Silver medal in women’s water polo

Greece’s women’s water polo team put up a spirited fight against Italy in their final yesterday but were beaten by a last-gasp goal in extra time. Though the hosts were bitterly disappointed, weeping after their 10-9 loss, they soon recovered their spirits to savor the fact that their silver medals proved that they were the first Greek team to win a medal in an Olympic event. The match was decided by the extra-time goal by Italy’s Melania Grego. The score, by periods, was 3-2, 3-3, 0-1, 1-1, 2-2, 0-1. This ended the Greeks’ dream run in front of a passionate home crowd that crammed the Olympic swimming center. Greece’s men’s squad, which was watching yesterday’s game, will today face Serbia-Montenegro in a semifinal match at 9 p.m. The other semifinal, between Hungary and Russia, will be held at 6.15 p.m. At 5 p.m., Spain and Germany will fight for fifth place. The women’s squad put down its defeat to the world’s No. 2 team to a lack of experience. «I don’t know how it happens every time that they turn the game around. They are very experienced,» said Kyriaki Liosi of the Italians. She was one of the Greeks’ stars, scoring five goals. «We fought to the end. We had spirit. I can’t believe we lost. When we were ahead two goals in extra time I could not imagine we would lose. I thank the wonderful crowd and our coach, Koulis Iosifidis,» Liosi said, with tears in her eyes. Evi Moraitidou scored three goals but also managed to neutralize the Italian star Giusy Malato. The Italians had beaten the Greeks 7-2 in the preliminary round. The fans honored the silver medalists in their own way, singing the Greek national anthem during the medal ceremony. Greece has now equaled its tally of 13 medals in Sydney, with six golds, four silvers and three bronze. It is ranked 13th by gold medals and 15th by total. Meanwhile, Greece’s star of these Games, 400-meter women’s hurdle winner Fani Halkia, was still high yesterday. «What I experienced last night (Wednesday) was a wonderful moment. I can still feel the stadium vibrating with the cheers of the crowd. The field was shaking as if hit by an earthquake,» she told a news conference.

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