Four teams are still in the race for the medals at the men’s water polo tournament at the 17th FINA World Championships. Serbia, Greece, Hungary and Croatia defeated their respective rivals in today’s quarterfinal games. Serbia will face Croatia and Hungary will clash with Greece in the semifinals on Thursday.
Serbia, Hungary and Greece defeated their rivals very convincingly today, while Croatia fought the big battle with Italy
The composition of the semi-finals is almost the same as at the 2015 World Championships when Serbia won the gold ahead of Croatia (silver), Greece (bronze) and Italy (4th)
Powerful Serbia, Greece and Hungary
In the first encounter of the quarterfinals, Greece defeated Montenegro 12-7. It was tough, defensive match at the start. The Greeks had a 1-0 lead after the 1st period. They continued the series after the first rest. Greece scored three goals in the first three and a half minutes of the 2nd quarter and jumped to a 4-0 lead. The Montenegrins were shocked. Their last slim chance was woken by Aleksandar Radovic’s goal for 2-6, in the 15th minute. After the 5-minute rest, Greece, led by Ioannis Fountulis (4 goals) and excellent goalkeeper Konstantinos Flegkas, scored four in a row for 10-2 (0:14 by the end of the 3rd period). It was clear who is going to the semifinals.
The Greeks had a chance to make a step further than at the 2015 Championships. But first, they have to beat Hungary in the semifinals. On the other side, Montenegro team is the only group winner at men’s tournament which didn’t advance to the semifinals.
The most convincing victory in the quarterfinals was achieved by Serbia. Titleholders beat Australia 15-5. The Serbs dominated throughout the game. After the first eight minutes, they had a three-goal lead (4-1). Dusko Pijetlovic opened the second quarter with a nice goal for 5-1.
The “Aussie Sharks” didn’t give up too early. They netted twice for 5-3. Serbia’s answer was three goals in a row within less than three minutes and Dejan Savic’s squad entered in the 2nd half with a solid advantage (8-3). The second half was very similar to the first. The Serbs let Australia score only two goals, and they continued playing excellent in the attack, so the margin of their win expanded to 10.
A powerful 5-0 first quarter against Russia pulled Hungary to the semifinals. The hosts took a flying start in front of 8000 spectators. Hungary controlled the Russians, who scored their first goal in the 11th minute of the game (Nagaev 6-1).
Hungary jumped to 10-1 in the second minute of the second half. After that, the Hungarians enjoyed an easy cruise to the 14-5 victory. They were playing not for the result (because there was no question about winner anymore), but for the audience and they were preparing for the semifinals. Heroes of the night were goalkeeper Viktor Nagy (16 saves), Denes Varga (4 goals) and Norbert Hosnaszky (4 goals).
Croatia holds of Italy
The last today’s game was the only one which offered a big battle. Croatia beat Italy 12-9. The rivals were neck and neck in the first half. Croatia led 2-0 and 5-3, but the Italians found the way to equalise several times. Before the second half rivals were at the same starting point because Francesco di Fulvio scored for 5-5 (0:22 before the end of the 2nd quarter).
At the start of the second half, the Italians took the lead for the first and for the last time (Presciutti 6-5). Croatia, pushed by Sandro Sukno and Javier Garcia Gadea (4 goals each), made a series 3-0 in the second half of the third period and turned the score to 8-6. The Olympic and the World vice-champions kept the advantage till the end. Iodice netted for 10-9 (02:50), but the Italians couldn’t bring the match in a thriller finish. Just after Iodice’s goal, Buslje scored for 11-9. Garcia set the final score in the last minute.
Montenegro-Greece 7-12 (0-1, 2-5, 1-4, 4-2)
Montenegro: A. Radovic 2, Dr. Brguljan 1, Petkovic 1, Misic 1,Da. Brguljan 1, Murisic 1.
Greece: Fountoulis 4,Gounas 2, Genidounias 1, Kolomvos 1, Vlachopoulos 1,Dervisis 1, Argyropoulos 1, Mourikis 1.
Serbia-Australia 15-5 (4-1, 4-2, 4-2, 3-0)
Serbia: Filipovic 3, Cuk 2, D. Pijetlovic 2, Prlainovic 2, S. Mitrovic 2, V. Rasovic 1, Aleksic 1, Randjelovic 1, Jaksic 1.
Australia: Kayes 1, Gilchrist 1, Younger 1, Power 1, Edwards 1.
Hungary-Russia 14-5 (5-0, 3-1, 3-3, 3-1)
Hungary: Hosnyanszky 4,De. Varga 4, Manhercz 3, Vamos 2, Hárai 1.
Russia: Bugaychuk 2,Nagaev 1, Lisunov 1, Dereviankin 1.
Croatia – Italy 12-9 (3-2, 2-3, 3-1, 4-3)
Croatia: Sukno 4, Garcia 4, Setka 2, Vukicevic 1, Buslje 1.
Italy: Iodice 3, N. Presciuti 2, Aicardi 2, Bodegas 1,
For places 9th – 12th: Historic success for Japan
Japan is a team which makes big progress from year to year. By beating Brazil in the semifinals for places 9-12, they made a historic success. They will play in the game for the 9th place. Their highest ranking till Budapest was the 11th place (Shanghai 2011).
The team of Japan took the control after its first lead (2-1). The Asians went three goals ahead (6-3, 7-4, 8-5). Brazil played better in the last period and trailed 7-8 five minutes before the end. But, outstanding Seiya Adachi decided everything. He netted his third goal of the match and 13th at the tournament, for the final score 9-7.
Spain didn’t lose motives after defeat in the qualifying match with Russia (10-11). The Spanish team beat Kazakhstan 18-6. Spain was seven goals ahead of the rival already in the 13th minute 7-0 (3:48). In the next attack, the Kazakhs scored their first goal. But, that couldn’t change anything. Spain didn’t slow down until the end. Top scorer of the match Alberto Barosso Maccaro closed the game with his fifth goal for 18-6, four seconds before the final buzzer.
For places 9 – 12
Kazakhstan–Spain 6-18 (0-4, 1-5, 1-3, 4-6)
Kazakhstan: Shakenov 4, Pilipenko 1,Ruday 1.
Spain: Barroso 5, Munarriz 3, Del Toro 3, Tahull 2, Fernandez 2, Espanol 1, Mallarach 1, Guiterezz 1.
Brazil-Japan 7-9 (1-3, 3-4, 1-1, 2-1)
Brazil: Coutinho 2,Cruz 2, R. Guimaraes 1, G. Guimaraes 1, Carrulo 1.
Japan: Adachi 3, Shimizu 2,Iida 1, Arai 1,Takata 1, Araki 1.
USA took the 13th place
There were no surprises in the matches for the places from 13th to 16th.
The USA team defeated France 10-8 in the game for the 13th place. The French were better rival more than a half of the game. They led 2-0 in the first quarter, 4-3 and 6-5 in the third. But, USA water polo players turned the score till the end of the 3rd quarter (7-6) and kept the lead in the last period. Despite their third win in Budapest, they can’t be satisfied, because this is the lowest ranking of the USA team in the history of the World Championships (previous it was 11th place in Montreal 2005). The French played at the World Championships for the first time since 1991 (12th place in Montreal), so 14th place isn’t a failure for them.
The Canadians surprised favourites in the first round (8-8 against Montenegro), but at the end, they played the match for avoiding the last place. They beat South Africa 9-6. The team from Africa finished the championship as the only team which didn’t record either a victory or a draw. Canada ended WCH with this win and two draws (Montenegro 8-8 and Brazil 6-6 in Group A).
For 13th place
France-United States 8-11 (1-0, 2-3, 3-4, 2-4)
France: Crousillat 2, Marzouki 2, Saudadier 1, Kovacevic 1, Simon 1, Camarasa 1.
United States: Cupido 3, Bowen 2, Carniglia 2, Irving 2, Dunstan 1, Roelse 1.
For 15th place
Canada-South Africa 9-6 (1-2, 4-1, 2-1, 2-2)
Canada: Constanin-Bicari 5, D’Souza 1, Torakis 1, Radojcic 1, Soleimanipak 1.
South Africa: E. Le Roux 2, Card 1, Rodda 1, P. Le Roux 1, Whyte 1.
Brazil – Kazakhstan (for 11th place)
Japan – Spain (for 9th place)
Classification 5-8 semifinals
Montenegro – Russia
Australia – Italy
Greece – Hungary