More agony for battling Brits

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7th August 2012

The British women’s water polo team suffered their third narrow defeat in five games as they lost to Russia in their 5-8 classification playoff at London 2012.

Having lost by a single goal to the Russians in the group stage and by two to Spain in the quarter finals, the Brits were again denied their first ever Olympic victory as they went down 11-9.

It was similar to the one we played with Russia on the opening day and we had the chances in the last minutes again.

Unlike their previous matches in London, the British women were ahead at half-time.

But after Russia took the lead in the third quarter, the Brits couldn’t reclaim the initiative and will now face Italy for seventh place in their final match of their Olympic debut on Thursday.

And Team GB head coach Szilveszter Fekete admitted it was frustrating to have lost to the Russians in the same manner in their opening game in London.

"It was similar to the one we played with Russia on the opening day and we had the chances in the last minutes again," said Fekete.

"We lost this one earlier when we missed a couple of great opportunities, but we could not finish man-ups from two metres.

"In 2007 we lost our first international match to the Netherlands 21-1. We have come a long way since then, especially when you see we have played a close match with a strong opponent such as Russia."

Rosie Morris, who enjoyed another fine evening in goal for the Brits, added: "Our aim at the start of the tournament was to win a game or two.

"We've shown that we're not just a wildcard, we're up there with the top teams, and if we play well we can win."

Angie Winstanley-Smith gave GB the perfect start with their opening goal on the man-up, having won the exclusion herself through her battling in centre forward.

Russia were quick to equalise but Winstanley-Smith earned a penalty shortly after, which Frankie Snell converted with minimum fuss.

And while Russia equalised and took the lead for the first time, Chloe Wilcox fired home into the corner to restore parity at 3-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Russia pulled a goal clear again in the second quarter but GB took control with second strikes from Snell and Wilcox handing the Brits a 5-4 lead at half-time.

We've shown that we're not just a wildcard - we're up there with the top teams.

Snell completed her hat-trick in the third quarter and Hazel Musgrove also got in on the action with a goal but both British efforts were cancelled out by Russian equalisers.

To rub salt in to the wound, an outside shot saw the Russians take an 8-7 lead with 20 seconds left in the quarter.

Russia extended a two goal lead early in the final quarter and while Winstanley-Smith pulled one back, the Russians responded immediately to pull another goal clear.

Wilcox completed her hat-trick after Winstanley-Smith earned a man-up with three and a half minutes to go.

But as the Brits piled on the pressure for an equaliser, the Russians put the final nail in the coffin, scoring another unstoppable outside shot to secure the match and their spot in the fifth-place playoff against China.

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