Water Polo Roundup
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Croatia, a silver medalist four years ago, shook off its disappointing Olympics to defeat Australia 10-8 and take seventh at the Sydney Games on Sunday.
The Croatians (5-2-1) were undefeated in the round robin and looked as strong as any team here. But a quarterfinal loss to Spain rattled their confidence and got one of their top scorers, Dubravko Simenc, suspended for the next game.
And they could have used Simenc as they fell to the United States, 9-8 in overtime a day later.
But Mile Smodlaka and Alen Boskovic scored three goals each as Croatia (5-2-1) recovered in its final game.
The Australians, with a large home following in the 4,000-seat Ryde Aquatic Leisure Center, got as close as 9-8 on Craig Miller’s second straight goal with 1:20 to go.
But Vjekoslav Kobescak slipped a shot past goalie Rafael Sterk with 37.1 seconds left to sink Australia.
The Aussies (1-5-2) finished eighth. On their way out, they stopped on the pooldeck one last time and applauded the fans.
Hungary will face Russia for the gold medal later on the Olympics’ closing day. Spain, the defending champion, meets Yugoslavia for bronze.
Greece (1-5-2), automatically in the 2004 Games in Athens as the host nation, defeated Slovakia 12-8 for its first win in Sydney and finished 10th.
Kazakstan (3-3-2) scored three straight goals in the second half to beat the Netherlands 6-4 and finish ninth. Marco Booij tied the game at 3-3 and Yevgeniy Prokhin scored two minutes later as the Kazaks took the lead for good.
Kazakstan ended strongly with a tie and two wins.
The loss by the Netherlands (2-5-1) left it in 11th place at the 12-team tournament.
Greece’s Ioannis Thomakos had two of his six goals in the fourth quarter as his country broke away from a 7-7 tie.
Greece had lost its five preliminary games, but finished with two ties and a victory.
Slovakia, playing in its first Olympic tournament, went winless in eight games for its last-place finish. The Slovaks were outscored 91 to 52.