Greece advances to semifinals

MONTREAL/ATHENS (Combined reports) – Greece advanced to today’s semifinals of men’s water polo at the World Swimming Championships with a 13-9 win over Italy yesterday. The national team will now face defending Olympic and world champion Hungary, an 8-4 winner over Spain in its quarterfinal. Aleksandar Sapic scored four goals to lead Serbia-Montenegro to a 10-8 victory over Romania. The Serbians will play Croatia, a 6-4 winner over Russia, in the other semifinal. Greece was led by Theodoros Chatzitheodorou, who scored on all four of his shots. Italy got three goals from Alberto Angelini. Greece led 9-8 late in the third quarter when Dimitrios Mazis scored. The national team added three more goals in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Greece notched eight goals while Italian players were sent off for penalties. Italian goalie Francesco Ferrari was benched after he stopped just three of 13 shots. His replacement, Fabio Violetti, allowed three goals. The Greeks put themselves in position to win a medal nearly a year after they lost to Russia in the bronze-medal game at the Athens Olympics. «It is a big win for Greece because I remember us some years ago being not that good,» Christos Afroudakis said. «Now it is our third time in big competitions that we finish in the eight best teams. We are now looking for a medal. This is what we wanted from the beginning and we will get it,» he added. In its 8-4 quarterfinal victory over Spain, Hungary’s scoring was led by Norbert Madaras, Tamas Molnar and Peter Biros, who found the back of the net twice each. At times, the Hungary-Spain match was played in pounding rain that didn’t deter cheering, flag-waving fans in the stands at the noisy pool. Even the music was apt for the weather when «Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head» played. Hungary led 6-1 after two quarters. Spain rallied with two goals by Ricardo Perrone in the fourth to trail 7-4 with 3:21 remaining, but Hungary controlled play in the final minute. «We knew we could beat them, so we did our job,» Hungarian coach Denes Kemeny said. «As for our next opponent, we don’t really care. We respect them all, but we are afraid of nobody.» (AP, Kathimerini)

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