07/29/2012 10:26 EDT | Updated 09/28/2012 05:12 EDT

Italy slips past Australia 8-5 in men's water polo at London Olympics

LONDON - World champion Italy beat Australia 8-5 in the teams' opening water polo match at the London Olympics.

The Italians grabbed a quick 5-1 lead in the first half Sunday with goals from five different players.

Australia tightened its defence and clawed back to within two goals by the end of the third quarter, but a talented Italy proved too much in the end.

Italy joins Croatia and Spain atop Group A, while Australia falls to the bottom of the group with Kazakhstan and Greece.