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Australia beats Hungary 12-11 in bronze shootout

Australia beats Hungary 12-11 in bronze shootout

Australia's water polo team scored with eight seconds left to send the Olympic bronze medal water polo match against Hungary into overtime, then used the momentum to rally for a 12-11 victory in a shootout.
It was a hard-won medal for the team that finished fourth in Athens and was determined not to do so again.
"Obviously we were all down after the American game," said coach Greg McFadden, who tried to psyche the Australians by predicting a semifinal victory over the Americans. Instead, the U.S. pulled out a 9-8 win that nearly shattered Australia's confidence.
So McFadden called on former gold medal-winning hockey player Danielle Roche, who met the team and showed off her medal from Australia's unbeaten Hockeyroos at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
"Everyone's questioning their ability ... but you have to get over it," McFadden said. "So Dani Roche, she had a talk with the girls and showed them a medal and talked to them about `You've got to get yourself back up and fight for it.' We're putting in too much work to just go away empty-handed."
McFadden scrawled "We can't be beaten" on his left hand before sending the team into the match.
The Aussies opened the game with two quick goals, then seemed unable to stop Hungary, which fought back with five unanswered scores. The Hungarians carried their lead into the closing seconds, but a double exclusion gave Australia a 6-on-4 advantage and Rebecca Rippon scored to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, the Aussies were determined not to lose. They'd won the gold medal in 2000 in Sydney, but finished fourth in Athens.
"There's a bunch of us who played in Athens in this same game and we didn't come away with a medal," said Melissa Rippon. "I think that was on our minds: Knowing we were in the same position and we definitely didn't want it to happen again."
The game went to a shootout, where goalkeeper Emma Knox blocked Rita Dravucz's final shot to secure the Australian win. McFadden celebrated by diving into the pool.
"I know her quite well, and I thought back to where she likes to shoot," Knox said of Dravucz. "When she was going to shoot, I just kept saying `Keep it down low, keep it down low, just don't get sucked in.' And I did that."
Hungarian coach Gabor Godova said it was a difficult way to lose a medal.
"I'm not disappointed, just sad," he said. "The penalty shootouts are just like Russian roulette. I was also not happy with the referees, but I am very proud of my team."
Dravucz cried after missing her final shot.
"This match was not good," she said. "We lost a bronze medal chance."


Updated : 2021-05-15 01:04 GMT+08:00