Spain defeated the host nation to maintain their winning start to their title defence ©Belgrade 2016

Italy and defending champions Spain have booked their places in the last eight of the women's European Water Polo Championships after recording their third straight wins in Belgrade’s Kombank Arena.

Having thrashed Croatia and France in their opening two matches, the Spanish team were hoping to continue their blistering form against the host nation Serbia in Group B.

Despite the support of their home crowd the Serbian team, who were looking to build on a morale boosting win over Croatia, found themselves outclassed as they reached half-time trailing the 2013 world champions 11-4.

Maica Garcia finished the match as the top scorer with four goals, with the majority of the Spanish team having found the net as they wrapped up a 21-6 victory.

Italy, the champions in 2012, were arguably more impressive than their Spanish rivals as they ensured that Croatia found themselves on the end of another demoralising defeat by racking up a winning margin of 31-2.

The battle for the remaining qualification places in the group began to heat up as France earned their first win of the tournament by overcoming Germany 12-3.

It leaves France, Germany and Serbia level in Group B on one victory and two defeats, with Italy and Spain top of the standings on three victories.

With the hosts due to meet France in their final round robin match, it means that Italy and Spain cannot drop out of the four qualifying places, therefore guaranteeing their quarter-final places with two matches to spare.

Hungary confimed their status at Group D winners by easily defeating Turkey
Hungary confirmed their status as Group D winners by easily defeating Turkey ©Belgrade 2016

Both of Italy’s teams have yet to lose a match so far in Belgrade, as their men’s squad recorded their third straight victory to confirm their status as Group C winners.

They emerged as 21-1 victors over Georgia, to condemn their opponents to finishing bottom of the standings.

In the battle for second position, Romania were able to edge Germany 14-13 to set up, in theory, an easier last-16 match.

They will meet Greece, after they fell to a narrow 9-8 defeat to Russia, with the result seeing them finish third in Group D.

The Greeks had only needed to avoid defeat to end as the runners-up in the group having recorded one win and a draw in their previous fixtures, but Russia's win saw them leapfrog their opponents to book a last-16 tie against Germany.

After beating Turkey 20-5, Hungary confirmed their status as the group winners to book a knock-out tie with Georgia.

Meanwhile, after three consecutive defeats, Turkey face the daunting prospect of taking on Italy.