Fencing: Classy Italians overwhelm trio

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The Independent Online

Britain's women were crushed 42-14 in double-quick time by strong title favourites Italy in the quarter-finals of the fencing event.

Natalia Sheppard, Sophie Troiano and Anna Bentley had beaten Egypt 45-34 to set up the meeting with the three medallists in the individual competition.

The gulf in class was obvious from the start, Elisa Di Francisca, Arianna Errigo and Valentina Vezzali – gold, silver and bronze respectively last Saturday – cruising through.

Although the Italians were overwhelming favourites for the match, Britain had held them to 39-34 in the last eight of the European Championships in Sheffield last year and so the margin was another disappointment for a 10-strong home squad which failed to get anybody into the last 16 of any of the individual competitions.

The one remaining chance for a medal is the men's foil team of Richard Kruse, James Davis and Husayn Rosowsky, but they all suffered first-round defeats on Tuesday – and they also have to play the top-seeded Italians if they beat Egypt first on Sunday.