FINA World League

Serbia wins World League gold and secures ticket for Tokyo

Awarding ceremony under the roof Photo:waterpoloserbia.org

The national team of Serbia won the gold medal in the FINA Men’s World League. By taking the 1st place in the competition, the Serbs became the first team which qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Serbia was the host of the Super Final tournament, which was held in Belgrade in the Tašmajdan outdoor pool, opened in 1973 for the 1st FINA World Championships. The hosts edged out Croatia in the final game (12:11), Australia took the bronze medal.

Ranking

1. Serbia – prize $ 100.000
2. Croatia – $ 70.000
3. Australia – $50.000
4. Spain – $35.000
5. Hungary – $30.000
6. Japan – $25.000
7. Kazakhstan – $20.000
8. Canada – $15.000

FINAL GAME

The final match was the second encounter between Serbia and Croatia at the 2019 Super Final. In the first game, played in the Group stage, Serbia defeated its arch-rival by a goal (11:10), too. Serbia posted five wins in five days before the final, while Croatia came to the last match with 4 wins and one loss (to Serbia).

Croatia was the better team in the opening minutes. The World champions had a 4:1 lead early in the second quarter. But, the Olympic champions, boosted by their fans from the full packed stands, managed to come back. Serbia scored 5 straight goals to overturn a deficit to a 6:4 lead a minute and 16 seconds from the end of the first half. The Croats “woke up”, and they produced a 4:1 run to enter the last period with a minimal 8:7 advantage.

The Organizing Committee and the teams had a lot of problems with bad weather. Several matches were interrupted and delayed because of storm, thunders, and rain. The last quarter of the final game was played in heavy rain. The Croats were keeping their slim advantage for a while. They led 10:9 in the middle of the quarter. Serbia captain Filip Filipovic equalized with 2:52 remaining on the clock. Filipovic scored again in the 31st minute for 11:10. Ante Vukicevic converted a man-up to return the terms on equal – 11:11 (0:29 before the end).

The hosts earned a penalty shot 17 seconds before the last buzzer. Filip Filipovic found the net from a penalty shot for the final score 12:11. In last Croatia’s attack a goalkeeper Marko Bijac joined his team-mates in the attack, he shot towards the Serbia goal in the last second, but he missed and Serbia won the World League for the 12th time (twice as Serbia and Montenegro and 10 times as Serbia).

Serbia 12:11 Croatia
(1:3, 5:2, 1:3, 5:3)

SERBIA: G. Pijetlovic, Mandic 4, Stojanovic, Randjelovic, Cuk 1, D. Pijetlovic, Vico, Aleksic, Jaksic 1, Filipovic 4, Prlainovic 1, S. Mitrovic 1, B. Mitrovic (9 saves). Head coach: Dejan Savic

CROATIA: Bijac (9 saves), Benic, Fatovic 2, Loncar, Jokovic 1, Buljubasic 1, Vukicevic 5, Buslje 1, Lovre, Vrlic 1, Setka, Garcia, Marcelic. Head coach: Ivica Tucak

Due to the bad weather, the awarding ceremony took place into the indoor pool.

“Congratulations to our fans. This was their win. They didn’t leave the pool despite the heavy rain. Their support helped us. Thanks!” Filip Filipovic, Serbia captain, and the best player and the scorer (4 goals) of the final game said.

Tasmajdan pool, final game Serbia- Croatia (click to enlarge)

 

Australia earned bronze, as it edged out Spain in the match for the 3rd place (11:10). The Spaniard Dani Lopez made history, as he became the first goalkeeper who scored a goal in the World League. But, he did it when it was too late. Lopez found the net 24 seconds from the end to set the final score

The disappointment of the tournament was Hungary, which finished 5th and lost to Canada on Day 1, but it should be mentioned that a few important Hungarian players missed the Super Final.

The Japanese, who took the 6th place, played very well and they proved that they want to make a good result at the 2020 Olympics.

MVP of the tournament was Filip Filipovic (Serbia), Marko BIjac (Croatia) was voted the best goalkeeper, while Yusuke Inaba (Japan) was the best scorer (26 goals).

The Super Final was played by new rules which caused a lot of exclusions and penalty fouls in almost every match.

2019  FINA WORLD LEAGUE SUPER FINAL (BELGRADE, June 18th – 23rd)

Group Stage

Group A

Hungary – Canada 9:10 (1:3, 3:2, 3:4, 2:1)
Japan – Spain 10:18 (3:3, 3:6, 1:5, 3:4)

Japan – Canada 17:7 (6:2, 2:2, 8:2, 1:1)
Hungary – Spain 15:12 (2:3, 3:3, 3:3, 3:2, penalty shootout 4:1)

Hungary – Japan 13:9 ( 3:3, 3:3, 3:2, 4:1 )
Canada – Spain 5:12 (2:2, 1:1, 2:4, 0:5)

1 Spain 7
2 Hungary 5
3 Japan 3
4 Canada 3

Group B

Croatia – Kazakhstan 20:4 (5:2, 6:0, 3:0, 6:2)
Serbia – Australia 12:8 (4:5, 3:0, 4:3,1:0)

Australia – Kazakhstan 14:5 (3:2, 4:1, 3:0, 4:2)
Serbia – Croatia 11:10 (2:3, 2:2, 4:1, 3:4)

Croatia – Australia 11:9 (2:3, 2:2, 6:3, 1:1)
Kazakhstan – Serbia 6:20 (0:4, 3:6, 1:6, 2:4)

1 Serbia 9
2 Croatia 6
3 Australia 3
4 Kazakhstan 0

Quarterfinal day

Hungary – Australia 15:16 (2:1, 3:0, 2:4, 3:5, penalty shootout 5:6)
Japan – Croatia 13:20 (3:4, 3:6, 2:5, 5:5)
Spain – Kazakhstan 19:10 (4:1, 4:2, 6:4, 5:3)
Serbia – Canada 20:5 (5:2, 6:2, 4:0, 5:1)

Semifinal day

Places 1 – 4

Australia – Serbia 11:16 (2:6, 2:3, 3:2, 4:5)
Croatia – Spain 10:8 (5:1, 3:2, 2:4, 0:1)

Places 5 – 8

Japan – Kazakhstan 13:12 (4:2, 3:2, 2:3, 3:5)
Hungary – Canada 15:8 (4:3, 4:3, 3:1, 4:1)

Final day

Final
Serbia – Croatia 12:11 (1:3, 5:2, 1:3, 5:3)

For the 3rd place
Australia – Spain 11:10 (3:1, 2:3, 4:4, 2:2)
For the 5th place
Hungary– Japan 15:13 (4:3, 4:2, 2:2, 5:6)

For the 7th place
Kazakhstan – Canada 17:16 (2:4, 3:3, 5:4, 3:2, penalty shootout 4:3)

FINA WORLD LEAGUE WINNERS

2002 – Russia
2003 – Hungary
2004 – Hungary
2005 – Serbia and Montenegro
2006 – Serbia and Montenegro
2007 – Serbia
2008 – Serbia
2009 – Montenegro
2010 – Serbia
2011 – Serbia
2012 – Croatia
2013 – Serbia
2014 – Serbia
2015 – Serbia
2016 – Serbia
2017 – Serbia
2018 – Montenegro
2019 – Serbia

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