Hungary pushed the U.S. men's water polo team farther down the Group A standings with an 11-8 win on Saturday.
The Americans traded goals with the traditional powerhouse in the first half and led 4-3 with 1:44 left before halftime on a goal by Ben Hallock. Hungary answered with two goals in the next 70 seconds for a 5-4 halftime lead, then scored the only three goals of the third quarter to take firm control.
With 3:08 to play, the U.S. pulled within two goals and had a shot to cut the lead to one, but Hungary defended well and restored the lead to three. Alex Bowen scored with 32 seconds left to cut the lead to 10-8, but Hungary kept the ball and scored a garbage-time goal with one second left for the final margin.
The U.S. (2-2) is still virtually assured of a quarterfinal berth with one game to go in group play but would need other results to fall their way to move higher than fourth.
Spain cements Group B lead
SPAIN 16, AUSTRALIA 5 (STATS)
Spain remained unbeaten through four games, gaining a 2-1 lead thanks to a first-quarter goal by Blai Mallarach and never looking back. Australia fell to 1-3.
MONTENEGRO 19, KAZAKHSTAN 12 (STATS)
Eight players from Montenegro contributed goals, including four each from Drasko Brguljan, Miroslav Perkovic and Alexsandr Ivovic, as Montenegro evened its record at 2-2 and enhanced its shot at a quarterfinal berth.
CROATIA 14, SERBIA 12 (STATS)
The Balkan rivalry game went to Croatia, which used a 6-1 run on either side of halftime to turn an 8-8 score into a 14-9 lead. Luka Bucic had three goals in the pivotal run. Paulo Orbradovic and Maro Jokovic each scored four times. Serbia pulled within two goals with 1:11 left but couldn't get a shot away after that. Croatia moved to 3-1 ahead of a group-stage finale against Spain. Serbia next faces Montenegro, with both teams coming in with a 2-2 record and a share of third place.
Group A rivals eye shot to pull away from U.S.
ITALY 16, JAPAN 8 (STATS)
Pietro Figlioli and Michael Bodegas each scored three goals as unbeaten Italy took over first place in Group A with a 3-0-1 record. Italy outscored the hosts 5-0 in the first quarter and never relented against a Japanese team that is winless but has made things difficult for other teams in the group.
GREECE 28, SOUTH AFRICA 5 (STATS)
South Africa had its best offensive output of the competition. Greece, which moved into a tie with Italy atop the group, will finish pool play against the United States.