Russian water polo team earns World Champ bronze in China

Italy's Eliza Kazanova (L) against Russia's Maria Kovtunovskaya (RIA Novosti / Aleksandr Vilf)
Team Russia has edged out Italy in the bronze medal match in women's water polo at the World Aquatic Championships in Shanghai.

Olga Belyaeva scored three times, and Ekaterina Prokofieva and Sofia Konukh added a brace eachfor Russia, which built a five-goal lead and then held on to beat their opponents 8-7.

Italy outscored the Russians 6-2 in the third period before the teams played a scoreless final quarter.

“We lost concentration in the third quarter, and began to make mistakes, which the Italians took advantage of,” said Ekaterina Prokofieva afterwards. “But we regained control of the game later and were very good in defense. We couldn’t afford to lose this game.”

“The team’s mood is OK. Yes, we won bronze medals, but we should have been playing in the final,” she added, hinting at Thursday’s controversial game against host China (12:13), which is believed to have been spoiled by biased refereeing. 

Later on Friday, Greece beat China for the gold medal, 9-8.

Serbia will face Italy in the men's gold medal match on Saturday. Hungary will take on Croatia for bronze.

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