FINA Men’s Water Polo World League Intercontinental Tournament started on Tuesday, April 25, in Australia. Six participating national teams – Australia, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand and the USA – are aiming to qualify for the FINA World League Super Final. They will face each other in the upcoming days, and the final ranking will be determined on the last day of the Tournament, April 30.
Men’s national water polo teams of Australia, USA and Kazakhstan came out as winners of the opening matches.
AUSTRALIA’S POWERFUL VICTORY
The first game of the Intercontinental Tournament saw the host Australia crush New Zealand, 18-3. Aussie Sharks were totally dominant during the whole match allowing their rival to score only one goal in each quarter, except in the second one in which New Zealand was left scoreless. Jarrod Gilchrist led the Sharks with four goals.
Australia water polo players achieved a three-goal advantage in the first quarter (4-1), and increased it to six by halftime (7-1). New Zealand was not able to overcome this deficit, as the hosts did not take their foot off the gas. Australia netted four more in the third period for even more insurmountable lead (11-2). The final quarter was marked by the absolute dominance of the Aussie Sharks who scored seven goals.
On April 26, Australia will face Japan.
USA PREVAILS OVER JAPAN IN LAST QUARTER
After and exciting match between Japan and the USA water polo team, Dejan Udovicic’s squad clinched an important victory. The fact that the result was tied eight minutes before the end proves that the teams were pretty much equivalent. However, the USA water polo team stepped up their game in the final period to celebrate at the end, 10-8. The game’s top scorer with four goals was Johnathan Hooper, Cal sophomore who debuted on Tuesday.
The first quarter was more successful for the USA that had a two-goal lead after eight minutes of play in their first game since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Japan did not surrender, and they overcame the deficit by the end of the first half, which eventually ended in a draw (5-5). Japan even had an 8-6 lead in the third period, but the USA water polo players proved to be tough rivals and equalized the result (8-8). Final quarter determined the winner after the USA squad netted two unanswered goals.
USA Team will play their second match against Kazakhstan.
NARROW WIN OF KAZAKHSTAN
The last match of the Day One was a close contest between China and Kazakhstan water polo teams. Although Kazakhstan was in the lead three times, China managed to come back every time. Finally, the fourth quarter was crucial for Kazakhstan’s success contributed to by only three water polo players – Medvedev and Shakenov with three, as well as Aubakirov with one goal.
China’s next rival will be New Zealand.
FINA Men’s Water Polo World League Intercontinental Tournament
Day 1 Results (April 25)
Australia – New Zealand 18-3 (4-1, 3-0, 4-1, 7-1)
Australia scorers: Luke Pavillard (2), Tim Putt (1), Joe Kayes (2), Nathan Power (2), Andrew Ford (3), Jarrod Gilchrist (4), Rhys Holden (1), James Fannon (1), Lachlan Hollis (1)
New Zealand scorers: Matthew Lewis (1), Ryan Pike (1), Sean Newcombe (1)
Japan – USA 8-10 (2-4, 3-1, 3-3, 0-2)
Japan scorers: Seiya Adachi (2), Mitsuaki Shiga (3), Takuma Yoshida (1), Atsushi Arai (1), Keigo Okawa (1)
USA scorers: Alexander Obert (3), Johnathan Hooper (4), Maxwell Irving (1), Ashworth Malthen (1), Alex Roelse (1)
China – Kazakhstan 6-7 (2-2, 1-1, 1-1, 2-3)
China scorers: Cheng Hao Chu (1), Jia Hao Peng (1), Zhong Xian Chen (2), Wen Hui Lu (1), Yu Liu (1)
Kazakhstan scorers: Yevgeniy Medvedev (3), Miras Aubakirov (1), Murat Shakenov (3)