WPWL Men’s Super Final 2015, Bergamo, Day 3: Third win for Serbia, second for Hungary, Croatia and Italy

World League

On the third day of the preliminary round Serbia won 12-8 against a tough Australian side and ended Group B only undefeated team with 9 points. In the same Group (B) Italy beat the United States 13-10 and took the second place behind Serbia.

Hungary, who today crushed Brazil, finished on top of Group A, with Brazil in second place.

Second victory for Croatia who beat China on Day 3. The Chinese collected three losses and zero points. The most interesting match of the quarter finals should be between Croatia and Italy, two neighboring nations and traditional rivals.

Rankings after Day 3

Group A: 1. Hungary 9, 2. Brazil 6, 3. Croatia 6, 4. China 0.
Group B: 1. Serbia 9, 2. Italy 6, 3. Australia 3, 4. United States 0.

Program of Quarter Finals: Friday 26th June

2A Brazil-3B Australia at 16:00
1A Hungary-4B United States at 17:20
3A Croatia-2B Italy at 18:40
4A China-1B Serbia at 20:00


Game 9, Group B: SERBIA 12 – AUSTRALIA 8 / (2-2, 4-3; 3-1, 3-2)

SERBIA: Gojko PIJETLOVIC (GK), Dusan MANDIC (2), Zivko GOCIC ©, Sava RANDELOVIC, Milos CUK (1), Dusko PIJETLOVIC, Slobodan NIKIC (2), Milan ALEKSIC, Nikola JAKSIC, Filip FILIPOVIC (4), Andrija PRLAINOIVC (1), Stefan MITROVIC (2), Branislav MITROVIC (GK). Head Coach: Dejan SAVIC.

AUSTRALIA: Joel DENNERLY (GK), Richard CAMPBELL (1), George FORD, John COTTERILL (1), Nathan POWER, Jarrod GILCHRIST (1), Aidan ROACH, Aaron YOUNGER (1), Joel SWIFT, Martin TYLER, Rhys HOWDEN (1), William MILLER, James CLARK (GK). Head Coach: Elvis FATOVIC.


SRB vs AUS. Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

The score at half time, 6-5 for Serbia, reflected exactly the situation in the pool, with Serbia looking overall stronger and Australia, also a well balanced team, capable of staging a serious opposition.

The team coached by Elvis Fatovic played openly, without any fear, again the mightier Serbia, and in the first half of the game Australia almost managed a tie.

1st Q. The Australians scored first but Serbia took soon command with two consecutive goals but a minute before the expiration of the period Australia’s #8 Younger nicely netted a flying ball received from Roach (2-2).

2nd Q. The teams traded goals, most on extra-player, until the score was 5-5, with Serbia infallible (4 out of 4 x-man opportunities). Close to the expiration of the period Filipovic scored again on x-man. The score at half time was 6-5 (4-3).

3rd Q. Australia’s #12 Miller tied 6-6 on x-man. Then Serbia managed to distance themselves from their opponents with 3 consecutive goals: two from its left handed strikers, Filipovic, on penalty, and Mandic, on x-man. Near the end of the period an action goal from Stefan Mitrovic brought the score to 9-6 (3-1).

4th Q. Australia’s captain Howden scored his second goal with a central  throw from outside, narrowing the gap to 2 goals.

Soon after, through a powerful and precise throw, a real blaze, Serbia’s # 10 Filipovic scored his 4th goal in the match and became momentarily the top scorer of the tournament. A couple of minutes later, at half time in the last period, Nikic scored again for Serbia, putting his team up 4 goals: 11-7, game over.

Filipovic who was twice the top scorer in a World League Super Final, in 2011 and 2014, together with team mates Gocic and Nikic has also the record of victories in the World League: he has won this competition 8 times, out of 13 previous editions.

Serbia’s #6 Dusko Pijetlovic was hit in the face and, his nose bleeding, had to leave the water. He protested but was shown a red card.

Dusan Mandic (Serbia): "It was not an easy match, as we were still tired from the match of yesterday evening against Italy. After such a match, resting for 16 hours is not enough. Now we will concentrate on the quarter finals".

James Clark (Australia): "We played a good match, also considering that Serbia is the first team in the pool and the team I believe will win this World League".

Game 10, Group A: HUNGARY 16 – BRAZIL 3 / (3-1, 6-1; 4-1, 3-0)

HUNGARY: Viktor NAGY (GK), Miklos GOR-NAGY, Norbert MADARAS (1), Balasz ERDELYI (2), Marton VAMOS (2), Norbert HOSNYASKY (3), Ferenc SALAMON (3), Daniel ANGYAL, Daniel VARGA © (1), Denes VARGA (2), Toni NEMET, Balazs HARAI (2), Attila DECKER (GK). Head Coach: Tibor BENEDEK.

BRAZIL: Vinicius ANTONELLI (GK), Jonas CRIVELLA, Guilherme GOMES, Ives ALONSO, Paulo SALEMI, Bernardo GOMES, Adrian DELGADO, Felipe SANTOS (1), Bernardo ROCHA, Felipe PERRONE (2), Gustavo GUIMARAES, Josip VRLIC, Thye BEZERRA (GK). Head Coach: Ratko RUDIC.


HUN vs BRA. Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

The first two days told a tale a sparkling Brazil and a not so brilliant Hungary. Impossible to predict that today Hungary would play at his best and would not only shadow its opponents but also bury them under an avalanche of goals: 16 to 3, a difference of 13 goals. Benedek’s team was focused, precise, determined, in a word, was playing at his best: 10 out of 13 the extra man opportunities converted in goals.

No goals for five minutes then both number 10 scored for their respective team: Felipe Perrone, Brazil’s captain, was first; his goal was answered a minute later by Denes Varga with a diagonal throw from the long distance. Hosnyaszky followed up with an extra player goal, delivering the first advantage to Hungary. Salamon stroke again less than a minute before the end of the 1st period. Brazil missed a great opportunity with two extra players at few seconds from the expiration of the period (3-1).

In the 2nd and 3rd quarter the supremacy of Hungary became devastating (13-3; 6-1, 4-1); its players scored seven consecutive goals. The Hungarian side was gradually getting to roll in its usual top level routine, while Brazil appeared less convincing than the first two days. The score at half time tells it all: 9-2 (6-1).

It is worth to note that Hungary beat Brazil who beat Croatia who in turn beat Hungary.

Ratko Rudic (Brazil’s coach): "Our opponents were more prepared than us, also on a psychological level. We are a team that has a way of thinking not up to level yet for this kind of competition. This loss, however, will be very important and will push us to improve ou game".

Felipe Perrone (Brazil): "It was really a bad day for us but we have to remember that they are the champions while we are still at the beginning; so, the difference in goals is not very important at the moment for us. The problem was not only that they were stronger than us but also that we were still tired from the match of yesterday".

Tibor Benedek (Hungary’s coach): "The team played very convincingly. After a lost match, generally you are more nervous and you want to give more. We wanted this win that is fundamental for the quarter of final, when we will really understand the value of today's match. I hope in the next future we will continue following this path".

Balàzs Erdélyi (Hungary):"After we lost yesterday against Croatia, we wanted to make the difference today. Overall we played very well, scoring 16 goals and also the defense played well, with only 3 goals against. After Brazil beat Croatia, we expected our match would be tough but we played really well and won".

Game 11, Group A: CHINA 4 – CROATIA 14 / (1-3, 0-4; 2-3; 1-4)

CHINA: Honghui WU (GK), Feihu TAN (2), Zhangxin HU, Tao DONG (1), Wenhui LU, Li LI, Zhongxian CHEN, Liang GU, Ze Kai XIE, Jinghao CHEN, Chufeng ZHANG, Nianxiang LIANG (1), Zhiwei LIANG (GK). Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

CROATIA: Josip PAVIC, Damir BURIC, Antonio PETKOVIC (2), Luka LONCAR (1), Maro JOKOVIC (1), Luka BUKIC (1), Ante VUKICEVIC (2), Andro BUSLJE (1), Sandro SUKNO (2), Fran PASKVALIN, Andelo SETKA (1), Paulo OBRADOVIC (3), Marko BIJAC. Head Coach: Ivica TUCAK.

REFEREES: Filippo GOMEZ (ITA), Joe PEILA (USA) FINA DELEGATE: John WHITEHOUSE China-Croatia (group A) 4-14

CHN vs CRO. Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

It was a one way game, played at low rhythm. Croatia was in absolute command of the game and did not need to push hard to crush the combative Chinese team, resigned to the inevitable defeat. The 10-goal difference seemed a logical consequence of what the teams had offered during the 32 minutes of effective play.

Nine different players scored goals for Croatia. Number 12 Obradovic was the top scorer with three goals. Petkovic and Sukno scored 2 goals each. For China the only multiple scorer was Tan, also with 2 goals.

For Croatia it was the second consecutive win, for China the third loss in three matches.

Damir Buric (Croatia): "It was a relatively easy game. We have great respect for our opponents but we do not fear anyone. At this time, it is premature to talk about the final, we only know that we are playing to get there".

Paolo Malara (China’ coach): "We have continued to repeat the same mistakes of the previous games, and we must try not to commit them again. In addition, we have some players who remained in China, and their absence was felt."

Game 12, Group B: UNITED STATES 10 – ITALY 13 / (3-3, 0-4; 3-2, 4-4)

UNITED STATES: Merrill MOSES (GK), Connor VIRJEE (1), Alex OBERT, Jackson KIMBELL, Alex ROELSE(1), Luca CUPIDO(1), Josh SAMUELS (2), Tony AZEVEDO © (2), Alex BOWEN (1), Bret BONANNI (1), Jesse SMITH, John MANN (1), Mc Quin BARON (GK). Head Coach: Dejan UDOVICIC.

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI (GK) ©, Francesco DI FULVIO (3), Alessandro VELOTTO, Pietro FIGLIOLI (3), Alex GIORGETTI, Andrea FONDELLI, Nicholas PRESCIUTTI, Valentino GALLO (3), Niccolò GITTO (1), Stefano LUONGO (2), Matteo AICARDI (1), Fabio BARALDI, Marco DEL LUNGO (GK). Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.


USA vs ITA. Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

It was a brilliant game, well played. The teams played at the same level in both the first and the last quarter, both tied respectively at 3-3 and 4-4. The Italians were more brilliant in the central periods, and sharper shooters.

1st Q. 21 seconds after the first whistle Italy’s #2 Di Fulvio scored an action goal from the distance. His goal was answered less than half a minute later by the USA center forward Bonanni, also on action. Figlioli on extra man brought Italy ahead again. Then came a goal from Virjee who tied 2-2. Italy center Aicardi brought Italy up again but Bowen tied again for the USA (3-3).

2°Q. A mistake of the American defense opened highways for Italy’s Gallo who, alone in front of the USA posts, scored an action goal, the 4th for Italy. The USA answered with Samuels on penalty (4-3). Then Di Fulvio scored again on a counter attack pushing Italy up 2 goals. Figlioli and Luongo followed up with a goal each. At half time Italy was 4 goals up (3-7).

3rd Q. Italy’s number 7 Valentino Gallo scored both the last goal of the 2nd period and the first of the 3rd period. After13 minutes and a half from the previous USA goal Roelse scored again while Samuels followed up (5-8).

Hat trick for Di Fulvio who grabbed a ball lost by the Americans and shoot from two metres (5-9). Bonanni scored his second goal on a 2-men up situation: 3-2 for the USA in the 3rd period, 6-9 the score before going into the last period.

4th Q. An early goal from Luongo put Italy in the comfort zone. Cupido reestablished the 3-goal gap (7-10). Third goal for Figlioli (7-11) followed by a goal from Gitto (7-12). Two consecutive goals from the USA’s captain Tony Azevedo narrowed the gap to 3 goals (9-12). Third goal and hat trick also for Gallo (9-13). USA’s Mann signed the last goal of the match. 13-10 for Italy.

Between the Italia posts made his debut the goalkeeper Marco Del Lungo who successfully substituted Tempesti for much time between the posts.

John Mann (USA): "Though we made some mistakes, we played a good match and kept fighting till the very end. I am satisfied as we are progressing in our game.  I am looking forward for the match tomorrow".

Dejan Udovicic (USA’s coach): "It is never easy to play against Italy and, furthermore, in their own pool. We are the youngest team in the competition and we need more experience. We played well the first and the third period but we made some childish mistakes in the match. Nevertheless, I am satisfied the way my team played as we are improving. I think we will soon become one of the strongest teams and one of the toughest to play against".

Alessandro Campagna (Italy’s coach): "We played three tough matches against three great teams, taking home our points. Now we have three more tough days ahead of us. We hope we will go forward as far as possible".

Alex Giorgetti (Italy): "We were sure we could win this match but, to do that, we needed to impose our game and we did it throughout the entire match, without getting too tired, in order to save energies. Tomorrow we will play against Croatia that is a team we like a lot to play against because we have been fighting against them for years”.