Greece wins World Championship title after penalty shootout, Serbia takes bronze
Greece men’s junior national water polo team is the new World Champion. In the gold-medal match, Greece water polo players overpowered Croatia, 12:10, after a penalty shootout and won their second World Championship title.
The 3rd place went to Serbia, which held off Hungary, 12:11, in the bronze-medal match. Montenegro finished 5th after triumphing over Spain, 13:9, and Italy ended up being 7th after defeating the USA, 14:8.
Hungary’s Krisztian Manhercz was named the Championship’s MVP and also the top scorer with a total of 26 goals. Fran Cubranic from Croatia was proclaimed the best goalkeeper. They were handed the trophies by Niculae Firoiu, Farid el Allam and Jacques Racine, TWPC members, Nemanja Marijan, SWPF General Secretary, and Darko Udovicic, World Championship General Manager.
Evgeny Sharonov, TWPC member, and Rasa Ristivojevic, President of the SWPF Business Club, presented the medals and the trophy to Serbia’s national team. Croatian squad received their medals from John Whitehouse, TWPC member, and Slavko Gak on behalf of City of Belgrade, while Gianni Lonzi, TWPC Chairman, and Milorad Krivokapic, SWPF President, handed over the medals and the trophy to the national team of Greece.
The final match saw Croatian players get off to a better start. After two minutes of play, Franko Lazic scored an opener and, in the middle of the first period, Rino Buric seized the opportunity when Croatia had an extra player to double the advantage. Greece’s Dimitrios Skoumpakis made a few shots at the beginning, but Alexandros Papanastasiou netted the first goal for his team before the first quarter ended (1:2).
In the next period, Nikolaos Gardikas equalized and, after several missed shots on both sides, Croatia was up by two again (4:2) after Matias Biljaka and Antonio Duzevic each scored one goal. The result remained unchanged for a long time, but Ivan Domagoj Zovic raised it to 5:2 three minutes before the end of the third quarter, and then it seemed like Croatia will be able to overcome Greece squad’s resistance. However, Charalampos Troulos and Iordanis Masmanidis reduced their team’s deficit in the final moments of that quarter and filled the match with suspense.
As the crucial period began, Pejkovic made the most of an extra player situation and put Croatia up by two (6:4), after which goals by Konstantinos Gkiouvetsis, Gardikas and Dimitrios Nikolaidis followed, and Greece made a big comeback taking over the lead (7:6) with one minute left on the clock. Croatia then failed to score in spite of having an extra player on two occasions, but Jacob Mercep netted an equalizer from a wing position (7:7). The match went into the penalty shootout, where all Greek water polo players were successful, while Croatia’s Franko Lazic missed his shot.
Men’s junior national water polo team of Serbia, the host country of the World Championship, won the bronze medal as it edged out Hungary, 12:11, in a 3rd place match. Even though the victory was narrow in the end, Serbian players were leading by a few goals during most of the game.
Serbia took a 2:0 lead, thanks to goals scored by Veljko Tankosic and Petar Tomic. Later on, the result was even 3:1, but Kristof Szatmari decreased the difference. In the second quarter, Serbia achieved a 6:2 lead in only three minutes of play and was able to preserve that advantage until the halftime. The next part of the match saw the Hungarian water polo players gradually bringing down the deficit, and they were down by two (8:6) in the middle of the third period. The teams were scoring one after another by the end of that quarter, so Serbia entered the final eight minutes of the match with a 10:8 lead. The situation was similar in the crucial period. Serbia had a three-goal advantage on two occasions, while the Hungarians managed to get one goal away from a tie and even had an opportunity to equalize in the last seconds of the game.
The game’s top scorer was Krisztian Mahhercz with four goals, whereas Szatmari added three. On the other side, Serbia’s Tankosic, Tomic, Marko Jankovic, Nikola Radonjic and Petar Velkic each scored a pair. The match was marked by a big number of exclusions, especially when it comes to Serbia’s players, five of whom earned three exclusions and left the match before its end, whereas only one Hungarian player was shown the red card.
Montenegro took 5th place by triumphing over Spain, 13:9. Both teams were each on one occasion up by one in the first quarter which ended in a draw, 2:2. During next 10 minutes, Montenegrins achieved a crucial advantage and had an 8:2 lead after two minutes of play in the third quarter. However, Spain woke up and responded in a similar way, bringing down the deficit to two (8:6) after four minutes. At the start of the final period, the Spaniards were even down by one (9:8), but Montenegro managed to establish a more solid advantage and clinch the 5th spot. Gardasevic was the winning team’s top scorer with four goals, while Alvaro Granados netted one less for Spain.
Italian national water polo team finished 7th after defeating the USA, 14:8. The Italians put on a good performance in the first half, and their scoring streak in the third quarter determined the winner.
Italy took a 3:1 lead in the first period, and the Americans were able to keep parity until the middle of the second quarter when the result was 4:3. In the final moments of the first half, Italy achieved a three-goal advantage (6:3) and later increased it to 9:3, so everything was obvious. The Italians kept going ahead, they were in a 12:4 lead before the start of the last quarter, and finished the game in a routine manner. The top scorers were Italy’s Giacomo Cannella and Mario Guidi together with USA’s Hannes Daube and Ashworth Molthen, with three goals each.
Italy – USA 14:8 (3:1, 3:2, 6:1, 2:4)
Spain – Montenegro 9:13 (2:2, 0:4, 5:3, 2:4)
Serbia – Hungary 12:11 (3:2, 5:2, 2:4, 2:3)
Greece – Croatia 12:10 (1:2, 1:2, 2:1, 3:2 – 5:3)
Final ranking: Greece, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Montenegro, Spain, Italy, USA, Russia, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Netherlands, Egypt, Iran, Argentina, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, South Africa.