USA Crowned World Champions In Waterpolo

The United States were crowned women's water polo World Cup champions after a tense 6-3 defeat of Australia in the final at Christchurch. The US claimed their first world title since winning the opening event in 1979.

They led 6-0 at halftime but botched to score again as they held out a determined comeback from the defending champions to win the 15th edition of the World Cup. Both teams scraped into the final after one-goal wins in yesterday's semifinals. Australia pipped Russia 11-10 and the US scraped past Canada 10-9.

In other ranking matches, China won Russia 11-9 to snare the bronze medal while Canada beat Hungary 18-16 in a penalty shootout to finish fifth. The playoff for seventh place in the eight-team competition saw Greece outplay New Zealand 16-8.

It ended a winless week for New Zealand, who earned a rare request to play the world's elite as tournament hosts. Yesterday New Zealand lost their ranking match 11-4 to Hungary. New Zealand water polo chairman Rob Borgers said the experience was precious to the green national side.

"It has given our New Zealand team first-class competition. We are a comparatively young and inexperienced team compared with some of our competitors. But the players have erudite a lot from this about what it takes to be amongst the best in the world," Borgers said.

"As the New Zealand coach Eelco Uri has barbed out, he has longer term goals to get our New Zealand women ranked in the top eight in the world."

Because Australia finished in the top four and succeed for next year's world championships in Shanghai, New Zealand will contend there as the Oceania representatives. Bookmark and Share