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Hungary, Greece in Men’s Water Polo Semis

August 1, 2005

MONTREAL (AP) _ Defending Olympic and world champion Hungary defeated Spain 8-4 in the quarterfinals of men’s water polo Tuesday night at the World Swimming Championships.

Norbert Madaras, Tamas Molnar and Peter Biros scored two goals each for the Hungarians, who advanced to Thursday’s semifinals against Greece, a 13-9 winner over Italy.

Ricardo Perrone had two goals for Spain.

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. The music even fit the weather when ``Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head″ played.

Hungary led 6-1 after two quarters. Spain rallied with two goals by Perrone in the fourth to trail 7-4 with 3:21 remaining, but Hungary controlled play in the final minute.

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.

They 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 3-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.

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.

``How much goals I scored isn’t important for me, it’s the results of the team that counts,″ Sapic said. ``We need to play better if we want to get the gold medal. The next match against Croatia will probably be decided in the last five minutes of the game.″

Sapic put the Serbians ahead for good at 4-3 when he scored with a man advantage early in the second quarter. The Romanians hung around, pulling to 9-8 on a goal by Edward Andrei Dina with 56 seconds remaining.

But Sapic sealed the match on a penalty shot with six seconds to go.

Russia jumped ahead 2-0 in its quarterfinal, but Croatia rebounded with four straight goals in the final 4:39 of the second quarter. Nikola Frankovic scored the first two in the spurt, and captain Teo Dogas followed with the first of his two goals.

``It’s exciting having the fans in the stands cheering for us. They didn’t stop,″ Dogas said.

Overall, the Croatians scored four times with a man advantage.

Andrei Dina led Romania with four goals.

The United States can finish no better than 11th after a 5-3 loss to Germany. The Americans will face Cuba in the 11th-place game Thursday.

The Cubans were routed 16-3 by Australia.

The Aussies will play Germany in the ninth-place game.

Also, Canada claimed 13th place with a 10-8 victory over Japan, while South Africa earned its first victory of the tournament, defeating winless China 7-6 in the 15th-place game.

The U.S. squad built a 3-1 lead over Germany in the second quarter, but couldn’t hold it. Heiko Nossek scored the last three goals for the winners, including the tiebreaker with 2:14 left in the third quarter.

``We said to ourselves that we didn’t want to lose that match to the USA,″ Steffen Dierolf said. ``We got lucky on shots at the end and so it was our game to win.″

The Americans won’t fare as well as they did at the Athens Olympics (seventh) or the 2003 world championships (sixth).

``We lost some momentum and never really got it back,″ U.S. coach Guy Baker said. ``We have a major rebuilding project ahead of us.″

Trent Franklin scored five goals and Pietro Figlioli added four in Australia’s victory against the overmatched Cubans.

Kevin Mitchell and Iain Lark scored three goals apiece for Canada. Daniel Stein broke an 8-all tie with 2:52 remaining.

South Africa was led by Simon Daley and Ryan Bell with two goals apiece.

Russia, Romania, Spain and Italy dropped into a group that will play for fifth through eighth places.

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