Water Polo World Championship

Romain Buche: I was a coach in a candy store

Water polo fantasy

One round to go, Uros Stevanovic took lead for the first time in this year competition. With Aleksandar Ivović in his fantasy team „Kontra Juga“ he managed to go in front of Andrei Iosep.

With only 3 points ahead and no more  Ivović in the tournament, we are expecting great battle between Iosep and Stevanovic. But, one of the most entertaining participants in this year edition od Expert Fantasy on dance.hr is Romain Buche, director of Marseille. He is one of three club directors alog with Balasz Vincze and Jugoslav Vasović.

Romain: Man this game is just so much fun, it feels weird but so normal at the same time, im really enjoying it . I’m also honored to be part of that league with such big names that I respect a lot .

Have you ever played fantasy in any other sport? And do you think this could be one way for promotion of waterpolo?

Romain: Just this year we played a game called MPG with some friends, it’s basically the same but with football players from our domestic league. I believe it can be a very good way to promote our sport! It’s a lot of fun but you also have to think and it makes you watch the games with a different approach.

For example, much better statistical data in future could give us much more fun combining players. Or, with this kind od statistical data through Champions League.
Romain: This fantasy league is already very good as it is so I can’t wait to play to an upgraded form of it and if we can play it for Champion’s League as well it would be superb!

You were very well prepaired for draft night, your moves were quick. Was was your draft strategy?
Romain: Well I was placed 3rd in the draft so I tried to figure which positions were the most important, for example, I knew I could wait for a second round before I picked my goalie that’s why I picked a left-side (Varga) first, but he got injured. Then I was also keeping an eye on the list of players still available and made a few choices. The choice of a left-hander was also very important, for one second I thought I was a coach in a candy store 🙂

You were on top in first 3 rounds, your form was on very high level at the beginning. But you could not keep it high till the end.

Romain : Well yeah, I was (and still am) very proud of my team, first two rounds prove me right but then with the injury of Varga it started to collapse. I made a choice for round 4 knowing that I would not score a lot of points because all my players were already qualified. Round 5 was disappointing for me but that’s sport and with one round left I’m pretty sure I will score some good points!

As rookie, you haven’t consider mentioned 4th round when 4 preliminary group winners are resting. So your team had 5 Croatian and Nagy, so only 3 avalaible players and you scored only 4 points in 4th round, and your team didn’t recover from then.

Romain: I clearly made a mistake on round 4, maybe because it was my first year but I stand by it . Don’t expect that kind of mistake next year 🙂

Denes Varga, great choice for 1st pick, but bad luck. He broke his finger in first match, and your Pecto team suffered as well?

Romain: Yeah it was such a bad news for my team but I built the team with other good players that could replace him or one another, Vukicevic & Setka didn’t let me down .

Can you explaine your team name, what is Pecto, and why you decided to name you team like that?

Romain: It’s very stupid but I’m the bench press record holder at CN Marseille so everybody calls me PECTO hence the PECTO TEAM .

P.S. I challenged LEKA at bench press a few years back , but still no news from him 😉

Big final of the World Championship is ahead of us, is it surpising to have Italy and Spain fighting for gold?

Romain: Yes & No, yes because I was expecting Croatia to be in the final but both Italy & Spain are amongst the best countries in Water Polo. I have friends in both teams and we often go to CNAB for training camps with Marseille so I can’t say I’m surprised, it’s gonna be one hell of a game.

What are tactical details that will decide this final?

Romain: Goalkeepers & centers are always important, Spain needs to block Echenique who scored 4 goals in the semi-final and who seems to have reach his full potential. I also hope for Spain that Munarriz will keep being on fire! I love the way Spain plays, a lot of movement, if they play their game they are such a hard team to beat, this final is gonna be epic!

New rules brought us more attacks per game, we expected more goals, but Spain hold Croatia on 5, Italy holds Greece on 6. Italy managed to keep their opponents on 7 goals per game (5, 7, 7, 6, 10). Only Hungary scored double-digit goals-against both teams. Are we going to look a similar game tomorrow, 7:6 for someone?

Romain: Maybe not 7:6 but for sure the gap will not be more than 2-3 goals. As for new rules I believe that at the Olympics they will have more impact on the games and on the referees (it does not make me happy but that’s the way it goes).

Who is going to win?

Romain: If I had to bet, I’d say Italy though .

If you have to choose starting line up of the players from this Championship, who will they be?
Romain:

GK Dennerley
CB Ivovic
CF Kayes or Lachlan Edwards (let’s say Edwards because everybody knows Kayes)
LS Vukicevic
LS DI Fulvio
RS Echenique
RS Mallarach

Standings after 6th round:

  1. Uros Stevanovic 105,97
  2. Andrei Iosep 102,55
  3. Dragan Jovanovic 94,53
  4. Vjekoslav Kobecsak 93,60
  5. Marko Sapit 92,70
  6. Balasz Vincze 92,41
  7. Sean King 86,22
  8. Jugoslav Vasovic 85,81
  9. Jure Marelja 83,87
  10. Romain Buche 75,07

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