Croatia is the new water polo world champion, for the second time in their history. The Croats defeated Hungary (8-6) in the finals of the 2017 FINA World Championship. Their first world gold they won in Melbourne 2007.
Serbia took the bronze medal. Despite the loss in the semifinals, the Serbs had a lot of motives in the match for the third place, against Greece.
The best players by Organizing Committee-
MVP of the bronze game: Andrea Prlainovic (Serbia)
MVP of the final: Sandro Sukno (Croatia)
Top goal scorer: Ioannis Fountoulis (Greece) 23 goals
Best goalkeeper: Viktor Nagy (Hungary).
Media jury elected the MVP team and the MVP player-
Media All Star Team: Goalkeeper: Viktor Nagy (HUN). Centre forward Luka Loncar (CRO). Field players: Francesco di Fulvio (ITA), Ioannis Fountoulis (GRE), Andrija Prlainovic (SRB), Sandro Sukno (CRO), Marton Vamos (HUN).
Most Valuable Player: Marton Vamos (HUN).
Best Goalkeeper: Viktor Nagy (HUN).
Flying start decided the finals
The Croats ruled the field in the first eight minutes of the final game, in front of 8.000 spectators. They led 4-0 after the first quarter. Hungary couldn’t find good solutions against Croatia’s superb defense. On the other side, Luka Loncar, Croatian centre-forward, did a great job in the attack, he was most deserved for a big lead of his team. He scored one goal, but the Hungarian defense had a lot of troubles finding a way to stop Loncar. Because of that Croats made several excellent chances.Besides Loncar scorers in the first period were Jokovic, Macan and Sukno.
Hungary consolidated its defense after the first rest and played easier in front of the Croatian goal. Torok and Vamos reduced the gap till the half-time (2-4).
Erdely hit for 3-4 at the start of the third period. Hungary took the control of the game and Manhercz equalized (4-4), three minutes before the end of the quarter. But, just after that, Garcia hit the target for a new advantage of the team of Croatia (5-4). It was the first goal of the Croatian team after almost 15 minutes. Garcia added one more goal in the next attack and before the last period on the scoreboard was written: Croatia 6, Hungary 4.
Loncar, Sukno and company jumped to a new three-goal lead (7-4; 4.57 on the clock). Hungary came close once more 02:44 by the end (6-7, Vamos). Sukno answered immediately (8-6). Everything was over 1:13 before the end. Vamos missed the goal in an attack with an extra player and ruined the last chance for a turn.
Top scorers of the game were Sukno and Vamos (3 goals each). Both goalkeepers must be mentioned. Marko Bijac was one of the heroes of the Croatia’s win with 10 saves (18 shots). Viktor Nagy had 63% (10 of 18).
Hungary (2013 world champion) didn’t win the gold, but the host can be satisfied, because they clinched a medal, after two world competitions without podium (6th in Kazan 2015 and 5th in Rio). Croatia celebrated the gold, after two silver medals in Kazan and in Rio.
Hungary – Croatia 6-8 (0-4, 2-0, 2-2, 2-2)
Hungary: Nagy (10 saves), Torok 1, Manhercz 1, Zalnaki, Vamos 3, Hosnyanszkz, Decker, Gor-Nagy , Erdelyi 1, Varga, Mezei, Harai, Decker. Coach: Marcz.
Croatia: Bijac (10 saves), Macan 1, Fatovic, Loncar 1, Jokovic 1, Buljubasic, Vukicevic, Buslje, Sukno 3, Krapic, Setka, Garcia 2, Marcelic. Coach: Tucak.
10th consecutive medal for Serbia
The Serbs didn’t defend the title, but they are leaving Budapest with a medal, their 10th in a row at major competitions (after 9 consecutive golds). Serbia beat Greece 11-8 in the match for the 3rd place. The Olympic champions dominated throughout the game. Serbia led 3-0 after only two minutes of the game. After a time-out, Ioannis Fountulis netted twice in a row, for 3-2 and the Greeks came back in the battle for the bronze, which they took in Kazan 2015. But, until the end of the encounter, they didn’t manage to equalize. Serbia water polo players led 5-3 after the first quarter.
The margin soon raised to four (7-3 and 8-4). Greece didn’t too bad, but Dejan Savic’s team controlled everything in the pool. Prlainovic scored for 11-7 at the start of the fourth period (07:23 before the end) and there was no way back for Greece. Serbia has big stars in the team, but this match showed – once more – that all players can be equally successful. Nine players of Serbia put their names on the list of scorers. On the other side, Fountulis netted three goals and he deserved the trophy for the best scorer of the tournament (23 goals in a total).
Montenegro again finished as 5th
Montenegro took the 5th place by defeating Italy 5-4 in a brilliant battle of the defenses. Goalkeepers showed outstanding performances. Milos Scepanovic (Montenegro) saved 11 shots (of 15, a rate 73%). In the Italian team, Goran Volarevic caught 8 balls (12 shots, 66,7% success), while Stefano Tempesti had 87,5% (7/8).
Montenegro players led from the start of the game and in the third period, they earned a two-goal lead (4-2 and 5-3). But, by the end of the third quarter Italy came close once more (5-4). There were no goals in the last eight minutes. Italy had few chances more than Montenegro, and the last attack 36 seconds before the end. But 18 seconds before the final buzzer the Italians lost the ball because of a turnover foul.
Only five players managed to score in this match. Drasko Brguljan (3 goals) and Dragan Draskovic (2) led Montenegro to the 5th place (which they won in Kazan 2015 too). Scorers for Italy (4th in Kazan) were Mirarchi 2, Iodice 1 and Bodegas 1.
Australia took the 7th place, one better than in Kazan 2015, and achieved the highest rank since the 1998 WCH in Perth (4th place). The “Aussie Sharks” beat Russia 10-7. For Russia 8th place isn’t a bad rank in comparison to the 2015 WCH (14th place). Australia had a 4-2 lead, but the Russians equalized soon (4-4 in the 2nd minute of the 2nd quarter). After 5-5, Australia netted 3 goals in a row and went 8-5 up in the middle of the third quarter. Elvis Fatovic’s squad kept the advantage and the victory in the remaining 12 minutes.
For the 3rd place
Greece-Serbia 8-11 (3-5, 1-2, 3-3, 1-1)
Greece: Fountoulis 3, Vlachopoulos 2, Genodounias 1, Delakas 1, Pontikeas 1.
Serbia: D. Pijetlovic 2, Randjelovic 2, Filipovic 1, Prlainovic 1, Aleksic 1, Cuk 1, Mandic 1, V. Rasovic 1, Ubovic 1.
For the 5th place
Montenegro-Italy 5-4 (1-1, 1-1, 3-2, 0-0)
Montenegro: Drasko Brguljan 3, Draskovic 2.
Italy: Mirarchi 2, Iodice 1, Bodegas 1.
For the 7th place
Russia-Australia 7-10 (3-4, 2-2, 1-3, 1-1)
Russia: Kholod 3, Merkulov 2, Lisunov 1, Dereviankin 1.
Australia: Edwards 2, Younger 2, Gilchrist 1, A. Ford 1, Hollis 1, Putt 1, Kayes 1, Power 1.
1st Croatia (1 Marko Bijac, 2 Marko Macan, 3 Loren Fatovic, 4 Luka Loncar, 5 Maro Jokovic, 6 Ivan Buljubasic, 7 Ante Vukicevic, 8 Andro Buslje, 9 Sandro Sukno, 10 Ivan Krapic, 11 Andelo Setka, 12 Javier Garcia Gadea, 13 Ivan Marcelic)
2nd Hungary (1 Viktor Nagy, 2 Bela Torok, 3 Krisztián Manhercz, 4 Gergo Zalanki, 5 Marton Vamos, 6 Norbert Hosnyanszky, 7 Adam Decker, 8 Miklós Gor-Nagy, 9 Balazs Erdelyi, 10 Denes Varga, 11 Tamas Mezei, 12 Balazs Harai, 13 Attila Decker)
3rd Serbia (1 Gojko Pijetlovic, 2 Dusan Mandic, 3 Viktor Rasovic, 4 Sava Randjelovic, 5 Milos Cuk, 6 Dusko Pijetlovic, 7 Nemanja Ubovic, 8 Milan Aleksic, 9 Nikola Jaksic, 10 Filip Filipovic, 11 Andrija Prlainovic, 12 Stefan Mitrovic, 13 Branislav Mitrovic)
16th South Africa
1973 Belgrade: Hungary
1975 Cali: Soviet Union
1978 West Berlin: Italy
1982 Guayaquil: Soviet Union
1986 Madrid: Yugoslavia
1991 Perth: Yugoslavia
1994 Rome: Italy
1998 Perth: Spain
2001 Fukuoka: Spain
2003 Barcelona: Hungary
2005 Montreal: Serbia and Montenegro
2007 Melbourne: Croatia
2009 Rome: Serbia
2011 Shanghai: Italy
2013 Barcelona: Hungary
2015 Kazan: Serbia
2017 Budapest: Croatia