United States won a third women's Olympic water polo title in a row ©Getty Images

United States won the Olympic women's water polo title for the third time in a row after they thrashed Spain 14-5 in the Tokyo 2020 final.

The Americans eased past the European champions with a fantastic performance in both attack and defence at Tatsumi Water Polo Centre.

Madeline Musselman scored three times and at the other end Ashleigh Johnson was superb in goal, making a number of big saves at the key moments.

Only the US, the reigning world champions, have won multiple Olympic titles in women's water polo.

Their players celebrated by throwing head coach Adam Krikorian into the pool as they became only the third side - men's or women's - to win three water polo golds in a row.

The Hungarian men's team did so between 2000 and 2008 after Britain's men achieved the feat between 1908 and 1920.

"One thing that our team have been really focused on, not only in this Olympics but through this quad-plus year of this journey, is to enjoy the moment as much as possible," said US captain Maggie Steffens.

"I think with the pandemic, the postponement, so many challenges, so much adversity, individually and as a group, we kept coming out of those stronger and always stronger together. 

"Today, I think that was just a show of who we are as a team. 

"That no matter the adversity that is thrown our way, we stick together as a team, and we rise up and we thrive in those moments. 

"It was really amazing to see the balance and the full team effort.

"You could see it from every single player on our team. 

Ashleigh Johnson was superb in the American goal as Spain were brushed aside ©Getty Images
Ashleigh Johnson was superb in the American goal as Spain were brushed aside ©Getty Images

"It's about the unit that you build, the unit you create and that's really where the magic lies. 

"I'm really grateful to be a part of it and to have been able to show the world that magic we've created as a circle and as a unit."

The Americans lost a game to Hungary in the group phase but went undefeated for the rest of the tournament.

"There's been a lot of talk about our success and our adversity, but the world has gone through a hell of a lot over the last 17 months," said Krikorian.

"There have been many people who have suffered, so I don't want to diminish that, but what every single one of these Olympic athletes, coaches and staff members have been through to get to this point is a gold medal in itself. 

"Just to get to this point has taken a lot, and I'm saying this now and I'm about ready to break down because it's been hard. 

"Yes, we won a gold medal but every single person that has been here has been through a heck of a lot and I hope the rest of the world is watching as there are so many good examples here."

Earlier in the day, Hungary won bronze after beating ROC 11-9.