World U20 Championship: Serbia, Croatia, Hungary and Greece advance to the semifinals

Radomir Drasovic (SRB) scores from a penalty Photo: Ivica Veselinov/WP OF SERBIA

The semifinals of the 19th World Men’s Junior Water Polo Championship in Belgrade will see the same nations which played in the semifinals of the 17th WCH for seniors in Budapest, two weeks ago: Serbia, Hungary, Croatia and Greece.

Tomorrow, Hungary will face Croatia and Serbia will meet Greece. All four teams are still unbeaten at this championships.

Let’s remind, Hungary beat Greece and Croatia defeated Serbia in Budapest semifinals.

Today, in the quarterfinals Serbia juniors were better than Italy, Hungary defeated Montenegro. Croatia recorded a narrow victory against the USA. Greece won a thriller game against Spain.

Greece wins a thriller

The first quarterfinal match ended in a thriller finish. Spain led controlled the game against Greece from the first minute. Spain led 3:2 after the first half and had a 5:3 advantage before the final 8 minutes. Greece managed to equalise twice during the first 24 minutes (2:2 and 3:3). In the fourth quarter, the Greeks jumped to a 6:3 lead (6:54 on the clock). They were on a good way to the semifinals. But, Greece came back from three goals down The Greeks netted four goals in a span of three and a half minutes and took the lead for the first time -7:6 (3:22). Carrasco scored for 7:7 (2:10). Gkouvetsis hit the target for  8:7  46 seconds before the last buzzer. Spain had an extra man in the last attack, but Granados had his shot blocked, 11 seconds by the end. Both teams were equally unsuccessful with an extra man, both had only 10% (1 of 10).

Convincing Serbia and Hungary

Serbia, the titleholder and host of the championships, boosted by the fans, played excellent today and defeated Italy 17:9.  The Serbs led 4:2 after the 1st quarter. In the middle of the second period, Mezzaroba brought Italy back (5:4). But, at the half time 8:4 was written on the scoreboard. Italy came close once more (8:6) in the 18th minute. The hosts, led by Djordje Vucinic (4 goals) and captain Radomir Drasovic (3 goals), went six goals ahead until the end of the 3rd period (12:6).

Both teams were very nervous in the third quarter, especially the Italians. Giacomo Canella was excluded because of red card 2:27 by the end of the period (Serbia led 10:6 in that moment). Soon after the 11th goal of Serbia, Radomir Drasovic and Michelle Mezzaroba got red cards in front of the goal of Serbia (22th minute). The Italians had an attack with an extra player (Djordje Vucinic was excluded before the double exclusion), but they didn’t score. After a time-out, Veljko Tankosic netted for a 12:6. In the fourth period, there was no way back for Italy anymore.

Hungary water polo

Krisztian Manhercz (Hungary) Photo Ivica Vidovic

Hungary didn’t have an easy job in the quarterfinals against Montenegro. They started better, but the Montenegrins turned a deficit (0:2) to a slim lead – 4:3. That was the result after the first quarter. The Hungarians showed their power in the second half. They played furiously, led by Kristian Manhercz, silver medalists from the WCH in Budapest (6 goals in the encounter), and till the half-time gained a 9:5 lead. After that, their task was to keep the solid advantage in the second half. The Hungarians did it.

Five goals enough for a victory

Croatia eliminated the USA, the only non-European team which advanced to the quarterfinals, in a low-scoring game, with strong defences. The Croats played excellent in the opening minutes. They led 3:0 in the 7th minute. It seemed that they would reach semi finals with ease. But, the USA team didn’t let them gain a big lead. Till the middle of the 3rd period, they levelled the score (3:3). Croatia was under big pressure. The Americans had more chances, but they didn’t score more than 3 times. The Croats scored their fourth goal, first after 16 minutes, 0:51 before the last rest (4:3). Two minutes after the start of the last period  Pejakovic netted for a 5:3. Just after that Abramson answered with an extra player for 5:4. Both teams had many chances, but there were no goals. The USA had the last chance to equalise 0:36 before the final buzzer, but Croatia goalkeeper Duzevic saved the Daube’s shot. The Croats won the game, despite they didn’t score a single goal from an extra-man (0 of 8). The USA team was a little bit better (1 of 8).

Europe dominates

Eleven non-European teams are competing at the championships, but only two of them will be placed better than 11th position. Besides the USA it is Canada, which convincingly beat China (17:4) in the semifinals for the ranking from 9th to 12th place. The Canadians will meet Russia in the match for the 9th position. The Russians defeated Australia water polo team (11:8) today.

Scores and scchedule


Greece 8:7 Spain
(0:1, 2:2, 1:2, 5:2)

Greece: Gkouvetsis 2, Masmanidis 2, Gardikas 1, Papanastasiou 1, Mouratidis 1, Troulos 1.
Spain: Valvedere 2, Bustos 2, Carrasco 1, Rodriguez 1, Garcia 1.

Serbia 17:9 Italy
(4:2, 4:2, 4:2, 5:3)

Serbia: Vucinic 4, Drasovic 3, Tankosic 2, Lukic 2, Toholj 2, Radonjic 2, Velkic 1, Gvozdanovic 1.
Italy: Guerrato 2, Manzi 2, Canella 1, Mezzarobba 1, Guidi 1, Maccioni 1, Novara 1.

Croatia 5:4 USA
(3:1, 0:1, 1:1, 1:1)

Croatia: Duzevic 2, Pejkovic 2, Zovic 1.
USA: Daube 2, Abramson 2.

Hungary 12:8 Montenegro
(3:4, 6:1, 1:1, 2:2)

Hungary: Manhercz 6, Szatmari 2, Burian 2, Vadovics 1, Selley-Rauser 1.
Montenegro: Gardasevic 3, Vujasevic 1, Ukropina 1, Moskov 1, Spaic 1, Grgurevic 1.

9th – 12th place (semifinals)

Canada 17:4 China
(6:2, 4:0, 4:1, 3:1)

Canada: Soleimanipak 5, Jones 2, Gardijan 2, Reiher 1, Poliseno 1, Lemay-Lavoie 1, Djerkovic 1, Blanchard 1, Cote 1.
China: Yingyi 2, Beiyi 1, Xinhmeng 1.

Russia 11:8 Australia
(3:1, 3:3, 1:3, 4:1)

Russia: Kharkov 4, Zakirov 3, Merkulov 3, Usov 1.
Australia: Ephick 1, Put 1, Hallam 1, Holden 1, Kyriakou 1, Vos 1, Negus 1, Wolohan 1.

13th-16th place (semifinals)

Iran 5:4 Netherlands
(2:4, 1:5, 2:2, 0:3)

Iran:Rahbarjedi 2, Almasi 1, Yazdankhah 1, Peirvani 1.
Netherlands: Van den Burg 5, Hofmeijer 2, Wolswinkel 2, Mama Radji 1, Smelt 1, Scherrenburg 1, Geestman 1, De Weerd 1.

Egypt 11:19 Japan
(2:5, 2:3, 3:7, 4:4)

Egypt: Hesham 4, Nabil 3, Elsapagh 1, Eliwa 1, Saaeldin 1, Essmat 1.
Japan: Koppu 4, Suzuki 4, Aizawa 4, Kobayashi 2, Date 2, Inaba 2, Ichimura 1.

17th – 20th place (semifinals)

South Africa 5:6 New Zealand
(0:1, 1:1, 1:1, 3:3)

South Africa: Rom 2, Evezard 2, Stewart 2.
New Zealand: Booker 2, R. Brown 2, Milne 1, Morris 1.

Puerto Rico 5:7 Argentina
(1:0, 1:1, 0:6, 3:0)

Puerto Rico: Loubriel 2, Andino 1, Zayad 1, Hernandez 1.
Argentina: Tomas 2, Franco 2, Carlos 2, M. Gido 1.

Saturday, August 12th

Classification 19 – 20
08:00 South Africa – Puerto Rico

Classification 17-18
09:20 New Zealand – Argentina

Classifficatuin 15-16
10:40 Iran – Egypt

Classification 13-14
12:00 Netherlands – Japan

Classification 11-12
13:20 China – Australia

Classification 9-10
14:40 Russia – Canada

Classification 5-8 (semifinals)
16.40: Spain – Italy
18.00: USA –  Montenegro

19:20 Greece – Serbia
20:40 Croatia – Hungary

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