Italy drowns Greece’s dream

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Greek Water Polo will have to wait another four years for an Olympic Medal…Italy defeated Greece 9-5 in the quarter-finals of the Men’s Water Polo Tournament, ending Greece’s dream for a medal in Rio.

Italy got off to a better start and went ahead 0-2 by the end of the first period. An early goal in the 2nd period gave the Italians a comfortable 0-3 lead before Greece got on the board after 11 minutes of play. A goal for each team before halftime put the Italians ahead by two goals going into the break (2-4).

Flegas kept the Greek team in the game denying Italy in the third period on many occasions, but the Greek offense continued their poor performance from the first half and could not cut into Italy’s lead. Two late goals in the third period gave Italy a comfortable and decisive 4 goal lead (2-6) before Fountoulis’s goal at the end of the period (3-6). Three minutes into the final period, Greece got back into the game and cut Italy’s lead to two goals (4-6). However, the Italians were clearly the better side on the night and were able to respond to Greece’s “comeback” by retaking their four goal lead. In the end, Italy came away with a well-deserved 5-9 victory.

Greece was extremely poor on the attack and only scored 3 goals in the first 3 periods. The cold start, down 0-3, put Greece behind from the get go with the Galanolefki chasing the game early on.

Today’s result, which ends Greece’s hopes for an Olympic medal, is unfortunate for our National Team. The Greek team has had so much success over the last 2-years in International Competitions (3rd at the World Championships, 3rd in FINA World League, 4th European Championships) and an Olympic medal would have been the ultimate prize. Regardless of the many obstacles this team has faced, mainly financial (funding from the federation and government), they continue to represent our country on a world class level.

The medal dream is over for Greece, however the team will now play in the 5th-8th place matches with their first game scheduled for Thursday against Spain (lost to Serbia).


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