WPWL Men’s Super Final 2015, Bergamo, Day 4: Brazil, Usa, Croatia And Serbia advance to semifinals

World League

The Quarter Finals took place on the fourth day of the tournament. The day when the Quarter Finals are played is considered the most crucial of the whole tournament: no tactics, no speculation, no compromise. It’s either you or me. I win and go through, you lose and are out of the medal contest.

None of the four games played today was disappointing. Instead the outcome of each of the first three matches was partially unpredictable.

The answer of the field was favorable to Brazil, the United States, Croatia and Serbia. Brazil beat Australia after a hard fought and strenuous math; the United States surprisingly triumphed over Hungary; Croatia prevailed over the home team Italy at the end of a tight match and after penalty shootouts; Serbia dominated over China a match that tasted like a friendly or a common training for them.

Tomorrow the losers will play the semifinals for the fifth place, the winners for the first place.

Schedule of semifinals, 27 June, 2014
Australia-China at 4:00 pm for 5th place
Italy-Hungary at 5:20 pm for 5th  place
Brazil-Serbia at 6:40 pm for 1st place
Croatia-United States at 8:00 pm for 1st place

GAME 13: BRAZIL 9– AUSTRALIA 8 / (1-2, 2-2; 4-2, 2-2)

BRAZIL: Vinicius ANTONELLI (GK), Jonas CRIVELLA, Guilherme GOMES (1), Ives ALONSO, Paulo SALEMI, Bernardo GOMES, Adrian DELGADO (2), Felipe SANTOS, Bernardo ROCHA, Felipe PERRONE (3), Gustavo GUIMARAES (1), Josip VRLIC (2), Thye BEZERRA (GK). Head Coach: Ratko RUDIC.

AUSTRALIA: Joel DENNERLY (GK), Richard CAMPBELL, George FORD (1), John COTTERILL (1), Nathan POWER (1), Jarrod GILCHRIST (1), Aidan ROACH, Aaron YOUNGER, Joel SWIFT (2), Martin TYLER (1), Rhys HOWDEN (1), William MILLER, James CLARK (GK). Head Coach: Elvis FATOVIC.


This match was a confrontation between two teams of similar strength and characteristics: great mobility, fast swimming and heavy pressing. This explains why for nearly seven minutes both teams were scoreless (also because a couple of goals were disallowed, one per side) and both the final and split scores. The teams tied the 2nd and the 4th quarters  (2-2); Australia won the 1st (2-1), Brazil the 3rd  (4-2) 

Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

After the start Australia took the lead scoring two consecutive action goals, with Gilchrist and Tyler. Brazil’s reaction produced a goal from Vrlic towards the end of the first period, and one from Perrone at 22 seconds inside the second period, when he tied 2-2-for Brazil. The teams continued trading goals until Vrlic tied again (6-6) near the end of the 3rd period and Perrone followed up with his third goal from a 5-meter throw, giving Brazil its first lead (7-6) at 18 seconds to the end of the third period.

Australia’s centre Swift tied (7-7) 17 seconds after the beginning of the last period. Delgado and Guilherme Gomes made the decisive break by 9-7 for Brazil at half time in last period, re-establishing the 2-goal gap. The last goal of the game came from Cotterill at 1:48 from the end of the game: 9-8; Australia stopped just one goal shy of the tie also because in the last half minute Brazil, always inspired by its captain Perrone, the lighthouse of the team, defended the possession of the ball until the final siren.
The Brazilians celebrated this very important win at full, both in the water and on the pool deck. Coach Rudic was totally satisfied.

He told us: “ Australia is a good team and they know how to play but today my players have done everything right: fast rhythm, few mistakes, pressing, great defense. They did not leave too much space to our opponents, instead they showed a great discipline and precision in shooting”.

Felipe Perrone (Brazil’s captain): "This was a great day for us: for the first time ever, we managed to go further than the quarter of final in such a prestigious tournament; with this match, we wrote a new page in the history of Brazilian water polo. It was a tough and important match; we played very concentrated from the very first minute and reached our goal".
Elvis Fatovic (Australia’s coach): "Brazil deserved to win. I asked my players to be very concentrated, especially in defense but their level  of attention was low. Both teams made numerous mistakes".

Joel Dennerley (Australia’s goalkeeper): "We knew this was not going to be an easy match; Brazil confirmed itself as the revelation of the tournament. Unfortunately we made too many mistakes".

Game 15: HUNGARY 7-USA 8 /  (0-2, 3-1; 3-3, 1-2)

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

UNITED STATES: Merrill MOSES (GK), Connor VIRJEE, Alex OBERT, Jackson KIMBELL, Alex ROELSE, Luca CUPIDO (1), Josh SAMUELS (1), Tony AZEVEDO © (3), Alex BOWEN (1), Bret BONANNI (1), Jesse SMITH, John MANN (1), Mc Quin BARON (GK). Head Coach: Dejan UDOVICIC.


Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

The penalty converted by captain Tony Azevedo at 2 seconds from the end enabled the United States to defeat Hungary and conquer the semifinals for the first place. For the USA it was the first win in four matches. The match was decided in the last minute by two penalties: the first one converted by Denes Varga (7-7); the second one, decisive, by Azevedo (8-7).
After two initial thundering throws that shook the posts, Hungary suffered the first goal of the match on a extra player goal from Azevedo.
At 38seconds to the end of the 1st period the USA scored again with Bonanni, on penalty, leading 2- 0 after the first eight minutes.

Was it Hungary’s turn to score? Not yet. Instead the USA’s number 7 Samuels scored the 3rd goal nearly 3:18 minutes inside the 2nd  quarter. Eventually the first goal from Hungary came after 11:22 minutes from the beginning of the game with Harai on extra player. Hungary followed up and tied (3-3) with two goals from 5 meters  scored respectively by Denes Vargas and Salamon. 

In the 3rd quarter an extra goal from USA’s number 6 Cupido was answered by an action goal from Madaras followed up less than a minute later by a goal from Erdely on man-up and the second goal from Madaras from 5 meters. At his point Hungary was 2 goals ahead and seemed to be on the right path for victory. It wasn’t so. The USA answered with an action goal from their center, John Mann (a player with a great international experience also at club level: he played in Serbia for the Red Star, in France for Marseille and in Spain for Barceloneta, winning national titles everywhere), and a 5-meter goal from Azevedo. The 3rd period ended on 6-6.

The Magyars seemed disturbed by the high rhythm of the Americans and nervously tried to take in their hands the reins of the game. Certainly they did not expect such a strong challenge from the USA.In the 4th period Bowen put the USA up one again through an action goal answered by Denes Varga who converted a penalty. It was a new tie, on 7-7.

Hungary had two players excluded for the rest of the game, Hosnyansky and Erdelyi.

They managed it nylon penalty allowed when there are only 50 seconds to the end.

In the last minute the USA have the ball and insist.  Vamos commits a major foul on Cupido and the USA are allowed a penalty, great opportunity for scoring the winning goal. Azevedo was ready for the execution but Vamos disturbed him and was red carded. Azevedo did not miss the opportunity and converted: 7-8 for the USA. Game over, curtains down and opposite sentiments of coaches and players of the two teams. Moses, the USA goalie, contributed to the unpredictable victory of his team with some great saves, including one, decisive, which denied Denes Varga a goal on a penalty shot in the second quarter.

Dejan Udovicic (USA’s coach): "We are the youngest team in the tournament. Winning against the world champions, who have more experience than us, means a lot to us".

Alex Obert (USA): "We played as a team, much better than usual. We have to keep playing like today".

Tibor Benedek (Hungary’s coach): "We knew USA were a tough team. It was a very tense match. We lost our last chance of winning with the penalty allowed to the USA".

Game 14: CROATIA 14 – ITALY 12 / (10-10 after regular time; 3-1, 2-5; 3-0; 2-4) (4-2 after penalty shootouts)

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

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI (GK) ©, Francesco DI FULVIO (3), Alessandro VELOTTO, Pietro FIGLIOLI, Alex GIORGETTI (2), Andrea FONDELLI, Nicholas PRESCIUTTI, Valentino GALLO (1), Niccolò GITTO, Stefano LUONGO (2), Matteo AICARDI (1), Fabio BARALDI (1), Marco DEL LUNGO (GK). Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.
Goals on penalty shootouts: for Croatia Jokovic, Petkovic, Setka, Vukicevic; for Italy Luongo and Presciutti.


Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

It was an exciting match between two teams that know each other very well. It could be resolved only through penalty shots as the regular time ended with a 10-10 tie. Both teams tried hardly to win, and each team had his good moments. Croatia had a better start but Italy managed to be always in the game thanks to the great character of its players. Croatia took immediately command of the operations, focused, determined, well organized and precise. Jokovic scored the first goal on a penalty, Sukno doubled on extra man. Italy answered with an action goal from Luongo. But the Italians lacked some discipline and  coach

Campagna lost his voice trying to give them the right directions. While the Croats added up with an extra player goal from Obradovic (3-1) Italy’s second goal came only past the half of the 2nd period, from Giorgetti, also on man-up (3-2). Then Buslje and Baraldi scored an action goal each until Di Fulvio tied for Italy with a man-up goal (4-4). Italy goes up one goal with Gallo who scored from 5 meters; so did Sukno a few second later, scoring his second goal, also from 5 meters (5-5). The match went on till the end on this plot. Croatia’s star Sukno and Italy’s  young talent Di Fulvio were the top scorers of the game with 3 goals each.
Penalty shootouts were required to resolve the tie at 10-10.

For Italy Luongo and Presciutti converted their penalties while the throws of Gallo and Di Fulvio were saved by Pavic. For Croatia the goals were scored by Jokovic, Petkovic, Setka and Vukicevic.  On 4-2 for Croatia no further penalty was required.

Damir Buric (Croatia): "It is never easy to play against Italy. The Italian players were able to recover from out first advantage. The match was particularly tough. We did not play the perfect match: if we had done so, we could have avoided the penalties".
Alessandro Campagna (Italy - coach)

"I am very happy about the way my team played. I have nothing to be angry about with my players; instead, I have to thank them because they played with the heart. It was a highly spectacular match".

Game 16: CHINA 10-SERBIA 25 /  (5-6, 0-7; 3-5, 1-7)

SERBIA: Gojko PIJETLOVIC (GK), Dusan MANDIC (3), Zivko GOCIC © (2), Sava RANDELOVIC (1), Milos CUK (1), Dusko PIJETLOVIC (3), Slobodan NIKIC (5), Milan ALEKSIC (2), Nikola JAKSIC (2), Filip FILIPOVIC (1), Andrija PRLAINOIVC (2), Stefan MITROVIC (3), Branislav MITROVIC (GK). Head Coach: Dejan SAVIC

CHINA: Honghui WU (GK), Feihu TAN (1), Zhangxin HU (1), Tao DONG (4), Wenhui LU, Li LI (1), Zhongxian CHEN, Liang GU (1), Ze Kai XIE, Jinghao CHEN, Chufeng ZHANG, Nianxiang LIANG (2), Zhiwei LIANG (GK). Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.


Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

For Serbia this match meant no more than a friendly or a common training match; for China it was one more opportunity for measuring themselves with a top team, the favorite for the final victory in this Super Final. However, in the first quarter the Chinese managed to score 5 goals: too many for Serbia’s coach Dejan Savic, who decided to substitute  the goalkeeper Gojko Pijetlovic with the second one Branislav Mitrovic. China’s coach Paolo Malara too choose to field from the start the second goalie Zhiwei Liang. Nikic for Serbia (5 goals) and Dong for China (4) were the top scores.
Branislav Mitrovic (Serbia): "It was an easy match, now we will prepare for the game against Brazil".
Dejan Savic (Serbia’s coach): "The result tells already that this was, an easy match for us. To tell the truth, in the first two periods we were too relaxed. Now, we will think at the match against Brazil, who demonstrated really a lot in this tournament. We will have to be very careful".

Paolo Malara (China’s coach): "We managed to play at the same level of Serbia only  in the first period. Then, we made several silly mistakes for which we paid a lot. This tournament was very useful for us, we gained experience".