Reigning champion Team USA and Italy will play in the final of the women’s Olympic water polo tournament on Friday. (Image: waterpolo.hu)
Reigning champion Team USA and Italy will play in the final of the women’s Olympic water polo tournament on Friday.
Hungary tried to revenge on the Americans for the defeat in the group phase, but the team of Adam Krikorian won once again (14-10).
"We were complete offensively and complete in terms of our effort. We didn't lose focus but I do think we could have done a better job defensively. We haven't given up 10 goals in a long time. Hungary is a great offensive team so we knew it was going to be a challenge. Besides us Italy has obviously been the hottest team in this tournament. I watched a little bit of their semifinal and I saw how well they were shooting the ball from the outside. Their defence has been really good and their goalie is playing fantastic. It's going to be a heck of a battle” – US head coach Krikorian said.
„Our defense has not worked today, the 14 goals we have conceded are way too much. We will analyse our mistakes, because we don’t want to leave Rio without a medal” – captain of Hungary, Rita Keszthelyi said.
Italy beat Russia comfortably 12-9, after defeating their rival also in the group phase (10-5). Hero of the match was Arianna Garibotti, who scored 5 goals.
„Every athlete and every coach dreams of the Olympic final. We will celebrate for a quarter of an hour, and then head for Friday’s big match. That will be my 200. game on the bench, and I thank all the girls who helped me with such an extraordinary performance” – Italian head coach Fabio Conti said.
Italy won the gold medal once, in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, when they beat host Greece in a memorable match after extra time in the final.
(www.federnuoto.it, M4 Sport, www.usawaterpolo.org)