Italy stretched their winning streak to four matches at the European Water Polo Championships to reach the men’s quarter-finals in Belgrade, Serbia.
The bronze medallists at the 2014 edition of the tournament had cruised through the group stage, to set up a last-16 match against a Turkish team who had suffered three straight losses.
It came as no surprise to the crowd in the Kombank Arena that the tie was effectively over by half-time, as the Italians had built a 7-0 advantage.
Although Turkey were able to break their scoring duck in the remaining quarters they could do nothing to prevent a heavy defeat, with Valentino Gallo, Christian Presciutti and Matteo Aicardi netting hat-tricks in a 16-2 Italian win.
The result means the Italians will meet the 2012 silver medallists Montenegro in the quarter-finals.
Progression to the last eight was also secured by Hungary, runners-up in 2014, as they unsurprisingly defeated Georgia 14-3 to set up an encounter with Olympic champions Croatia.
Russia secured a narrow 9-6 victory over Germany in one of the closer matches of the day, with the result seeing them advance to face the hosts Serbia, who have won the last two editions of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Greece overcame Romania 15-9 to book a quarter-final date with Spain.
In the women’s competition, defending champions Spain continued their impressive defence of their title by recording their fourth straight win in Group B, overcoming Germany 26-3.
They lead the group on goal difference ahead of the final round of fixtures before the knock-out phase, after Italy maintained their perfect record by beating the host nation 19-3.
Both teams will now vie for top sport and an easier quarter-final, theoretically, when they meet on Tuesday (January 19).
A 14-3 victory over Croatia leaves France poised to claim one of the final two places in the knock-out phase, having recorded two wins and two defeats.
They will be guaranteed of progression should they avoid defeat in their final match against Serbia, who are currently lying outside the qualification spots on goal difference to Germany.
With Germany facing winless Croatia in their final match, it looks likely that Serbia will need to defeat France to stand any chance of reaching the quarter-finals.