On the last day of the FINA Men’s Water Polo World League Intercontinental Tournament, classification matches were played. Australia water polo players came out as winners of the gold medal game after defeating the USA. Japan triumphed over Kazakhstan to win bronze, whereas New Zealand faced China and finally recorded a victory to finish 5th.
AUSTRALIA WINS GOLD
Aussie Sharks came into the final game as favorites due to their win over the USA water polo team on the Day Four of the Tournament. For the same reason, Dejan Udovicic’s team couldn’t have been any less motivated for a payback.
Determined USA squad opened the match with two consecutive goals from Hooper and McConnell, but the hosting water polo team stroke back to make it 3-2 at the end of the first quarter. Pavillard netted one, and Cotterill two goals to take over the lead. The audience at Gold Coast saw a goal-by-goal game in the second quarter which ended in a draw. Aussie Sharks went on a break with a one-goal advantage (5-4).
Both teams stepped up their defense in the third quarter when Fannon and Roelse netted a goal each for their teams. The USA team still had their hopes high before the last period falling behind by one (6-5). The tough battle continued in the fourth when Kayes increased Australia’s lead to two. The USA did not surrender and managed to cut the deficit once again after Daube’s goal but was not able to do more. Pavillard scored his second to seal Australia’s victory. Aussie Sharks celebrated the gold medal in front of the domestic crowd.
The USA water polo team won silver. Johnathan Hooper was named the top scorer of the Tournament, and Alex Wolf was proclaimed the top goalkeeper.
BRONZE FOR JAPAN
Japan water polo players defeated their Asian opponent once again in the Tournament. They were struggling in the first half though because Kazakhstan had the lead before the break (1-2). In the third period, Japan overcame the difference and took over the lead, but then a result seesaw followed. Kazakhstan wouldn’t surrender easily but was falling behind by one before the last quarter (5-4). Japan water polo players stepped up their game and scored seven goals making it impossible for their rivals to reach (12-7).
NEW ZEALAND CELEBRATES 5TH PLACE
New Zealand team sure can be pleased with winning the 5th place after the triumph over China on April 30, having in mind the fact that they lost all five games in the preliminary play. None of the team’s water polo players scored more than one goal. The hero of the match was goalkeeper Sid Dymond who stopped many China’s goal attempts.
Small netted the opener for New Zealand, and his team kept the one-goal advantage until the halftime. China water polo squad came back in the third and equalized the result before the final period, but the Kiwis increased the lead to two in the fourth. China only managed to bring down the deficit to one, and eventually finished 6th.
FINA Men’s Water Polo World League Intercontinental Tournament
Day 5 Results (April 29)
Australia vs. USA 8-6 (3-2, 2-2, 1-1, 2-1)
Australia scorers: Luke Pavillard (2), Joe Kayes (2), John Cotterill (2), James Fannon (1), Nicholas Brooks (1)
USA scorers: Nolan McConnell (1), Hannes Daube (1), Matthew De Trane (1), Johnathan Hooper (2), Alex Roelse (1)
Japan vs. Kazakhstan 12-7 (0-2, 1-0, 4-2, 7-3)
Japan scorers: Seiya Adachi (2), Mitsuaki Shiga (1), Atsuto Iida (2), Yusuke Shimizu (2), Atsushi Arai (2), Kohei Inaba (1), Keigo Okawa (2)
Kazakhstan scorers: Yevgeniy Medvedev (2), Egor Berbelyuk (1), Roman Pilipenko (2), Alexey Shmider (1), Altay Altayev (1)
China vs. New Zealand 4-5 (0-1, 1-1, 2-1, 1-2)
China scorers: Xian Chen (1), Wen Hui Lu (1), Yi Min Chen (1), Yun Ji Wang (1)
New Zealand scorers: Matthew Lewis (1), Matthew Morris (1), Matthew Small (1), Anton Sunde (1), Matthew Bryant (1)
Photo: Catharyn Hayne / KLC fotos