It had to happen once after four years of absolute domination of Serbia. Croatia dethroned Dejan Savic team in the semifinal of the World championship in Budapest. Barracudas won 12:11.(1:1, 4:4, 4:4, 3:2).
This will be the first competition since the 2013 World Cup in Barcelona that Serbian water polo players will not win a gold medal.
Now they have a duel on Saturday for third place and a bronze medal against the selection of Greece.
And Croatia’s opponent in the final, considering where the championship is playing, will be the hardest possible – Hungary, which was previously better than Greece.
Croatia has obviously drawn many lessons from last year’s defeat in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games final. However, this was a game in which Serbia had a lead and dictated the pace.
And Andrija Prlainovic was the one who, with a safe game, drove Croatian rivals into fear of bone. He scored goals from different positions as a joke. In the end, he reached the number of six hits.
However, this time, Croatian water polo players, unlike some of the previous interlocutors, did not fall into nervousness when the match broke and when they scampered the result.
The Croats took the first time in the match just minutes before the end of the match. Ante Vukicevic scored for 11:10, and later Maro Jokovic was precise. It turned out that it was enough for a triumph and placement in the finals.
They had, however, Serbian water polo players another opportunity five seconds before the end, Prlainovic was greatly kicked, but this time goalkeeper Marko Bijac topped the pitch.
HUNGARIAN DEFENSE LOOKED LIKE A WALL IN THE SECON HALF
Hungarians had a lot of problems against Greece in the tonight’s game. Greeks started very well, had a one goal advantage, even had the opportunity for a greater advantage, but Hungary later turned around and in the end completely outplayed the opponents.
The Greeks were led by a brilliant Konstantinos Genidunias, who was the main player in the first half.
At the start of the second quarter, Janis Funtulis scored, then Marton Vamos answered. But Genidunias was great as he found the net two more times. The Hungarians had a lot of problems in the attack, but Gor-Miklos Nagy scored with a lot of luck. In the last seconds of the first half, Balazs Harai gave Hungarians a new advantage.
At the start of the third quarter Vamos scored again and Hungary for a 6:4 lead to make a major step towards victory and place in the big final.
Greece had some dangerous attacks through Vlachopoulos and Mourikis, but they couldn’t break Hungarian defense. Vamos goal was the only one fans saw in the third period.
After 55 seconds in the last quarter, Hosnyanszky brought a three-goal lead to the Hungarians. And with some tougher defensive plays for the hosts, the game was decided.
RADOVIC A HERO FOR MONTENEGRO
Montenegro water polo players wanted to get a sort of redemption against Russia after a painful defeat in a match versus Greece in the quarterfinal.
And Montenegrins did it against Russia – 9:8 in a semifinal duel for the fifth place in this tournament. Drasko Brguljan played a great game, as he scored four goals for Montenegro who had, what seemed to be, a comfortable 5:3 lead.
Russians, however, did not want to give up, and they equalized thanks to goals from Nagaev and Lisunov. From that point on, it was a goal for a goal game. And then, Aleksandar Radovic took matters into his hands.
First, he scored what turned out to be a winning goal, a then stole a ball minute before the end of the game.
Montenegrins will play against Italy in the final duel for the fifth place.
Italian national team beat Australia again, after the first triumph in the group phase. Azzurri managed to motivate theirselves again and goalkeeper Stefano Tempesti had a really good performance because he didn’t concide a goal for 16 minutes.
Italians gained a two goal lead in the first quarter (4:2), but Australians managed to come back into the game in the next two periods.
On the other side of the pool, Azzurri had a trouble with converting extra man situations in the third quarter. In the last period however, Italian water polo team finally found the way to the net. Aicardi and Di Fulvio opened the door for the Italy’s win – 8:4.
SPAIN SURVIVED TOUGH JAPAN
Spain beat Japan 13:11 in the semifinal for the ninth place, but it was not an easy game. Asian team even won the first quarter 2:1, but in the next three-quarters, Spaniards showed that they have more quality players.
Spain managed to shake off Japanese in the last quarter when they had a 10:9 lead. Then Espanol scored two consecutive goals and Tahull added one more to finish the game.
The next rival for Spanish water polo player will be Kazakhstan which beat Brazil 9:5.
Kazakhstan team started the game in a good style, a had a three goal lead (4:1) after the first eight minutes thanks to goals from Medvedev, Ukumanov, and Turlykhanov. Brazilians didn’t have enough power to come back to this game.
Greece – Hungary 5:7 (1:2, 3:3, 0:1, 1:1)
Greece: Gennidounias 3, Fountoulis 2
Hungary: Vamos 2, Hosnyanszky 2, Gor-Nagy 1, Erdelyi 1, Harai 1.
Serbia – Croatia 11:12
Serbia: Mandic 1, Randjelovic 1, D. Pijetlovic 2, Prlainovic 6, S. Mitrovic 1
Croatia: Sukno 3, Jokovic 3, Loncar 2, Vukicevic 2, Buslje 2
5th – 8th places
Montenegro – Russia 9:8 (1:1, 4:2, 2:4, 2:1)
Montenegro: Dr. Brguljan 4, Radovic 3, Banicevic 1, Misic 1.
Russia: Lisunov 2, Merkulov 2, Dereviankin 1, Nagaev 1, Kholod 1, Shepelev 1.
Australia – Italy 4:8 (2:4, 2:2, 0:0, 0:2)
Australia: Hollis 2, Kayes 1, Gilchrist 1,
Italy: F. Di Fulvio 2, Figlioli 2 ,N. Gitto 1, N. Presciutti 1, Bodegas 1, Aicardi 1
9th – 12th places
Brazil – Kazakhstan 5:9 (1:4, 2:2, 0:1, 2:2)
Brazil: Coutinho 2, P. Stellet 1, L. R. Silva 1, Carrulo 1
Kazakhstan: Shakenov 2, Ukumanov 2, Medvedev 1, Altayev 1, Shmider 1, Turlykhanov 1.
Japan – Spain 11:13 (2:1, 4:6, 3:4, 2:2)
Japan: Adachi 3, Okawa 3, Arai 2, Shiga 2, Yoshida 1, Takata 1,
Spain: Espanol 5, V. Gutierrez 3, Tahull 2, Munarriz 1, Mallarach 2.