Water Polo Reports - Women, Day 5

Kazan 2015 - WP

Women’s semifinal match-ups determined — USA v AUS and ITA v NED

United States of America, Netherlands, Australia and Italy have won through to the semifinals of the women’s water polo competition following sixth-day action.

Olympic, World Cup and World League champion USA will play Australia in the first semifinal and Italy will face 2008 Olympic champion Netherlands in the second semifinal.

USA controlled Spain from start to finish and will be out to finish on the podium for the first time since Rome in 2009.

For the Dutch it is the first trip to the semifinals since Perth 1998 following a rousing 10-9 win over host Russia after being 5-1 up early in the second quarter.

Australia struggled against China all match, having to level five times for 7-7 before forcing a penalty shootout, which it won 5-3 for a flattering 12-10 victory.

In the fourth quarterfinal, 2004 Olympic champion Tania di Mario scored four goals as 2014 World League silver medallist Italy swam over 2011 World champion Greece 9-6.

Brazil earned a play-off with Hungary for ninth position on the strength of a 10-5 victory over Kazakhstan. The match before, Hungary slipped home against Canada 10-7 after being 6-6 at the final break.

Four teams departed the tournament today with Japan taking 15th place over South Africa 14-7 and New Zealand finishing 13th with a 7-6 nail-biter over France.

August 5 Schedule

Classification 11-12

10:50, CAN v KAZ

Classification 9-10

12:10, HUN v BRA

Classification 5-8 Semifinals

15:30, ESP v CHN

17:00, GRE v RUS

Classification 1-4 Semifinals

20:30, USA v AUS

22:00, ITA v NED

Match 37: 21:30, ITALY 9 GREECE 6

Classification 1-8 Quarterfinal

Quarters: 1-0, 3-3, 3-2, 2-1

Referees: Mark Koganov (AZE), Radoslaw Koryzna (POL).

Extra Man: ITA: 1/10. GRE: 2/6.

Pens:  ITA: 1/1.


ITALY: Giulia Gorlero, Chiara Tabani, Arianna Garibotti (2), Elisa Queirolo, Federica Radicchi (1), Rosarie Aiello, Tania di Mario (4), Roberta Bianconi (2), Giulia Emmolo, Francesca Pomeri, Laura Barzon, Teresa Frassinetti, Laura Teani. Head Coach: Fabio Conti.

GREECE: Eleni Kouvdou, Christina Tsoukala, Stefania Charalampidi (3), Christina Kotsia (1), Margarita Plevritou, Alkisti Avramidou, Alexandra Asimaki (1), Antigoni Roumpesi, Ioanna Charalampidi, Triantafyllia Manolioudaki (1), Eleftheria Plevritou, Eleni Xenaki, Chrysoula Diamantopoulou. Head Coach: Georgios Morfesis.

Match Report:

Italy qualified for the semifinals and booked a clash with Netherlands after a rousing victory over Greece. After the drama of the previous three matches, this seemed more sedate. Italy looked the stronger team from the start, but the scoreboard ticked over only once in the first quarter and that to veteran Tania di Mario (36), a survivor from the 2004 Olympic-winning team. Greece levelled at the start of the second period only to have di Mario convert a penalty, Arianna Garibotti to drill one from the top and Roberta Bianconi from eight metres to give Italy a 4-1 advantage. Stefania Charalampidi and Triantafyllia Manolioudaki pulled it back to 3-4 by the close of business in the first half. Di Mario netted her third and Christina Kotsia sent one into the bottom right for 5-4. Federica Radicchi from seven metres and Bianconi from the top on extra gave Italy a respectable 7-4 margin at 2:35. Charalampidi with her second on extra brought it back to two just before the final break. Charalampidi repeated the dose for 6-7 at the top of the final quarter, closely followed by di Mario’s fourth — from well outside — for 8-6. More pain came for Greece when Garibotti scored from deep left on the next attack for 9-6 at 6:03. As the minutes ticked away, Greece’s chances slipped as well. There was no goal for the rest of the match.


Fabio Conti (ITA) — Head Coach

“I’m happy with the result, not so happy with how we played. We made different mistakes and on six on five. My players feel so much this game. Every year we play Greece in some important match. Now we have the important games of the World Championships. Congratulations to Greece because every times they are a strong team.”

Georgios Morfesis (GRE) — Head Coach

“It was not good this game. We didn’t find solutions in offence. We didn’t have the patience and Italy was better. I think we had a good tournament up until now. I’ll have to make sure we continue to get the highest we can in this tournament.” On the main point for the loss:  “We had no clear mind on offence.”

Match 36: 20:10, AUSTRALIA 12 CHINA 10 in penalty shootout (FT: 7-7. Pens:  5-3)

Classification 1-8 Quarterfinal

Quarters: 2-3, 0-1, 4-2, 1-1. Pens: 5-3

Referees: Francesc Buch (ESP), Voijin Putnikovic (SRB).

Extra Man: AUS: 0/7. CHN: 3/9.

Pens: AUS: 1/1. CHN: 1/1.


AUSTRALIA: Lea Yanitsas, Gemma Beadsworth, Hannah Buckling (1), Holly Lincoln-Smith, Keesja Gofers, Bronwen Knox (1), Rowena Webster (1), Glencora McGhie (1), Zoe Arancini (1), Ashleigh Southern (1), Bronte Halligan (1), Nicola Zagame, Kelsey Wakefield. Head Coach: Greg McFadden.

CHINA: Jun Yang, Jianing Tian, Xiaohan Mei, Dunhan Xiong, Guannan Niu (1), Yating Sun, Donglun Song (2), Cong Zhang, Zihan Zhao (2), Weiwei Zhang (1), Xinyan Wang (1), Jing Zhang, Lin Peng. Head Coach: Rick Azevedo.

AUS vs CHN ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match Report:

The match was tight from the start and Australia played catch-up to 2-2 before a Zihan Zhao penalty gave China the lead at the first break. A dour second quarter yielded just the one goal, to China, via a rocket pass forward to the arm of Donglun Song for 4-2 at 6:43. The next goal came on the first attack of the third period from Ash Southern sitting on the eight-metre mark. No rejoicing as yet for the Aussie Stingers as Guannan Niu, the 12-goal scorer from China, struck on extra to give her team a two-goal margin again. Captain Bronwen Knox accepted a cross pass and turned it into a goal for 4-5 and Bronte Halligan, daughter of a famous Australian sportsman, delivered the equaliser from deep right. Zhang Weiwei took back the lead for China on extra and on the next attack Rowie Webster converted a penalty at 2:04 for 6-6. Song converted extra-man attack at 4:51 when Australia had two players ejected. Head Coach Greg McFadden gained a yellow card, like his opposite had earlier.  Glencora McGhie scored from deep right 15 seconds later for 7-7 at 4:36. It was the fifth time the Stingers had caught China. Australia had two good opportunities but China’s blocking worked wonders. Australia took a timeout at 0:54, but that shot was stopped by goalkeeper Jun Yang. Now it was time for China to have a break and set the play with just 25 seconds remaining.  The long shot on time was stopped by Lea Yanitsas and the match went to a penalty shootout.

Australia scored all five shots while China’s sole blemish was Niu’s effort, blocked by Yanitsas in the third rotation. The final blast came from Arancini to claim the semifinal berth.


Greg McFadden (AUS) — Head Coach

I was pretty disappointed in our performance. Credit to China, they played fantastic. Our extra-man defence was terrible. Our extra-man offence was terrible.” On the shootout: “You’re never confident. It’s a lottery. It’s terrible to lose a game like that.” On scoring all five goals in a shootout under his tenure: “Probably not. All the girls stepped up — Bronte Halligan and Zoe Arancini, it was gutsy to take the last shot and she blew it away.

Rick Azevedo (USA) — China Head Coach

It was a good game. We played Australia seven times this year and the first was a nine-goal loss. Today we tied so that’s progress. We made a couple of mistakes in the third period that I am not happy with.” On the shootout: “Both teams are good shooters so when it gets to a shootout, just let’s get the ball wet.

Match 38: 18:50, RUSSIA 9 NETHERLANDS 10

Classification 1-8 Quarterfinal

Quarters: 1-4, 4-3, 2-1, 2-2

Referees: Nenad Peris (CRO), Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU).

Extra Man: RUS: 2/14. NED: 2/9

Pens: NED: 1/1.


RUSSIA: Anastasia Verkhoglyadova, Tatiana Zubkova, Ekaterina Prokofyeva (2), Elvina Karimova (3), Ekaterina Zubacheva, Anastasia Simanovich, Ekaterina Lisunova (1), Evgeniia Abdriziakova, Anna Timofeeva, Ekaterina Tankeeva, Evgeniya Ivanova (3), Nadezhda Iarondaikina, Anna Karnaukh. Head Coach: Mikhail Nakoryakov.

NETHERLANDS: Laura Aarts, Yasemin Smit (1), Dagmar Genee, Chatarina van der Sloot (2), Amarens Genee, Nomi Stomphorst, Marloes Nijhuis (1), Vivian Sevenich, Maud Megens (3), Isabella van Toorn, Lieke Klaassen (3), Leonie van der Molen, Debby Willemsz. Head Coach: Arno Havenga.

RUS vs NED ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match report:

It’s amazing what a crowd can do to lift a team. Netherlands led by four and Russia came back to level at 7-7 midway through the third, only to fall at the final hurdle. Netherlands opened the fastest way possible, on the first attack and then to 3-0 before Russia could respond at 1:20. However, Maud Megens, with just four goals from four games, lobbed from centre forward for her second of the period, four seconds from the break. It moved to 5-1 and 6-2 by midway through the second quarter and the match looked lost for Russia. However, the fighting spirit and the huge support from adoring fans slapping blow-up sticks, gave heart to the youngsters in the pool and Elvina Karimova and star captain Ekaterina Prokofyeva, a junior world champion captain from some years ago in Siberia, both scored on counter attacks for 4-6. Dutch captain Yasemin Smit and Prokofyeva both scored on extra-man attacks to close the half at 5-7. Russia had the momentum and Evgeniya Ivanova, who scored Russia’s second goal, lobbed from centre forward on the first attack of the third period. Then Karimova nailed a shot off a long cross pass just after extra-man attack for the equaliser at 5:30. Where were the Dutch? Not gone just yet. Klaassen converted extra at 1:55 for 8-7 and her third of the match and 12th for the tournament, and the margin was held until the final break. Megens was to the fore again with the open score of the final period on counter and with a lob that television replays show was a fingernail above the outstretched fingers of Russian goalkeeper Anna Karnaukh. Karimova gained her third with a missile from the top at 5:00 for 8-9 much to the joy of the capacity crowd. Van Der Sloot converted a penalty at 4:44 and the margin was two again. Russia gained an ejection late in the match and Ivanova converted at 1:11 for 9-10. The match was on a knife’s edge. Netherlands took a timeout and the Russian drop defence of three in goal made it hard on extra. In the end the defenders blocked the ball and Russia had a chance to level. The ball went wide and it was Megens who stole the ball from a Russian’s hand, controlling until the final buzzer.


Yasemin Smit (NED) — Captain

''One of Russia's weapons is their counter attack. We controlled that greatly in the first half, but let it slip in the third quarter. And when they scored a couple of goals out of that, the nerves on offence started to grow, allowing even more until the point that we could settle down and be more patient in attack. I felt that from that point on we were the better team again.''

Ekaterina Prokofyeva (RUS) — Captain

What are emotions when you lose. Total frustration. Firstly frustration at my play and how I couldn’t help the team and could have done better. We tried to fight until the end.” On being four goals down and coming back to level: “We displayed our wares so in spite of the game being lost we struggled to the end and didn’t want to be defeated.”


Classification 1-8 Quarterfinal

Quarters: 0-2, 2-3, 2-1, 1-2

Referees: Massimiliano Caputi (ITA), Georgios Stavridis (GRE).

Extra Man: ESP: 2/10. USA: 2/9.

Pens: USA: 1/1.


SPAIN: Laura Ester, Marta Bach, Anna Espar (2), Paula Leiton (1), Matilde Ortiz, Jennifer Pareja, Clara Espar, Pilar Pena, Judith Forca (1), Roser Tarrago, Maica Garcia (1), Laura Lopez, Patricia Herrera. Head Coach: Miguel Oca.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Samantha Hill, Madeline Musselman, Melissa Seidemann, Rachel Fattal (2), Alys Williams, Maggie Steffens (1), Courtney Mathewson (1), Kiley Neushul (2), Ashley Grossman, Kaleigh Gilchrist (1), Makenzie Fischer, Kami Craig (1), Ashleigh Johnson. Head Coach: Adam Krikorian.

USA vs ESP ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match Report:

This was an intriguing match between the Olympic champion USA, who also holds the World Cup, World League and Pan Games crowns, and Spain, the World and European champion. One had to be consigned to the round of 5-8 and unfortunately for Spain the dream of retaining its title was cut short. USA started strongly with Kiley Neushul scoring on the first drive down the pool and late in the period Kaleigh Gilchrist receiving a cross pass on counter. It went to 3-0 via a Rachel Fattal score after extra before Anna Espar responded on extra. Maggie Steffens took it to 4-1 on penalty and Neushul tapped one in off the far-post position after extra. Judith Forca redressed the imbalance with a lob out of the setting sun at 0:11 to close the half. This set Spain on a scoring path, lifting the team so that international newcomer Paula Leiton scored from in front on extra and Anna Espar netted a second with a wonderful centre-forward play down the left post, sneaking the ball past USA goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson for 4-5. Spain had its two specialist centre forwards on the bench at the time. Kami Craig finished a lot of passing just after the extra period from the left post for 6-4, which was the final score of the third period. Maica Garcia had a chequered quarter, scoring from deep left on extra for 5-6 at 5:48 to excite the crowd. Then in less than a minute USA blew the match apart with Fattal and Courtney Mathewson converting extra-man plays for 8-5 by 4:26. Then Garcia was ejected from the game on three majors, almost putting a seal on the USA win. Earlier, Spain had two extra-man chances and Roser Tarrago had the goal at her mercy and failed to shoot. At 1:07 she shot, but only after a baulk and it was covered. USA went to a timeout with the luxury of a three-goal margin and from there the game fizzled.


Courtney Mathewson (USA)

We tried to get their centre forwards in trouble and this proved successful (Maica Garcia was fouled out). We tried to disrupt their game plan. We came out attacking as if we had nothing to lose. Our goal is to get better with every game. We are improving.” On both Spanish centre forwards being rested on the bench at one stage: “It changed the dynamic and we adjusted defensively.

Miguel Oca (ESP) — Head Coach

Nothing. USA was better than us. We lost a quarterfinal. They were pressing us and we try to find a solution. USA di very well, they scored some good goals, gained exclusions and scored on counter attack. They played very well.

Match 34: 13:30, KAZAKHSTAN 5 BRAZIL 10

Classification 9-12 Semifinal

Quarters: 1-2, 0-4, 2-4, 2-0

Referees: Anne Grandin (FRA), Shi Wei Ni (CHN).

Extra Man: KAZ: 2/10. BRA: 3/6.

Pens: BRA: 1/1.


KAZAKHSTAN: Alexandra Zharkimbayeva, Aruzhan Yegemberdiyeva, Aizhan Akilbayeva, Anna Turova (1), Kamila Zakirova, Oxana Tikhonova, Zamira Myrzabekova, Oxana Saichuk (1), Darya Muravyeva, Darya Roga, Anastassiya Mirshina (3), Assem Mussarova, Darya Ryzhinskaya. Head Coach: Miroslav Trumbic.

BRAZIL: Tess Oliveira, Diana Abla, Marina Zablith (1), Mariana Duarte (1), Lucianne Barroncas, Izabella Chiappini (3), Amanda Oliveira (1), Luiza Carvalho, Melani Dias (2), Viviane Bahia (1), Lorena Borges, Gabriela Mantellato (1), Victoria Chamorro. Head Coach: Patrick Oaten.

KAZ vs BRA ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match report:

It was Brazil all the way to a play-off with Hungary for ninth place on Wednesday. Brazil went 2-0 up, let in one goal and then kept Kazakhstan scoreless for 14 minutes when Anastassiya Mirshina netted her ninth goal of the tournament for 2-8. The game was already lost and Brazil made sure of the victory by the final break, leading 10-3. Mirshina came back with another to start the fourth at a time when Brazilian head coach Pat Oaten (CAN) was demanding more of his team, which is the host for next year’s Olympic Games. Mirshina made it three for the day with a penalty conversion for 5-10 at 4:49. The best part for Kazakhstan was that it kept Brazil scoreless for the period. Izabella Chiappini was instrumental in the win with three goals, including a nice long arrow shot from the top to lift her tournament tally to 15.


Pat Oaten (CAN) — Head Coach

“We played well from the first to third quarters, stuck to the game plan. We are making baby steps. We know Hungary will come out and play hard press against us. Hungary got a little bit of bad luck here. Hungary is a good team and it has a good coach. I think people will say by the Olympics Games we deserve to be there.”

Izabella Chiappini (BRA) —  15 goals in Tournament

“It was really important to win to play off for ninth and let people see we’re at a better level. Today defence won us the game. We’re now becoming a team. We’re really tired now, but it will be good for us to go to the Olympics to do a good job.I’m really excited to play Hungary (for ninth) and have a really good game.”

Match 33: 12:10, CANADA 7 HUNGARY 10

Classification 9-12 Semifinal

Quarters: 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, 1-4

Referees: Ursula Wengenroth (SUI), Cory Williams (NZL).

Extra Man: CAN: 3/8. HUN: 4/8.

Pens: Nil.


CANADA: Jessica Gaudreault, Krystina Alogbo, Katrina Monton, Emma Wright (2), Monika Eggens (1), Kelly McKee, Joelle Bekhazi (1), Shae Fournier, Carmen Eggens (1), Christine Robinson (1), Stephanie Valin (1), Dominique Perreault, Nicola Colterjohn. Head Coach: Johanne Begin.

HUNGARY: Flora Bolonyai, Dora Czigany, Dora Antal, Dora Kisteleki (2), Gabriella Szucs (1), Orsolya Takacs, Anna Illes (1), Rita Keszthelyi (4), Ildiko Toth, Barbara Bujka (2), Krisztina Garda, Kata Menczinger, Edina Gangl. Head Coach: Andras Meresz.

Match Report:

A two-goal burst in 41 seconds at the top of the fourth period proved the difference between these two teams. Canada had to come back four times to level at one, two, three and six. The 6-6 score came from Emma Wright at 1:15 in the third period giving hope to Canada that had been playing up and down in Kazan. Today it played solidly, but it could not contain the excellent finishing skills of Hungarian star Rita Keszthelyi, who scored two in the second quarter, one in the third and another in the fourth. Those two goals in quick succession gave Hungary the impetus to strike again, this time through Anna Iiles after an extra-man play. Wright netted again, on extra, sending in a left-hander to the top right on extra for 7-9 at 3:08. Another leftie, Barbara Bujke, went on counter and scored to take Hungary to 10-7 and what proved enough to go to the semifinals. Heated scenes were in the water and on pool deck at the end of the match with Canadian captain Krystina Alogbo storming from the pool.


Andras Meresz (HUN) — Head Coach

“I’m happy because the girls knew it was not just a goal for ninth place. It was very important for the girls mentally. It was just a game for the Magyars. Canada’s team and style is the power game. They are taller and heavier. The wrestling game was a tie. The game we won.”

Johanne Begin (CAN) — Head Coach

“It was not the way we wanted to end the game, players losing their tempers. You must respect the opponent and your team-mates and play fair until the end of the game,” alluding to the fracas on the side of the pool at the end of the match. On the best part for her team: “Desire was really there. We were doing mistakes all over the tournament, but losing the ball on the perimeter when two goals down and that becomes three… This kind of error is about losing concentration. Finishing 11th or 12th is the worst result for water polo women in Canada. It’s time to think about the programming, coaching staff, players, training facilities; we need to analyse all this and hope to take a good decision to move forward.”

Dominique Perrault (CAN)

“It’s not the position we expected to be in. We were ready to play, but now we have to look forward to next March for the (Olympic Games) Qualification Tournament. We could be seeing them at the qualifiers.” On what was good for Canada: “We were aggressive and helping each other. That was what was asked of us.”

Match 32: 10:50, NEW ZEALAND 7 FRANCE 6

Classification 13-14

Quarters: 1-2, 3-2, 1-2, 2-0

Referees: Dion Willis (RSA), Stephane Roy (CAN).

Extra Man: NZL: 1/5. FRA: 1/8.

Pens: Nil


NEW ZEALAND: Brooke Millar, Nicole Lewis, Sarah Pattison (1), Danielle Lewis (1), Simone Lewis, Sarah Landry (1), Miranda Chase, Caitlin Lopes Da Silva (1), Emma Stoneman, Liana Dance (1), Kirsten Hudson, Jasmine Myles (2), Katherine Curnow. Head Coach: Attila Biro.

FRANCE: Lorene Derenty, Estelle Millot (2), Lea Bachelier, Aurore Sacre, Louise Guillet (1), Geraldine Mahieu (1), Marie Barbieux, Marion Tardy (2), Lucie Cesca, Sonia Bouloukbachi, Yaelle Deschampt, Michaela Jaskova, Morgane Chabrier. Head Coach: Filippos Sakellis.

NZL vs JPN ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match report:

New Zealand finished the tournament with two wins, taking out a close match with France in which the scores were level  at every number to six. New Zealand scored the killer blow through captain Jasmine Myles with a nine-metre lob at 1:45 in the final quarter, which the Kiwis won 2-0. New Zealand held out the powerful-shooting French captain Louise Guillet, who only netted once for a tournament tally of 13. Myles finished her team’s equal top scorer with Danielle Lewis on seven. In fact, only one field player did not score for the Kiwis. The match was enthralling for its closeness and intent from both teams. Despite two wins, it was a place down for New Zealand after four straight 12th places going back to 2001. Its best performance in the years with much fewer teams, was seventh in Perth in 1991. France’s best was ninth out of nine, also in 1991. Its last visit to the Worlds was in 2003 where it fended 15th and its best in 1994 in Rome where it finished 11th.


Jasmine Myles (NZL) — Captain

It was really different after playing South Africa (in crossovers). France was a lot stronger, faster and grabby. We kept our cool and stayed level-headed. We went in to win so it was good.” On the tournament: “We had a tough pool with Spain, the world champions, and Canada. We had hoped to win over Kazakhstan, but we didn’t. It was good to finish the tournament on a high.

Geraldine Mahieu (FRA) — Centre Forward

It was so frustrating that we lost. We wanted to win because we know we can play much better. It was because of mentality, tiredness that we did not play well. We started fighting and not playing the game.” On the tournament: “We were here to learn to play and we faced top teams like Hungary, China and Russia in our group.” On the best part of the tournament: “Against China we won a period 2-1. Just a little winning!

Match 31: 09:30, SOUTH AFRICA 7 JAPAN 14

Classification 15-16

Quarters: 0-2, 0-2, 3-7, 4-3

Referees: Peter De Jong (NED), German Moller (ARG).

Extra Man: RSA: 2/8. JPN: 1/3.

Pens: Nil


SOUTH AFRICA: Rebecca Thomas, Megan Parkes, Kieren Paley, Ruby Versfeld (1), Megan Schooling (1), Amica Hallendorff (1), Kimberly Kay (1), Delaine Christien, Lindsay Killeen, Deborah O’Hanlon (1), Kelsey White (2), Alexandre Gascoigne. Head coach: Bradley Rowe.

JAPAN: Rikako Miura, Chiaki Sakanoue (2), Yuri Kazama, Shino Magariyama, Moe Nakata (1), Ayaka Takahashi (2), Yumi Nakano (4), Mitsuki Hashiguchi (2), Kana Hosoya (1), Tsubasa Mori (2), Marina Tokumoto (1), Kotori Suzuki, Yuko Umeda. Head Coach: Hideo Katoh.

RSA vs JPN ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match report:

Japan and South Africa bowed out of competition with Japan collecting its first win by keeping South Africa scoreless in the first half. Japan used counter attack and centre-forward play to tick over the scoreboard. South Africa scored three in the third period — at 1-4, 2-6 and 3-11 — but poor passing led to many Japanese counter-attack goals. Japan enjoyed   making sure all players went home with at least one goal and the productive quarter showed its skills and speed were equal to the best teams. The 7-3 period was probably the highest scoring of all matches in Kazan. South Africa actually won the last period 4-3, which was testament to a do-or-die effort despite the hurdles it faced all tournament. Japan’s Yumi Nakano top-scored with four to give her 10 for the tournament. South Africa’s Ruby Versfeld was her team’s best with five.


Tsubasa Mori (JPN) — Captain

This was a must-win game. There centre forwards were much bigger than us so we had to keep swimming and make the most of our counter-attack game. I was pleased with our defensive tactics and kept pressing. There was also pressure on our defence during the tournament that that fatigued us. We have to improve on our shooting conversion.” On the Asian Olympic qualification tournament in December: “We have China and Kazakhstan as our biggest opposition. We need to use the same tactics as Kazan — press and counter attack. We also need to refine our skills.

Brad Rowe (RSA) —Head Coach

It was a bridge too far. I had three on the bench and one for the entire tournament. We were the most under-trained team here (lack of funding and geographical spread of players). We were mentally drained; mentally and physically tired. We were running on empty. You can only get thumped so many times before you give up.

Kelsey White (RSA) — Captain

We didn’t start well and our lack of fitness and awareness showed in this game. We were quickly five-six goals behind. We were not fit enough. In the end we did some really good shots and finishing (last quarter which RSA won 4-3). We ere all trying to do something and our passing was not accurate. Even when so tired we have to learn to still make passes and correct decisions.” On the tournament: “It was great experience to play the top teams. Playing those calibre of teams is also a great honour. We have six new players and it’s opened their eyes to what can be. We will go home now and work on all those things.