Russia relinquished its crown as it was bundled out of the quarterfinals on the fifth day of the XIV FINA World Women’s Junior Water Polo Championships in Netanya, Israel today.

Champion at the last two editions, Russia never recovered from the 3-0 second quarter deficit as Spain took that 6-2 halftime lead to a 10-5 victory.

Photography By Gilad Kavalerchik

Russia has been in the top four since 2009, so will take playing for 5-8 positions as a poor result. The match lacked the noise of the previous quarterfinal where a full spectator tribune greeted the host nation. Most disappeared immediately after that encounter. Spain won its only title in 2011, so will be looking to build on this victory heading into the semifinals.

Paula Camus and Olympian Elena Ruiz scored three each for Spain with Aleksandra Bogdanova sending in two for Russia.

In the first quarterfinal, Greece beat Serbia 18-5, turning at 9-3 and entering the final period 13-5. Greek captain Maria Myrakefalitaki top-scored again with five goals and Serbian captain Hristina Ilic sent in two.

In the second quarterfinal, Hungary came from four goals down twice in the second quarter to defeat Netherlands 13-12. Hungary equalised at 10-10 a minute from the final break and  took the lead for the first time a minute into the fourth. Netherlands levelled at 11 took the lead at 12, but Hungary hit back with a VAR decision and scored the winner at 4:20 with no more goals. Kamila Valentin was Hungary’s best with five goals. Netherlands had four players on two goals — Noa de Vries, Lola Moolhuijzen, Nikki Meijer and Nina ten Broek.

The third quarterfinal was played to a packed house as Italy beat Israel 15-9. Italy led 2-0 and Israel levelled, but it was all Italy after that, leading 4-2, 7-4 and 11-6 at the breaks. Sofia Giustini scored five for Italy and Maria Bogachenko (ISR) netted four.

In the round 9-12 classification semifinals, Brazil staged a remarkable comeback to level with France 14-14, forcing the shootout, which it won 5-4 for the 19-18 victory. Brazil was five goals down at one stage in the second quarter, trailed twice by four in the third quarter and was 14-12 behind until two minutes from time. The equaliser came in the last six seconds when Rebecca Moreira fired in her fourth goal from eight metres to the top right to set up the shootout. Brazil nailed all five shots and France’s last shooter, Juliette Dhalluin — who scored five earlier goals — missed for the Brazilian upset. France’s Ema Vernoux was heroic with a staggering nine goals while Brazilian captain Leticia Belorio netted seven.

The second match was just as exciting, with Argentina heading off Germany 7-6. Germany , who scored the opening goal, was then always dominated by Argentina, even though it levelled at  four and six with the latter four minutes from time. Argentina smashed in the winner on extra-man attack at 1:26. Jamie Haas scored three for Germany and Argentina’s Maylen Sampedro and Lucia Ruiz scored two each.

In classification matches, Uzbekistan beat South Africa 12-9 for 13th position and Slovakia defeated Peru 15-7 for 15th.

Uzbekistan was never headed, although South Africa managed to level at one and four, but trailed 9-5 at halftime and 10-8 at the final break, soon after having a penalty attempt blocked that could have made the match even more interesting. Madinabonu Shermatova (UZB) and Jordan Wedderburn scored four goals apiece. Shermatova claimed 15 for the week and Wedderburn 14. South Africa’s best finish was  10th in 1999 and Uzbekistan’s was 10th in 2011.

It was Slovakia’s second finish at 20 & Unders after claiming 14th in 2017.  Monika Sedlakova (SVK) fired in four goals to lead her team with 13 goals and Peru’s Rebeca Rodriguez scored five goals from a variety of positions for 12 of her team’s 23 goals in Netanya. Plucky Peru has never played this level before.

Day-six action is all about the medal semifinals, where Greece takes on Hungary and Italy faces Spain. The 5-8 semifinals precede the major semifinals with Serbia and Netherlands and Israel and Russia competing.

In classification matches, Brazil and Argentina will play an American derby for ninth position and France will clash with Germany for 11th.

Day 5 match results:
Classification 15-16: Slovakia 15 Peru 7 (5-0, 4-4, 2-1, 3-2).
Classification 13-14: South Africa 9 Uzbekistan 12 (3-4, 2-5, 3-1, 1-2).
Round 9-12 Semifinals: France 18 Brazil 19 in penalty shootout. FT: 14-14. Pens: 4-5 (7-4, 4-3, 1-2. Pens: 4-5), Germany 6 Argentina 7 (1-3, 3-1, 0-2, 2-1).
Round 1-8 Quarterfinals: Greece 18 Serbia 5 (6-1, 3-2, 4-2, 5-0), Netherlands 12 Hungary 13 (5-2, 4-5, 1-3, 2-3), Israel 9 Italy 15 (2-4, 2-3, 2-4, 3-4), Russia 5 Spain 10 (2-3, 0-3, 2-1, 1-3).

Friday programme:
Classification 11-12:
10:30, L33 France v L34 Germany
Classification 9-10:
12:00, W33 Brazil v W34 Argentina
Classification 5-8 Semifinals:
13:30, L35 Serbia v L36 Netherlands
16:00, L37  Israel v L38 Russia
Classification 1-4 Semifinals:
17:30, W35 Greece v W36 Hungary
19:00, W37 Italy v W38 Spain

Full results can be accessed at: and all matches are streamed on the FINA Youtube channel.