Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Trieste, Italy (January 21).—  Greece and Italy closed the preliminary rounds as group winners in third-day action of the women’s water polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in the Bruno Bianchi Aquatic Centre today.

Greece beat Hungary 8-5 to win Group B and get the easier route to the all-important semifinals while Italy sat back with a comfortable 26-4 margin over Slovakia as Netherlands needed a 14-goal victory over France to leapfrog Italy to Group A supremacy. Netherlands finished 15-6 and thus finished second in the group. This situation came about as Netherlands and Italy tied 7-7 on Wednesday.

In an exciting finale to the day, Israel won the final quarter 3-1 to secure a 7-7 draw with Kazakhstan, although the Kazakhs have the better goal differential and claimed third spot.

While group wins are fantastic, it means nothing as quarterfinal matches on Friday will determine the semifinalists and from there, the winners will book seats for Tokyo 2020.

Final points:

Group A: ITA 5, NED 5, FRA 2, SVK 0.
Group B: GRE 6, HUN 4, KAZ 1, ISR 1. 

Friday Quarterfinal Programme:

Match 16, 14:00, SVK v GRE
Match 14, 16:00, FRA v HUN
Match 15, 18:00, ITA v ISR
Match 13, 20:00, NED v KAZ