World Youth Championships: Balkans’ powerhouses in quarterfinals

Photo: waterpolo.hu/Facebook.com

The four mighty teams from the Balkans advanced directly to the quarterfinals after the group stage of the 4th FINA World Men’s Youth Championships (U-18) in Szombathely (Hungary). The Preliminary Competition was ended today. Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece finished atop of their respective groups and secured spots in the quarterfinals. The eight teams which will play in the playoffs for the quarterfinals are: Australia, Brazil, Italy, the USA, Hungary, Russia, Colombia and Canada.

The Preliminary round saw several big wins, but there were a lot thrilling matches too. The biggest win of the tournament was achieved by Hungary. The hosts trashed Argentina 30:1.

Group A

Montenegro secured the 1st place in a Group A with nice wins over Australia (10:6) and Brazil (12:7) and big triumphs in the matches with South Africa (23:5) and Egypt.

The battle for the 2nd place saw a lot of thrills. The match between Australia and Brazil, which was played today, decided the run for the 2nd place. The sides entered the match with 4 points each. Brazil jumped to an opening 2:0 lead. The “Aussie Sharks” took control after that, but they couldn’t build a big margin. Australia had a 7:5 lead early in the fourth. The Brazilians equalized in the finish of the game (8:8) and the sides shared the points. The point was enough for Australia to keep the 2nd position ahead of Brazil.
The criteria for the ranking of two or more teams equaled in points are the results against the best-placed team in the group. Australia lost to Montenegro 6:10, while Brazil suffered a 7:12 loss

Day 1: South Africa – Brazil 7:11, Australia – Montenegro 6:10.
Day 2: Montenegro – South Africa 23:5,Egypt – Australia 7:11.
Day 3: Brazil – Montenegro 7:12, South Africa – Egypt 14:14.
Day 4: Egypt – Brazil 8:12, Australia – South Africa 14:3.
Day 5: Brazil – Australia 8:8, Egypt – Montenegro 4:21

1. Montenegro 4 – 8
2. Australia 4 – 5 (39:28)
3. Brazil 4 – 5 (38:35)
4. Egypt 4 – 1 (33:58)
5. South Africa 4 – 1 (29:62)

Ranking criteria for the teams equaled in points:  results against the best-placed team in the group.

Group B

The finish of the competition in Group B was very similar to Group A.

Greece did a great job in derby games, as it beat Hungary (15:12) and Russia (13:10). The Greeks secured the top spot after the 4th round, while Russia and Hungary were in a hunt for the 2nd place. They met in the last match of the group stage, this evening. The game was a few turns. The Hungarians dominated the opening minutes and they led 3:1 after their first possession in the 2nd quarter. The second half of the game belonged to the Russians. They had a 2-goal lead (9:7) lead with 03:47 remaining on the clock. Hungary managed to equalize in the last minute and a half. Match ended with no winner – 9:9, both teams ended the group stage with 5 points apiece, but Hungary took the 2nd position.

Day 1: Argentina – Russia 5:20, Hungary – China 22:11.
Day 2: China – Argentina 5:5, Greece – Hungary 15:12
Day 3: Russia – China 15:2, Argentina – Greece 3:13.
Day 4: Greece – Russia 13:10, Hungary – Argentina 30:1.
Day 5: Greece – China 18:6, Russia – Hungary 9:9.

1. Greece 4 – 8
2. Hungary 4 – 5
3. Russia 4 – 5
4. Argentina 4 – 1
5. China 4 – 1

Ranking criteria for the teams with equal points:  results against the best-placed team in the group.

Group C

Italy, Croatia and the USA were the candidates for the top position in Group C. Only one of the encounters between these three teams didn’t see excitements in the last minutes.

On Day 1, Italy beat the USA, despite it was 5:8 down in the middle of the 3rd quarter. In the remaining 12 minutes, the Italians produced a 4:0 rush and won 9:8 with the last goal scored 21 seconds before the final buzzer.

Croatia defeated Italy on Day 2 in a thrilling match. The Croats led from the beginning. But their advantage was never bigger than 2 goals until the last break. Early in the fourth quarter, they jumped to 10:7, and Italy couldn’t come back. The Italians trailed 11:12 in the finish, but they missed an extra-man shot in the last second, so the Croats celebrated a 12:11 win.

The Croats cemented the 1st place after the victory over the USA in the third round. The Americans started pretty well. They led 4:1. Croatia scored five unanswered goals to gain a 6:4 advantage. The Croats controlled everything in the pool to defeat the USA 14:8.

Day 1: Italy – USA 9:8, New Zealand – Croatia 5:19.
Day 2: Croatia – Italy 12:11, Uzbekistan – New Zealand 7:20
Day 3: USA – Croatia 8:14, Italy – Uzbekistan 27:8
Day 4: Uzbekistan – USA 7:26, New Zealand – Italy 8:15.
Day 5: USA – New Zealand 7:3, Uzbekistan – Croatia 6:22

1. Croatia 4 – 8
2. Italy 4 – 6
3. USA 4 – 4
4. New Zealand 4 – 2
5. Uzbekistan 4 – 0

Group D

As it was expected, an outcome of the encounter between Spain and Serbia was crucial for the rankings in the higher part of the table in Group D. Serbia and Spain were the strong favorites. Saudi Arabia, Canada and Colombia couldn’t dream big dreams in this group.

Serbia faced Spain on Day 3. The Serbs earned an opening 2:0 lead. After that, the gap between the two sides was never larger than 1 goal and Spain was in front for most of the time. Before the last period, the score was 7:7. Spain earned 8:7 lead early in the fourth quarter. In the middle of the period, the Serbs equalized, while they scored a winner five seconds from the end for an important 9:8 victory. There were no surprises in other matches, Serbia clinched the top position, Spain finished as 2nd-placed. Colombia stunned Canada (11:6) today and entered the playoffs from the 3rd place in the group.

Day 1: Spain – Canada 19:2, Colombia – Saudi Arabia 24:6.
Day 2: Saudi Arabia – Spain 4:27,Serbia – Colombia 19:8.
Day 3: Canada – Saudi Arabia 22:6, Spain – Serbia 8:9.
Day 4: Serbia – Canada 21:4, Colombia – Spain 7:22.
Day 5: Serbia – Saudi Arabia 26:5, Canada – Colombia 6:11.

1. Serbia 4 – 8
2. Spain 4 – 6
3. Colombia 4 – 4
4. Canada 4 – 2
5. Saudi Arabia 4 – 0

Schedule (road to the medals)

Thursday, August 16th

Australia – Colombia (game 45)
Hungary- USA (game 46)
Brazil – Spain (game 47)
Russia – Italy (game 48)

Friday, August 17th

Montenegro – winner game 45 (game 55)
Greece – winner game 46 (game 56)
Croatia – winner game 47 (game 57)
Serbia – winner game 48 (game 58)

Saturday, August 18th

winner G55 -winner G57
winner G56 – winner G58

Sunday, August 19th

Games for the final rankings

Experimental rules

A set of new experimental rules, proposed by FINA Technical Water Polo Comitee, are being tested at the championships in Szombathely.

The proposals that are included in the rules for the 4th U18 World Championships:

Rules Amendment #1

Rule WP 20 — Ordinary fouls (corner throw)
Existing rule: “The timekeeper recording the possession time shall reset the clock to 30 seconds: c) when the ball is put into play after awarding an corner throw”
PROPOSED rule:The timekeeper recording the possession time shall reset the clock to 20 seconds when a) the ball is put into play after awarding a corner throw, b) after a rebound after a shot which does not cause change of possession and c) after an exclusion.

(If there are more than 20 seconds on the clock at the time of the shot, the time will be reset
to 20 seconds. If there is more than 20 seconds on the shot clock at the time of the exclusion, that greater time will remain.)

Rules Amendment #2

Rule WP 19 — free throws
Existing rule: WP 19.1 – “A free throw shall be taken at the place where the foul occurred”
PROPOSED rule: A free throw shall be taken from the location of the ball, except a) if the foul is committed by a defending player within the defender’s 2 metre area, the free throw shall be taken on the 2 metre line opposite to where the foul was committed and b) where otherwise provided for in the Rules.

Rules Amendment #3

Rule WP 17 — Corner Throws
Existing rule: WP 17.2 – “The corner throws shall be taken by a player of the attacking team from the 2 m mark on the side, nearest to which the ball crossed the goal line. The throw need not be taken by the nearest player but shall be taken without undue delay”
PROPOSED rule:A player taking a corner throw may a) shoot directly, b) swim and shoot without passing or c) pass to another player

Rules Amendament #4

Rule WP 5 — teams and substitutes
Existing rule: WP 5.6 – “At any time in the game the substitute may enter the field of play from the re-entry area as soon as the player has visibly risen to the surface of the water within the re- entry area”
PROPOSED rule: An ADDITIONAL Substitution Re-entry area will be at any place in between the goal line and the center field line on the teams half of field of play (for flying substitutions). [Note: an excluded player or the substitute must always re-enter via the re-entry box in the corner]

Rules Amendment #5

Rule WP 12 — time outs.
Existing rule: There is no current rule for this proposal.
PROPOSED rule: Time out button to be responsibility of the team, i.e one of the (three) team officials occupying the team bench will be pressing the time-out button when the coach calls for a time-out.

Rules Amendment #6

Rule WP 11 — duration of the game
Existing rule: WP 11.2 – “There shall be a five-minute interval between the second and third periods”
PROPOSED rule: There shall be a 3 minute interval in between the second and third period.

Rules Amendment #7

Rule-use of visual effects WP-10 – secretaries
Existing rule: WP 10.1 – the duties of the secretaries shall be: B – to control the periods of exclusion of players and to signal the expiration of the period of exclusion by raising the appropriate flag.
PROPOSED rule: The use of automatic visual effects, surrounding the penalty box. i.e. signalling a) the last 5 seconds of the expiration of the exclusion time b) the time when the excluded player is allowed to come back into the game.

Rules Amendment #8

Rule WP 14 — Method of Scoring
Existing rule: WP 14.3(d) – “A goal may be scored by (d) an immediate shot from a free throw awarded outside 5 meters”
PROPOSED rule: (e) a shot from a free throw taken and awarded outside 6 meters after fake or dribble or putting the ball on the water”
[Note: when the player is not shooting directly, the ball must be put in play as described in the rules before faking and dribbling]

Rules Amendment #9

Rule WP 14 — Method of scoring
Existing rule: WP 14.2 – “A goal may be scored from anywhere within the field play; except that the goalkeeper shall not be permitted to go or touch the ball beyond the half distance line”
PROPOSED rule: The goal keeper is allowed to move beyond and touch the ball past the half distance line.

Rules Amendment #10

Rule WP 12 — time outs
Existing rule: WP 12.1 – “Each team may request one timeout in each period of play”
PROPOSED rule: “Each team may request 2 timeouts during the game at any time, except after the awarding of a penalty throw, by the coach of the team in possession of the ball”

Rules Amendment Proposal #11

Proposed new rule: attacking a player from behind by defender in 6 m. area.
PROPOSAL: Inside the 6m. area, when a player is swimming with and/or is holding the ball and is impeded (attacked) from behind during an attempt to shoot, a penalty foul must be awarded. [Note: unless only the ball is touched by the defender]

Rules Amendment #15

Rule – Appendix B – Signals to be used by officials
Existing rule: There is no current rule for this proposal
PROPOSED rule: The signal to be used by the referee is to point with the left hand to the 6m. line to indicate that the foul was outside the 6m. This rule is applied only in unclear situations around 6m line
(When the referee makes the signal, the signal indicates that the player is allowed to shoot. If there is no signal made by the referee, it means that the player is not allowed to shoot because either the foul or the ball was inside the 6m. area)

Rules Amendment #16

Rule – Audio system for officials
Existing rule: There is no current rule for this proposal
PROPOSED rule: The use of audio equipment by the game referees.

Rules Amendment Proposal #18

Rule — Game Video Monitoring System (GVMS)
Existing rule:There is no current rule for this proposal.
PROPOSED rule:The GVMS will be used to identify and sanction incidents of brutality or extreme violence that occurred but were not appropriately punished or identified during a game.

Other proposals won’t be tested at the Championships in Szombhately

The proposal about moving 5m line to 6 m line for penalty shots won’t be tested anymore. Penalty shots will continue to be taken from 5m. A cone, or similar portable object on the side of the pool will be used to mark 5m since the sideline markers will show the 6m line.

-By the end of the year , proposals will be tested at the FINA World Women’s Youth Water Polo Championships in Belgrade (Serbia, August 27-September 2, 2018), the FINA Women’s World Cup in Surgut (Russia, September 4-9, 2018) and the FINA Men’s World Cup in Berlin (Germany September 11-16, 2018), to be then presented by the Extraordinary Water Polo Congress in Hangzhou, China, in December.

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