australia's Nicola Zagame, 21, said after scoring a cool four shots out of four attempts.
Britain play Italy in the evening sessions, with both sides looking to post their first win of the tournament, while the United States, another medal hope who took home silver in Beijing, take on China, in games that will decide the final group rankings.