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Russia 6, Netherlands 3

September 20, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ It was a big victory for Russia, but maybe a bigger defeat for Canada.

Sofia Konoukh’s four goals lifted the Russians into the Olympic women’s water polo medals round with a 6-3 win over the Netherlands on Wednesday.

That moved Russia (2-2-1) past Canada for the last spot in the four-team semifinals at the Sydney Games.

The Netherlands (3-2-0) will face the United States in the medals round that starts Friday. Australia, at 4-1-0 the top qualifier in the round robin, will meet Russia.

Konoukh started things early for Russia in its last chance to qualify with a goal 47 seconds into the game. Her third goal, a powerful skip shot, tied the game at 3 in the third quarter.

Ekaterina Vassilieva put Russia up for good two minutes later. Konoukh’s final score came with 21 seconds left and put the game out of reach.

The Russians kissed and hugged when the horn sounded as their few rows of fans and family waved the white, blue and red flag.

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