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Croatia upends Italy, faces Spain for the gold

Having conquered defending champion Italy, Croatia will meet 1992 silver medalist Spain for the Olympic water polo championship.

Croatia upset the Italians 7-6 Saturday night, with Josko Krekovic scoring his fourth goal from a penalty shot 11 seconds before the end of the second overtime.

The Croats will play for the gold medal Sunday against Spain, which beat Hungary 7-6 Saturday. Italy and Hungary will go for the bronze.

The United States, meanwhile, lost 7-6 to Greece and can do no better than seventh place _ its worst finish since it was seventh in 1976. The Americans placed fourth in Barcelona in 1992 after silver-medal performances the previous two Olympics.

Croatia and Italy were tied 4-4 at the end of the regulation and had Krekovic missed his second penalty shot, the game would have gone into a third _ and sudden-death _ overtime.

The Americans' medal hopes vanished with Friday's 5-4 loss to Spain, and "it's harder to get your players motivated for the bronze medal or fifth place," U.S. coach Rich Corso said.

The United States rallied to go up 6-5 on Chris Oeding's goal with 4:34 to play, but Konstantinos Loudis scored twice within 90 seconds to put Greece ahead to stay.

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