Defending champions the United States and last year’s silver medallists Australia are the only two remaining unbeaten sides at the International Swimming Federation (FINA) Women’s Water Polo World League Super Final after both teams recorded their third straight victories today.
The Americans, who are the current Olympic gold medallists and world champions, clinched pole position in Group B as they battled to a 12-10 win over Spain at the Oriental Sports Centre in Shanghai.
In what proved to be a closely fought contest, the 2015 winners weren’t at their best but managed to move into a narrow 8-6 advantage at half-time, which proved crucial as the final two periods were drawn.
Spain’s Beatriz Ortiz and Kiley Neushel of the US were the two standout performers, each netting four goals in a high-scoring thriller.
“We played better than yesterday when we were against Canada, but we still need to improve our defence,” American coach Adam Krikorian said.
“I think we could reach our best form if we could play one hundred matches before the Rio Olympic Games.
“There are four veterans who competed in the Olympic Games before in my team while most of them are young players.”
Australia enjoyed a much more convincing outing than their American rivals as they swept aside Italy 13-7 to finish top of Group A.
The Australian side dominated proceedings from start to finish on their way to claiming their third consecutive triumph of the tournament as Glencora Mcghie and Isobel Bishop both netted hat-tricks.
Elsewhere, Canada bounced back from their defeat at the hands of the US yesterday by thrashing a hapless Brazil team 16-4 in Group B.
Emma Wright, Joelle Bekhazi and Shae Fournier all scored three goals in the Canadian rout, with Brazilian coach Patrick Oaten admitting he was “embarrassed” and that “my girls did not want to play the game today”.
“If you were scared to shoot here in the Super Final, how will you be able to shoot in front of your home crowd in Rio Olympic Games?" He said.
“We have to solve this problem in the next 24 hours.
“We have a lot of work to do - the effort level of our players today was very bad.”
China gave the home crowd something to cheer as they edged past Russia 9-8.
Today's action brought the group stage, which determines the seedings for the knockout round, to a close.
The US will take on Russia in the knockout phase, while Australia entertain Brazil.
China are set to clash with Canada and Italy will go up against Spain, with all matches scheduled to take place tomorrow.