World U20 Championship: USA lonely among Europeans

Hooper usa water polo
JOHNATHAN HOOPER (USA) Photo: Ivica Veselinov

It’s time for big challenges at the 19th World Men’s Junior Water Polo Championship in Belgrade. A knockout phase of the competition started today. There is no a way to correct a mistake anymore. Every loss is eliminating a team out of the chase for the medals.

Matches in the playoff round (eight-finals and classification from the 13th-20th place) were played today.

The teams of USA, Spain, Italy and Montenegro advanced to the quarterfinals. The USA, the only non-European team in the quarterfinal, will play against Croatia. Serbia and Italy will meet in the replay of the final game at the 2015 World Junior Championship in Almaty when Serbia won 13:12. Spain will clash Greece, Montenegro will face Hungary.

Italy wins in the match of the day

Cannella water polo Italy

Giacomo Cannella, Italy (click to enlarge) Photo: Ivica Veselinov

The highlight of the evening was an encounter between Italy and Russia. The Russians started better, they had a 3:1 lead after the first quarter. From that point on Italy controlled the match. By netting three unanswered goals in the 2nd quarter Italy turned the score on 4:3. The fourth goal Italy netted in the middle of the quarter. Despite many chances on both sides, there were no goals in the remaining 4 minutes of the first half. Russia managed to equalise twice in the third period (4:4 and 5:5).

After the 5th goal of Russia, Italy scored three in a row (one at the end of the 3rd, and two at the start of the last period) and jumped to an 8:5 lead. This series was crucial. Russia couldn’t recover anymore and Italy won 10:7. Giacomo Cannella (3 goals) was a leader of the team of Italy, despite he was given a red card, after a penalty foul (5:22 on the clock). Danil Markulov scored 3 goals for Russia.

The USA team did a clean job against neighbours from the north. USA water polo players beat Canada 14:4. They were much better in all segments of water polo sport, except in attacks with an extra-man. The victory would have been bigger if the Americans had scored more than 4 goals with an extra player. They had 11 chances (Canada had 3 of 5 from an extra man). The top scorer of the match was Johnathan Hooper, who had an excellent percentage of shots. He netted 4 goals from 5 shots on the goal of Canada.

Montenegro finally wakes up

Montenegro finally showed its power after bad results in the preliminary competition. The Montenegrins convincingly beat Australia, which was a candidate for the high placement. They took a flying start and led 4:0 after four and a half minutes of the encounter with Australia. In the last minute of the first period, the “Aussies” scored for 4:1, but Montenegro players ruled the field in the second quarter too. They were six goals ahead (8:2) by the half-time. Nothing was changed after the 5-minute rest. Montenegro controlled everything in the pool and defeated Australia with an 11-goal advantage- 16:5!

Spain demolished China – 27:5, but the Spaniards played with ups and downs again, like in a few matches in Group B. This time, the down was very short. Till the middle of the second quarter, they gained an 8:0 lead. But, they slowed down in the remaining four minutes of the 2nd quarter, so at the half-time, the score was 11:4. In the second half, Spain played furiously, netted seven goals in the 3rd and added nine more in the last quarter for a 27:5 victory. All Spain players put their names on the list of scorers.  Roger Tahull (4 goals), who played for Spain at the World Championships in Budapest, was the most efficient.


USA 14:4 Canada
(4:1, 3:1, 3:0, 4:2)

USA: Hooper 4, Daube 2, Abramson 2, Osborne 2, Molthen 2, Woodhead 1, Cavano 1.
Canada: Reihe 1, Gardijan 1, Spooner 1, Cote 1.

Spain 27:5 China
(6:0, 5:4, 7:1, 9:0)

Spain: Tahull 4, De la Fuente 4, Granados 3, Paul 3, Calatrava 3, Carrasco 2, Valvedere 2, Rodriguez 2, Garcia 2, Gomez 1, Bustos 1.
China:Ronkung 2, Beiyi 1, Yingyi, Dingsong

Italy 10:7 Russia
(1:3, 3:0, 2:2, 4:2)

Italy: Cannella 3, Mezzarobba 2, Manzi 2, Campopiano 1, Maccioni 1, Novara 1.
Russia: Merkulov 3, Gusarov 2, Kharkov 2.

Montenegro 16:5 Australia
(4:1, 4:2, 3:1, 5:1)

Montenegro: Mitrovic 3, Ukropina 2, Radovic 2, Moskov 2, Spaic 2, Matkovic 1, Franeta 1, Saveljic 1, Gardasevic 1, Grgurevic 1.
Australia: Putt 1, Hallam 1, Holden 1, Kzriakou 1, Vos 1.

Puerto Rico wins outside the pool

Puerto Rico water polo

Puerto Rico team (click to enlarge) Photo Ivica Veselinov

Puerto Rico still hasn’t achieved a victory at this championship, but players from the Caribbean has recorded a win outside the pool. Puerto Rico water polo players and coaches visited the centre for children without parents’ care yesterday. They gifted to kids toys and other presents and spent some time in play with them.

For places 13th – 20th

In the matches for the classification from the 13th to 20th place, Japan water polo players showed that they don’t belong here, despite four defeats in the Preliminary competition. But, they didn’t have a luck. The Japanese played in probably the toughest group, with Croatia, Montenegro, Spain and The Netherlands. The team from Asia scored 50 goals, it recorded two narrow losses (against Netherlands and Montenegro), they weren’t a weak rival for Spain and Croatia too. But, all of that wasn’t enough for a place in the eighth finals.

Japan blew away Argentina 23:8 today. The Japanese led 9:0 in the second quarter when the Argentines their first goal scored 2:04 before the half-time.

The Netherlands was also convincing, against New Zealand (14:4). Iran beat South Africa (14:9), while Egypt defeated Puerto Rico (10:6).

SCORES for places 13th-20th

Iran 14:9 South Africa
(4:0, 2:0, 3:4, 5:5)

Iran: Almasi 3, Yazdankhah 3, Heidari 2, Pourang 1, Khaledtbar 1, Saviy 1.
South Africa: Everzard 4, Van Zyl 2, Stewart 1, Brakspear 1, Neil 1.

Netherlands 14:4 New Zealand
(2:2,5:0, 4:2, 3:0)

Netherlands:Smelt 3, Mama Radji 2, De Mey 2, Geestman 2, Van den Burg 1, Hofmeijer 1,Van den Bersselaar 1, Weerd 1, Wolswinkel 1.
New Zealand: Morris 2, Booker 1, Paterson 1.

Egypt 10:6 Puerto Rico
(1:2, 3:1, 2:1, 4:2)

Egypt: Hesham 3, Elspagh 2, Essmat 2, Andelgwad 1, Yehia 1, Nabil 1.
Puerto Rico: Loubriel 2, Martir 1, Zayas 1, Mujica 1, Hernandez 1.

Argentina 8:23 Japan
(0:5, 2:5, 3:5, 3:8)

Argentina: Carlos 3, M. Gido 2, P. Gido 1, Pozo Tomas 1, Tadeo 1.
Japan: Date 5, Suzuki 4, Ichimura 3, Inaba 3, Koppu 2, Aizawa 2, Kobayashi 1, Kageta 1, Maita 1, Maeno 1.


Friday, August 11th

Classification 17th – 20th (semifinal)

8:00 South Africa – New Zealand
10:40 Puerto Rico – Argentina

Classification 13th -16th (semifinals)

9:20 Iran – Netherlands
12:00 Egypt – Japan

Classification 9th – 12th (semifinals)

13:20 Canada – China
14:40 Russia – Australia


16:40 Greece – Spain
18:00 Serbia – Italy
19:20 Croatia – USA
20:40 Hungary – Montenegro

Pairings for the semifinals (Saturday)

Greece/Spain – Serbia/Italy
Croatia/USA – Hungary/Montenegro

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