Water Polo World Championship

Greece, Croatia and Hungary win in derby matches, Canada upsets Montenegro

Montenegro - Canada Photo: waterpolo.ca/facebook

The only surprise of the 1st round of the men’s water polo tournament at the 17th World Championships in Budapest was a draw in the match Canada – Montenegro. Greece beat Spain in a thrilling finish. Favourites won with ease in the rest of encounters, even in two derby games (Croatia – USA and Hungary – Australia).

Group A

Brazil and Kazakhstan were still sleepy when they jumped into the pool in the opening game of the men’s tournament. They scored just three goals in the first half (Kazakhstan had a 2-1 lead). Brazil woke up after the 5-minute rest. The Brazilians, led by Gustavo Guimares(4 goals), and goalkeeper Slobodan Soro (11 saves), scored five unanswered goals in the second half for the 6-2 victory.

The second encounter brought the first surprise. Canada and Montenegro split the points (8-8). Montenegro arrived in Budapest without seven players who competed at the 2016 Olympics (when Vladimir Gojkovic’s squad was 4th). The rejuvenated Montenegro team started pretty well. The favourites had a lead from the 21st second of the first period. They were 8-4 up in the last quarter (6:38 by the end). It seemed that they are on a good way to a victory. But in the last five and a half minutes Canada made a 4-0 series. Toraki scored with an extra man for 8-8 (0:21 on the clock). Montenegro players didn’t manage to shot on the goal in their last attack.

Tempesti’s comeback

Group B

Italy head coach Alessandro Campagna had to make two forced changes in his team three days before the championships. Goalkeeper Marco del Luongo and defender Alessandro Velloto caught a virus. Because of that, 38-years-old goalkeeper Stefano Tempesti returned to the Italian squad, despite he announced his retirement from the national team after the Olympic Games in Rio. Velloto was replaced by Christiano Mirachi.

“Settebello” convincingly beat France (18-7) despite the problems. The Italians were consolidating their defence in the first half, but they earned a two-goals lead after the 2nd period (8-6). They demolished the rivals in the third quarter (7-1), so before the last 8 minutes, it was clear who would win. During the almost whole match, the net of Italy was kept by Goran Volarevic (40 years old), Tempesti got a chance in the last four minutes, just to celebrate his return and “to feel the water”. He still isn’t 100% prepared, because he was on vacation when Campagna called him to come back. But, he hasn’t stopped to train this summer.

Hungary made a power demonstration in the match against Australia (13-3). After the balanced first period (1-1), the hosts dominated till the end. They were 7-3 up after the third quarter. In the last 8 minutes, they blew away Australia (6-0).

Important victory for Greece

Group C

Greece (3rd at the 2015 World Championships) achieved a very important victory over Spain (8-7). Match offered a thrilling finish, despite the Greeks led 7-4 just after the start of the last period (6:26 on the clock). Spain hit three times the target in a span of 2:59 minutes for 7-7 (3:27). Everything was decided 1:20 before the end when Georgios Dervisis scored the winner. The Spaniard had an extra man in the next attack, but they didn’t utilise the advantage.

The only question before the match between Serbia and South Africa was: how many goals will Serbia put into the South Africa’s net? At the end, the answer was 21. Title holders defeated the African team 21-5. Before the last period, Olympic, World, European champion, World Cup and World League winner had a 13-goals lead (18-5). In the remaining eight minutes the Serbs slowed down and let the South Africans show all they could.

Group D

Croatia and the USA played each other for the 6th time in the past few months. Their today’s encounter was also the replay of the match for the bronze medal in the 2017 World League when Croatia won 10-4. The outcome was same today. Croatia beat the USA 12-7. The silver medalists from the 2015 World Championships took the control from the start and they secured a victory at the end of the second and in the first minutes of the third quarter. Croatia, led by Loncar and Garcia (4 goals lead) gained an unattainable advantage 9-3 (5:42 before the last period).

The Day 1 was closed by the game Russia – Japan. There was no surprise. Russia earned a seven-goal lead in the third quarter (10-3 and 11-4) and kept the advantage till the final buzzer.

Scores and standings

Group A

Brazil-Kazakhstan 6-2 (1-1, 0-1, 3-0, 2-0)

Brazil: G. Guimaraes 4, Rocha 1, Silva 1.
Kazakhstan: Ukumanov 1, Turlykhanov 1.

Montenegro-Canada 8-8 (3-1, 2-2, 1-1, 2-4)
Montenegro: Petkovic 3, Draskovic 1, Radovic 1, Murisic 1,Da.Brguljan 1, Misic 1.
Canada: Constantin-Bicari 2, D’Souza 2, Torakis 2, Thomwood 1, Soleimanipak 1.

1. Brazil 1 – 2 points
2. Canada 1 – 1
3. Montenegro 1 – 1
4. Kazakhstan 1 – 0

Group B

France-Italy 9-18 (2-5, 3-3, 1-7, 2-3)
France: Crousillat 3, Marzouki 2, Dino 2, Simon 1, Kovacevic 1.
Italy: Di Fulvio 5, Iodice 2, Bodegas 2, Figlioli 2, Aicardi 2, Gitto 1, Nora 1, N. Presciutti 1, Fondelli 1, Bertoli 1.

Australia – Hungary 3-13 (1-1, 1-4, 1-2, 0-6)
Australia: Younger 1, Kayes 1, Edwards 1.
Hungary: De. Varga 4, Torok 2, Manhercz 2, Vamos 2, Mezei 1, Harai 1, Hosnyanszky.

1. Hungary 1 – 2
2. Italy 1 – 2
3. France 1 – 0
4. Australia 1 – 0

Group C

Spain–Greece 7–8 (1–3, 2–2, 1–1 , 3–2)
Spain: Mallarach 2, Granados 1, Del Toro 1, Tahull 1, Macarro 1, Gutierrez 1.
Greece: Fountulis 2, Vlachopoulos 2, Delakas 1, Gounas 1, Dervisis 1, Kapotsis 1.

Serbia-Republic of South Africa 21-5 (6-1, 7-1, 5-1, 3-2)
Serbia: Prlainovic 3, Aleksic 3,Jaksic 3, Rasovic 2, Cuk 2, D. Pijetlovic 2, Filipovic 2, Mitrovic 2, Mandic 1, Ubovic 1.
South Africa: E. Le Roux 2, Brown 1, Rodda 1, Card 1.

1.Serbia 1-2
2.Greece 1-2
3.Spain 1-0
4.South Africa 1-0

Group D

United States-Croatia 7-12 (1-3, 2-4, 1-3, 3-2)
USA: Cupido 2, Bowen 2, Obert 1, Hooper 1, Vacic 1, Hallock 1, Ramirez.
Croatia: Loncar 4, Garcia 4, Vukicevic 2, Jokovic 1, Fatovic 1.

Japan – Russia 8-15 (1-5, 2-3, 2-3, 3-4)
Japan: Arai 2, Okawa 2, Adachi 1, Shiga 1, Yoshida 1.
Russia: Merkulov , Nagaev 2, Lisunov 3, Vasilyev 2, Derviankin 1.

1. Russia 1 – 2
2. Croatia 1 – 2
3. USA 1 – 0
4. Japan 1 – 0

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