Tokyo 2020 Women’s Water Polo: Hungary Loss Makes USA Group B Top Finisher

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

In the final group play matches in Tokyo, Hungary had an opportunity to come out on top of Group B, but a loss to China hands the USA sole ownership of the #1 spot.

Group A:

Spain had already secured the #1 spot in Group A, but Australia had a shot to tie the Spanish team in records. The Australians made good on the opportunity, recording a huge 14-1 win over South Africa, who were reeling from their 33-1 loss to the Netherlands two days prior. With the loss, RSA officially finished last in the group with a 0-4 record.

The match actually started out as a tight battle, with Australia scoring only 1 goal to lead South Africa 1-0 at the end of the 1st quarter. The momentum quickly shifted, however, as Australia outscored RSA 6-0 in the 2nd quarter, to lead 7-1 at half. In such a deficit, South Africa needed to come out swinging in the 2nd half, but they fell flat again, with Australia recording 4 more goals to their 0 goals in the 3rd quarter. The match was all but over at that point, and Australia scored another 3 unanswered goals in the 4th quarter.

Australia was actually fairly sloppy on offense given the lopsidedness off the final score. The Aussies only shot 37% on the match, but their defense swarmed South Africa. Unable to make anything happen against the Aussie defense, RSA only recorded 12 shots during the match, the lowest of any match at these Olympics.

In the other Group A match, Netherlands recorded their 3rd-straight victory with a 16-12 win over Canada. Fresh off a 33-1 blowout of South Africa, the Dutch team was in for a battle with the Canadians off the bat. Tied 4-4 after Q1, The Netherlands pulled their starting goalkeeper, Debby Willemsz, in favor of Joanna Koenders. Netherlands led 8-7 at half, and was able to extend that lead to 11-9 at the end of Q3.

Netherlands was greatly boosted by bench players Nomi Stomphorst and Vivian Sevenich each coming in and making the best use out of their play time. Both players took 1 shot and made it. Simone van de Kraats was also electric for her team, scoring 6 goals on 7 shots.

 

Group B:

Going into the match with a 2-0-1 record, a win would have put Hungary at the top of Group B. However, China swarmed Hungary early on in the match, jumping out to a 4-1 lead in Q1, and led at half 7-2. Hungary had dug themselves into a pretty big hole, and although they outscored China 7-4 in the 2nd half, it wasn’t enough, and China won the match 11-9.

Hungary was sluggish on offense, shooting just 26%. Those numbers are hard to overcome in any case, but China’s much higher 42% shooting was just too steep a hill to climb.

Russia beat Japan in the other Group B match 20-16. The Russians moved to 3rd in the group with a 2-1-1 record, while Japan fell to 5th (0-4). Russia led by 4 points at halftime, and held that lead through the end of the match.

The Russian team was humming on offense, shooting 59% efficiency, while Japan took more shots, and only had 42% efficiency. The Japanese goalkeepers had a tough match, saving only 5 of the 25 shots that came their way.

 

With the conclusion of the group play, next up are the quarterfinals matches.

  • Match 1: USA vs Canada
  • Match 2: Spain vs China
  • Match 3: Netherlands vs Hungary
  • Match 4: Australia vs Russia

 

August 1 Matches (Final):

 

Group A (Final Standings):

Group B (Final Standings):

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