The Hungarian's women team couldn't have found a more equally matched opponent than the Russian Olympic Committee for Sunday's water polo bronze medal match at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre.
Hungary and the ROC had been rivals since the start of the Tokyo Games. They were neck-and-neck in Group B pool play, each with two wins, one loss, and one draw a piece -- they had tied one another 10-10 in a preliminary match-up. The countries had advanced through the quarterfinals but fell to Spain and the United States, respectively, in their semifinals.
The bronze medal match further illustrated how the teams handled one another's strengths and attacked each other's weaknesses. The second quarter ended with Hungary up 7-5; the third saw the ROC winning 8-7.
It wasn't until the last eight minutes that Hungary finally took advantage. They upped their defense, zeroing in on any and every player who had an opportunity to score. On offense with just three-and-a-half minutes to go, the team passed around the ball until Anna Illes fired an effortless goal straight into the net. That was enough to secure a win -- but with four seconds to spare, goalie Alda Magyari scored one final, emphatic point from the other end of the pool to demonstrate Hungary's dominance.
And with that, the bronze medal. Final score: 11-9.
It was Hungary's first third-place finish following three straight fourth-place finishes in 2008, 2012, and 2016.
The gold medal match between Spain and the United States kicks off at 3:30 AM ET.