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Greek water polo double victory March 27, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics.
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Men face Serbia and women meet European champs Russia for semifinal berths at Worlds

The Greek men’s water polo team reached the quarterfinals at the World Aquatic Championships in Melbourne following a narrow 8-7 win over Romania yesterday.

Greece will next face Serbia, the world champion in 2005 and European champion last year, in a quarterfinal tomorrow. In his post-match remarks, Greek player Antonis Vlontakis suggested that his team needed to overcome extremely unfair refereeing to snatch victory over the Romanians.

Playing a day earlier, the Greek women’s water polo team, a silver medalist at the Athens 2004 Olympics, made it through to the quarterfinals with a 9-5 win over New Zealand.

The Greek women’s team will now encounter Russia, the European champion, for a place in the semifinals. They meet today.

New Zealand offered little resistance to the Greek team. Coach Koulis Iosifidis took the opportunity to give playing time to his entire squad, including 17-year-old reserve goalkeeper Elena Kouvdou. The Greek girls established a 7-0 lead early in the third quarter of play before slackening and allowing New Zealand to narrow the deficit for the final 9-5 score.

“We controlled the game from the very beginning without problems. I gave playing time to the youngsters toward the end so they can get a feel for these games. They may be needed,” said Iosifidis. Commenting on his team’s prospects against Russia, the Greek team’s coach warned that it would be a testing encounter.

“They could well be the most in-form team. They apply lots of pressure, take risks and seek to spread panic to their opponents,” noted Iosifidis. “They don’t care about how many goals they will concede because they believe they can score more. If we don’t make the right choices, we will encounter lots of problems,” he added.

In swimming, Aristidis Grigoriadis, a gold medalist at the worlds two years ago in the 50-meter backstroke, failed to make the final in the discipline over 100 meters. His semifinal time of 55.12 seconds gave him no better than 11th place, overall, following the semifinals. Grigoriadis went into his semifinal heat with the fifth-fastest time, 54.95 seconds, in the previous round.

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