After the victory (8-12), David Martn’s men will face the winner of Italy – Serbia on Friday (12:50 pm).
The palm of the right hand of Daniel Lopez Pinedo He again took out several American guns that were going to clean the squad. The stops of the veteran of the Spanish water polo were key to stop the lashes of the United States. When the arms of this 1.90 meter goalkeeper did not reach, it was the luck of the stick that deflected the ball.
From the bench of Spain the youngest of the group celebrated each stop of his partner, Unai Aguirre (19 years old), the other goalkeeper who, in the last game against Croatia, had taken the witness of a myth under the sticks of 41 years.
Aguirre was born three years after the last semifinal that the Spanish handball team played in the Olympic Games. That happened in Sydney 2,000. But the coach David Martn bet this time for the veteran Lpez Pinedo in the most important match. He was not mistaken.
It was the sixth match at the Tatsumi Aquatic Center. The Spanish team arrived with full victories at the quarter-final match against the United States. David Martn’s team had beaten great teams like Serbia, Montenegro or Croatia without any problems. Now it was time to follow the path of their female teammates who are already in the semifinals.
The numbers gave Spain as favorites: 60% shooting effectiveness, 61 goals for and 31 against. His rival had lost the last three group stage matches.
The Americans were no longer that award-winning team of the past that won six Olympic medals. A team with known names of players who compete in European leagues arrived at the Tokyo pool, but who in previous games showed that they could not connect together.
The match started with the first sprint won and with a goal from the captain, Felipe Perrone (35 years old). It looked like it was going to be another comfortable match for Spain. Good closing in defense and quick withdrawal in attack. But the US pressed and took advantage of a couple of imbalances in defense of the Spanish team. I managed to finish the first quarter tying with two goals in a row.
The second and third quarters were a back and forth match. Spain failed in attack and failed to extend an advantage of more than one goal. But the stops of a giant Lpez Pinedo stopped the Americans. The Spanish team put one more march in the last quarter and swept the USA. The bottom line: 8-12.
The men’s water polo team, current runners-up in Europe and the world, will return to the Olympic semi-finals, getting into the fight for medals after the failures of Ro 2016 and London 2012.
The great game that has displayed the selection as one of the clear favorites to win a gold that has resisted since that legendary team led by Manel Estiarte I did it in Atlanta 1996.