DAY 8, AFTERNOON SESSION: Croatia and Greece make it through to World Championship final
The Men’s Junior Water Polo World Championship final will see a face-off between national teams of Croatia and Greece. In the first semifinal game, Croatia prevailed over Hungary, 6:4, while the Greeks edged out the hosting team, Serbia, 9:8.
Dimitrios Skoumpakis scored an opener for Greece water polo team which was leading during most of the game. Filip Radojevic immediately equalized, and Greece had a chance to convert a penalty shot into another lead, but Radoslav Filipovic was focused. Shortly after that, Alexandros Papanastasiou scored for 2:1, but with support from the stands, Radomir Drasovic tied the result. The scoring continued, so the result was tied again, 3:3, after Iordanis Masmanidis and Djordje Vucinic each netted a goal.
Just like in the first quarter, Skoumpakis and Radojevic scored at the beginning of the second. Then Greece was leading again after a nice goal but failed to seize the opportunity for a 6:4 lead, and Petar Tomic leveled the score (5:5). Greece had a lot of luck and went ahead 6:5 with an extra player, and enlarged the advantage to two (7:5) during their last attack in the first half. In its final second, however, Radojevic scored from 8 meters and the halftime result was 7:6.
The visiting team increased their lead to two (8:6) after netting a goal from seven meters and, already in next attack, Radojevic cut the deficit down to one again. Papanastasiou earned exclusion due to punching Nebojsa Toholj, and the Greeks rapidly achieved 9:7. Serbia had an opportunity to score on several occasions but failed to do so.
The last period was long-term scoreless. Greek defense was on point, and it saw a nervous Serbian offense, which is why the hosting team was not able to get closer. With one minute and 18 seconds left on the clock, Petar Velkic brought down the deficit to one (9:8), but the hosts failed to head into a penalty shootout.
Radojevic was the game’s top scorer with four goals, while Skoumpakis netted three for Greece.
Croatia came to be the first World Championship finalist after beating Hungary, 6:4, in a very tough game.
In a match that saw 26 exclusions, the Hungarians were leading in the first quarter, 1:0 and 2:1, but Croatia had a one-goal advantage at the end of that period (3:2). The teams were fighting hard during the next two quarters. The Croats went ahead 4:2, after which more than 13 minutes passed scoreless, with Croatia failing to score a penalty and increase the lead. However, the difference faded in the final 50 seconds of the third quarter and the teams entered the crucial period tied, 4:4. The hero of the game was Rino Buric who managed to score on two occasions when Croatia had an extra player and thus brought victory for Croatia. Buric and Antonio Duzevic each netted a pair for the winning team, while four different players scored for Hungary.
Spain’s national team suffered a loss in the quarterfinals after its rival made a comeback, but successfully recovered and on Saturday triumphed in a 5-8 classification match against Italy, 12:8. The Italians were better at the opening and reached a 2:0 lead in the middle of the first period. Shortly after, the Spaniards responded and took over the lead thanks to goals scored by Fran Calatrava, Alvaro Granados, and Roger Tahull at the beginning of the second quarter (4:2). They were able to preserve the advantage during the following minutes of the game and, in the last 60 seconds of the first half, Tahull and Oriol Rodriguez increased it to 7:3. Spain enlarged the difference in the middle of the third period, was up by six (10:4), making a huge step towards winning. With two minutes left on the clock, the Italians managed to get down by three (11:8), but they were not capable of doing more. Calatrava netted four goals, and Tahull scored three for the winning team, which will on Sunday compete for the 5th place. Italy’s Edoardo Manzi also found the net four times.
Spain will compete for the 5th place against Montenegro which prevailed over the USA team. Spain and Montenegro already faced each other in the group stage when the Spaniards achieved a convincing 17:12 win.
The USA water polo players were up by one on three occasions in the first quarter, which ended in a draw, 3:3. In the second period, Montenegro took over the lead and kept the minimum advantage until the last minutes of the first half when it went ahead 9:6. Due to successful penalty and counter attack, the USA managed to bring down the deficit to two on two occasions, and even to one at the beginning of the fourth quarter. After having missed five shots, Montenegrin squad finally scored one more goal with two minutes left on the clock for a 12:10 win. The last moments of the match saw some tensions leading to exclusion of two USA players and one Montenegrin. Nikola Moskov and Blaze Mitrovic led Montenegro with three goals, as much as Quinten Osborne scored for the USA.
9 – 20
South Africa – Puerto Rico 9:14 (1:2, 5:4, 2:4, 1:4)
New Zealand – Argentina 3:7 (1:0, 2:3, 0:2, 0:2)
Iran – Egypt 8:16 (1:5, 2:4, 2:4, 3:3)
Netherlands – Japan 6:15 (3:2, 1:1, 2:7, 0:5)
China – Australia 3:14 (0:3, 1:5, 2:1, 0:5)
Canada – Russia 7:14 (1:5, 2:3, 0:5, 4:1)
4 – 8
Spain – Italy 12:8 (2:2, 5:1, 3:2, 2:3)
USA – Montenegro 10:12 (3:3, 3:6, 2:2, 2:1)
Croatia – Hungary 6:4 (3:2, 1:0, 0:2, 2:0)
Greece – Serbia 9:8 (3:3, 4:3, 2:1, 0:1)