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Key dates: Aug. 5, quarterfinals, the start of the knockout round.
Venue: Water Polo Arena
Big story: Although the U.S. has medaled in all three previous Olympic tournaments for women, it has never won -- losing to Australia in the final two seconds in 2000 and to the Netherlands in the final 29 seconds in 2008. Attackers Brenda Villa and Heather Petri, both four-time Olympics, have played in every U.S. Olympic water polo match. And with both contemplating retirement after London, this is their last chance to go out as winners.
Others to watch: Australia won bronze in 2008, making it the only country other than the U.S. to medal more than once. Russia, Italy and a young Spanish team could also be competitive.
Top U.S. prospects: Goalie Betsey Armstrong, a two-time Olympian, is considered the best keeper in the world. Her two penalty-shot saves earned the U.S. a gold medal in last year's Pan Am Games. Maggie Steffens, a 19-year-old defender, is the youngest player on the U.S. team.
Little-known fact: Shortly before leaving for London the U.S. women traveled to Las Vegas were they tuned up for the Olympics by playing an exhibition against performers from the water-themed Cirque du Soleil show "O" at the Bellagio.