completed the business it did not quite finish last year at the London Olympic
Games by defeating Australia
8-6 in the gold-medal final of the FINA Women’s Water Polo World Championships
at the Bernat Picornell Pool. It was silver behind United
States of America in London
claimed bronze. Tonight it was a well-deserved gold as the best team at these
championships and now the top nation on the planet for women’s water polo. It
was victory for head coach Miki Oca and his resolve and faith in his players,
led by the indefatigable Jennifer Pareja, voted the championship’s Most
Throw is a startling 11-save effort by goalkeeper Laura Ester and she was undoubtedly the best in her class in
Barcelona. Spain was confident from the start
and managed to out-defend the Aussie Stingers who looked nervous and times and
never got into high-scoring mode.
In the bronze-medal clash, played as the second match of the first session,
the first medal for its country (the men will play Montenegro
in the men’s final on Saturday) with a 10-8 margin over Russia, who led
3-1 during the first quarter. Hungary
started shooting go-ahead goals late in the second period, meaning Russia had to
play catch-up water polo. Hungary
kept 19-goal Ekaterina Prokofyeva scoreless and Russia kept 18-goal Barbara Bujka
off the scoresheet. Her back-up centre forward, though, Ildiko Toth, struck
In the play-off for fifth and sixth, scheduled as the curtain-raiser for the gold-medal final, Olympic and World Cup champion United States of America beat outgoing world champion Greece 15-12 in a penalty shootout after the match was tied at 10-10 by fulltime and 11-11 after two extra periods.
USA sent in all
four shots in the shootout while Greece missed two. The pair played
in the same group and USA
won that encounter 12-8. USA stretched its lead over Greece in World
Championship play to seven and the win was one place better that Shanghai 2011
when it lost by five goals to Australia. In the play-off for seventh and
eighth, Netherlands turned a 5-1 opening quarter into a 12-9 victory with Lieke
Klaassen scoring three penalty goals to become the championship’s highest
goal-scorer with 25. It was a rematch of the 7-8 classification match at
Shanghai 2011, which the Dutch also won.
Immediately after the match, Dutch gold medallists from the Beijing Olympics - Iefke van Belkum and Biurakn Hakhverdian - announced their retirements. This leaves just goalkeeper Ilse van de Meijden and Smit as the remaining gold medallists.
The Media All Star team was named with the championship’s Most Valuable Player, Jennifer Pareja (ESP), leading the group. She was joined by the best goalkeeper,
Laura Ester, centre forward Barbara Bujka (HUN) and field players Rita
Keszthelyi (HUN), Lieke Klaassen (NED), Jennifer Pareja (ESP), Ekaterina
Prokofyeva (RUS) and Rowena Webster (AUS).
United States of America