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Spain tops Croatia 7-5 for gold

Finally, Manuel Estiarte is an Olympic champion.

The 35-year-old Spaniard, playing in his fifth Games, scored three goals Sunday in a 7-5 victory over Croatia, giving Spain its first Olympic water polo gold medal.

"This is the greatest moment of emotion in my life," Estiarte said after receiving the gold medal from fellow Spaniard Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the International Olympic Committee.

Spanish players and coach Juan Jane, who dived into the pool, celebrated wildly. Spain won the silver medal in Barcelona four years ago, losing to Italy in a dramatic overtime final.

"Not a night has passed since then that I don't remember that final," Estiarte said.

Croatia is competing in the Olympics for the first time as an independent nation. Two of its players, captain Perica Bukic and Dubravko Simenc, won gold when they played for Yugoslavia.

Italy won the bronze Sunday by beating Hungary 20-18 in overtime. The Italians would have won in regulation, but some players jumped into the pool in celebration when there were still two seconds remaining.

Hungary was awarded a penalty shot and converted, forcing the overtime. Amedeo Pomilio scored three of his four goals in overtime to clinch the victory.

The United States scored five goals in the second period to open a comfortable lead and won 12-8 over Yugoslavia for seventh place.

Chris Oeding of Newport Beach, Calif., scored three goals for the United States (5-3).

The United States got goals from five players, including Oeding, in the second period. Oeding also scored in the first and fourth.

Russia took fifth place by beating Greece 10-8.

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