Bronwen Knox's penalty hits the post during the shootout.
Bronwen Knox's penalty hits the post during the shootout. Jamie Squire

RIO 2016: Stingers stung in quarter-final shootout

WATER POLO: It was a case of third time unlucky for the Australian women's team.

And it went down in the cruellest of ways.

The Stingers, chasing their third straight Olympic medal, lost to Hungary in a quarter-final penalty shootout yesterday.

They had led at each break but couldn't hold on in a tense fourth term with the score locked at 8-8 at the end of regular time.

Captain Bronwen Knox missed her penalty shot, handing the Europeans a 5-4 win in the shootout.

"I don't think it's the best ending for our sport,” said a distraught vice-captain Rowie Webster.

"You fight for four quarters and then it comes down to slotting a goal.

"The one player feels bad for letting the team down but that's not the case; it's a team sport.

"It could've been any one of us.

"The game was probably won and lost before that point.”

Australia beat Hungary in the bronze medal playoff at both the Beijing and London Games - in overtime in 2008 and a shootout four years ago.

"So it was about time they probably got one back on us,” said coach Greg McFadden.

"We had a good start but unfortunately we couldn't carry on with it.

"But I'm proud of the girls, they're a great bunch. They deserve a medal.”

Water polo is one of few sports to go straight to a shootout, instead of extra-time.

McFadden isn't a fan of the rule, which was introduced after the Beijing Olympics, labelling it a "lottery”.

It was a heartbreaking end for Australia after a mixed campaign.The Stingers smashed Russia and Brazil but went down to Italy by one goal in a nail-biting contest to finish second in their group.

"Consistency probably wasn't our closest friend this Olympic campaign,” Webster said.

"When we looked good, we're the best team in the competition.

"I'm super proud of the girls but unfortunately it's another four years till we get another opportunity to come play for a medal.

"We're never going to forget this feeling.”


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