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Sharks fall to Spain, set up quarter final with USA

15 June 2012

The Australian men’s water polo team has suffered a second loss against London Olympic opponents in as many days, going down 8-7 at the hands of Spain in their final preliminary stage game at the FINA World League Super Finals in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The loss means the Australians will finish the tournament’s preliminary stage in third place in their group following the pair of losses to group winner Croatia and Spain, alongside the yesterday’s strong victory over Brazil. 

They will now face the USA in their quarter final tomorrow at 6.10pm AEST in a rematch of the gold medal game at the Pan Pacs in Melbourne this January that was won 11-10 in extra time by the Americans.

Following slow starts in their previous two games the Aussie Sharks got away much better against Spain, jumping out to a 2-0 lead by quarter time and maintaining a two goal advantage at the half, up 4-2. 

Spain then threw everything at Australia in the third period, scoring four unanswered goals to lead 6-4 heading into the final term. A last quarter double to Thomas Whalan and another to Richie Campbell gave the Sharks some hope but in the end they could only get within one strike of victory.

According to dual Olympian and Sharks captain Sam McGregor, the biggest issue for the Australians, along with the lacklustre third quarter, was their extra man attack that failed to net a single goal.

“It is always going to be difficult to win when you score none from five in extra man attack,” McGregor said.

“We also fell into the trap of becoming static in our six on six attack for a quarter and that proved costly. We were scoreless for an entire quarter.”

Despite the loss there was a positive sign for the Sharks with triple Olympian Gavin Woods returning to the pool for the first time since suffering a facial laceration in a training accident at the team’s camp in Bangkok last week.

Read injured Sharks star Rhys Howden's latest blog from Kazakhstan>>>

Australian Water Polo Inc.

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