Spain beats Italy for gold, defends its world title


FUKUOKA, Japan, AP

Ivan Perez and Gabriel Hernandez scored goals two minutes apart in the third period Sunday to give Spain a 4-2 win over Yugoslavia in the gold medal water polo match at the world swimming championships. Breaking a 2-2 tie, Perez scored with Spain enjoying a man advantage and Hernandez added the insurance goal — his third of the night — before the teams played to a scoreless final period. The win allowed Spain to successfully defend the title it won at Perth, Australia in 1998. Hernandez had given Spain a 1-0 in the first period, but Veljko Uskokovic leveled three minutes later. Hernandez scored his second goal with a minute left in the first period and Danilo Ikodinovic tied it for Yugoslavia with two minutes gone in the third. In the bronze medal game, Revaz Tchomakhidze scored the winning goal with 53 seconds remaining in the fourth period to lift Olympic silver medalist Russia to a 7-6 victory over Italy. Italy’s Bogdan Rath scored in the dying seconds to pull the Italians to within a goal but the European silver medalists couldn’t regain possession after Rath’s goal. “This was a very tough game for us,” said Russian coach Alexander Kabanov. “We have the silver and now the bronze and the only thing missing from our collection in the gold, hopefully we can get that at the World Cup.” Rath scored a pair of goals in the second period to give Italy a 4-3 lead at halftime. In consolation matches earlier Sunday, Hungary defeated Greece 8-4 for fifth place, the United States edged Croatia 10-9 for seventh place, the Netherlands downed Australia 8-3 for ninth and Slovakia defeated Kazakstan 12-6 for 11th place.