WPWL Men’s Super Final 2015, Bergamo, Day 6 (last): Gold to Serbia, silver to Croatia and bronze to Brazil

World League

Serbia emerged victorious at the FINA Men's Water Polo World League Super Final 2015, the team's ninth success in this competition and the third consecutive. The competition took place in Bergamo (ITA), from June 23-28. In the decisive match, the Serbians beat Croatia by 9-6.

With this victory, the Balkan team claimed the World League trophy, the Olympic qualification and the US$ 100,000 prize money.

Croatia was Serbia‘s valiant opponent in the final and was awarded the silver medal, as well as US$ 70,000 for its second place.

Brazil was the surprising winner of the bronze medal that they conquered at the expenses of the United States, cashing also the US$ 50,000 prize money associated with it. The South Americans win was obtained after a lengthy penalty shootout, which finished 24-23 in favour of the 2016 Olympic hosts.

For the 5th place Australia outshined Hungary, by 9-6, while for the 7th place Italy managed a comfortable win over China (16-9).

Special prizes were awarded to the best player, Dusan Mandic of Serbia, who was voted by coaches and media, the best scorer, Tony Azevedo of the United States, and the best goalkeeper, Josip Pavic of Croatia.

Prize money for the Super Final • 1st Place 100’000.- USD • 2nd Place 70’000.- USD • 3rd Place 50’000.- USD • 4th Place 35’000.- USD • 5th Place 30’000.- USD • 6th Place 25’000.- USD • 7th Place 20’000.- USD • 8th Place 15’000.- USD

Team Standings
1.    Serbia, gold medal
2.    Croatia, silver medal
3.    Brazil, bronze medal
4.    United States
5.    Australia
6.    Hungary
7.    Italy
8.    China

GAME 21: CHINA 9 –ITALY 16 /  (5-3, 1-6; 2-2, 1-5)

CHINA: Honghui WU (GK), Feihu TAN (1), Zhangxin HU, Tao DONG (3), Wenhui LU (1), Li LI, Zhongxian CHEN, Liang GU, Ze Kai XIE (1), Jinghao CHEN (1), Chufeng ZHANG, Nianxiang LIANG (2), Zhiwei LIANG (GK). Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

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


Perhaps the implacable sunshine of the Italian summer at 4 p.m. or the lack of concentration prompted a surprising result at the end of the first period, which China won deservedly 5-3.

It could not last and Italy started gradually to come back, scoring six goals in the second quarter against the one of the Chinese. Italy tied (6-6) in the 2nd quarter on an action goal from Di Fulvio and got the lead with Figlioli, from 5 meters (6-7). Fondelli added up with an extra player goal with less than 2 minutes to the end of the period (6-8). Velotto followed up with an extra player goal at few seconds from the expiration of the period. The score at half time was 6-9.

Less than minute inside the 3rd Luongo scored again for Italy on 3rd penalty allowed to Italy. It was the fourth penalty for Italy; earlier Giorgetti had converted two while Gallo missed one.

Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

A couple of minutes later Liang scored on extra player; so did soon after Aicardi (7-11). At less than 3 minutes to the end of the period Tan narrowed the gap to 3 goals (8-11).
Under coach Malara China has made many steps forward in term of organization, individual skills and team tactics: the six defeats suffered here do not reflect the real current consistence of the Chinese side.

4th Italy scored 5 more goals, China one. For the Italians Fondelli scored twice on action, at 5:35 and 1:22. Aicardi, on a back shot, and Baraldi scored from the center; Presciutti on man-up, at 1:47. Liang scored on action at 50 seconds from the end.

Di Fulvio, Giorgetti, Fondelli and Dong (for China) scored 3 goals each. Di Fulvio was the top scorer of the Italian team with 10 goals in the tournament.

Paolo Malara (China’s coach): "We played a good match. The World League was meant, for us, to gain experience and, indeed, we learned a lot. Our next objective is to qualify for the Olympic Games of Rio 2016".

Alessandro Campagna (Italy’s coach): "The initial approach was not one of the best, the intensity was not constant throughout the match and we made several mistakes. This World League was useful in perspective of the next World Championships".

Game 22: AUSTRALIA 9-HUNGARY 6 / (2-1, 1-2; 4-2, 1-1 )

AUSTRALIA: Joel DENNERLY (GK), Richard CAMPBELL (3), George FORD, John COTTERILL (1), Nathan POWER (2), Jarrod GILCHRIST, Aidan ROACH (1), Aaron YOUNGER (2), Joel SWIFT, Martin TYLER, Rhys HOWDEN, William MILLER, James CLARK (GK). Head Coach: Elvis FATOVIC.

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


Australia finished in fifth place defeating Hungary 9-6 at the end of a game played on slow rhythms. The Magyars looked tired and surrendered in the fourth quarter. Campbell’s three consecutive goals were also crucial to Australia’s success.

1st Q. Hungary scored the first goal of the game with Denes Varga from outside less than a minute after the start.

The Aussies players were combative and aware of their chances. They tied a few minutes later with Younger on counter attack. A few seconds from the end of the 1st period the Australian team went into the lead with a goal from the distance that was netted with the complicity of the Hungarian goalie Nagy. The score at the end of the 1st period was 2-1.

2nd Q. Australia’s #4 Cotterill scored from 2-meters to give Australia a 2-goal advantage, that was short lived as less than half a minute later Vamos scored for Hungary (3-2). At 2:27 Denes Varga scored his second goal on extra man and tied: 3-3 the score at half time.

Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

3rd Q. On the expiration of the opening minute of play Hungary’s captain Daniel Varga scored an action goal and put his in team in the lead. Exactly a minute later Campbell scored on extra man to give Australia a new tie, at 4-4, followed up 33 seconds later by a second goal from the same Campbell: a blaze from outside that shook the post and went into the goal. Australia again in the lead (5-4). Campbell, still hungry, completed his hat trick scoring his third goal on extra man (6-4). Daniel Varga, from 5 meters brought Hungary up (6-5). With 59 secs to go in this period Australia scored with Power, again on extra man (7-5).

4th Q. Australia hopes of victories substantiated when Younger scored his second goal, on extra man, in the early stages of the period , giving his team a 3-goal lead. Game over at 5.27 when Roach scored on action for a 4-goal lead in favor of the Australians.

Erdely narrowed the gap to three goals scoring on extra player at 4:45 (9-6). Madaras was red carded a few seconds before the expiration of the game. Australia missed its last, easy, opportunity on extra player but what they had done before during the game was enough for securing a surprising win against the word champions, and the fifth place in in the Super Final.

Richard Campbell (Australia): "It is always very important to get a winning against Hungary, the World Champions. This gives us confidence for the upcoming World Champions".

Elvis Fatovic (Australia’s coach): "Today we played really well in defense, against the best offense in the world. It is very important to me that we did not go down after the lost against Brazil. I am satisfied with the way the team played this tournament, considering that we did not played official matches for long time before this Super Final".

Miklos Gor-Nagy (Hungary): "We kne

w this would have been a tough match. We missed too many occasions and made too many mistakes"
Tibor Benedek (Hungary’s coach): "The Australians are very strong physically; they kept a constant and high rhythm. In the last period, we gave up. I am not satisfied for this sixth place".

Game 23: BRAZIL 24-USA 23 (after penalty shootouts) / 10-10 after regular time / (1-3, 1-3; 3-2, 5-2; 14-13)

BRAZIL: Vinicius ANTONELLI (GK), Jonas CRIVELLA, Guilherme GOMES (1), Ives ALONSO, Paulo SALEMI, Bernardo GOMES (4), Adrian DELGADO (1), Felipe SANTOS (1), Bernardo ROCHA, Felipe PERRONE (1), Gustavo GUIMARAES, Josip VRLIC (2), Thye BEZERRA (GK). Head Coach: Ratko RUDIC.

UNITED STATES: Merrill MOSES (GK), Connor VIRJEE, Alex OBERT (2), Jackson KIMBELL, Alex ROELSE , Luca CUPIDO (1), Josh SAMUELS, Tony AZEVEDO © (3+1P), Alex BOWEN (1), Bret BONANNI (2), Jesse SMITH, John MANN, Mc Quin BARON (GK). Head Coach: Dejan UDOVICIC.


Team Brazil celebrating their bronze medal. Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

Historic bronze medal for Brazil who defeated the United States 24-23 after three rounds of penalty shootouts. For the victory of the South Americans the mistake of Azevedo at the beginning of the 4th round (it was the 19th penalty, saved by Bezerra) and the subsequent conversion from Crivella were crucial. The regular time ended on 10-10.

1st Q. The United States played as a team, tonic, dynamic and inspired by Tony Azevedo. The captain, blessed by grace, scored four goals, the first on a penalty impeccably converted in the first minute of play, the second on a spectacular counter attack at 1:15. At this time Brazil – the pale copy of the team appreciated in the previous days – scored its only goal with Bernardo Games on extra man, at 4:06  soon answered by USA center Obert, at 2:33. The score at the end of the quarter was 1-3.

Azevedo scored his third goal on extra player 21 seconds inside the second quarter (1-4).  It was Azevedo’s 14th goal in the tournament, which gave him the leadership as the top scorer of the Super Final.

Obert followed up with his second goal from the centre (1-5). Before the end of the period each side scored one goal: Brazil with Guilherme Gomes on action, the United States with Bonanni from 5 meters. 2-6 the score at half time, again 1-3 the score of the period.

3rd Q. 28 seconds after the beginning of the period Santos scored an action goal for Brazil (3-6), immediately answered by Bowen on man-up (3-7).

At 5:32 After some shooting mistakes in the previous periods, Delgado eventually managed his first goal narrowing the gap to3 goals (4-7). At 5:03 Luca Cupido reset the 4-goal gap through a lob shot on counter attack that caught by surprise Antonelli (4-8). Cupido was born in Italy and holds also an Italian passport. Brazil reacted with Vrlic (5-8) and overall won the 3rd  period 3-2.

4th Q. Brazil’s continuous attacks do not produce  a goal until number 6 Bernardo Gomes, at 5:56, scored from the outside on action, reducing the gap to 2 goals (6-8). Just seven seconds later Azevedo scored his fourth goal (6-9) on extra man.  Brazil was not tamed however and did not not surrendered. Bernardo Gomes scored again (7-9). Less than 10 seconds and the USA were up 3 goals again on an action goal from Bonanni. Eventually Felipe Perrone  managed to score his first goal (8-10). At this stage the game was nervous. A decision of the referees is not understood and Brazil calls a time out. Vrlic scored for Brazil on extra man (9-10). With a minute to go the USA tried to keep possession but the last action was for Brazil who had the chance to tie when Samuels was excluded. The chance materialized when Bernardo Gomes shoot from outside, after listening his coach Rudic shouting (“Tira, tira”, “shoot, shoot”), and scored a goal to achieve a miraculous tie, 10-10.

An emotional and exciting match and a miraculous outcome for Brazil. The bronze medal had to be awarded through penalty shootouts.

Brazil won a historic bronze after three rounds of penalty shootouts. The magic touch abandoned Azevedo at the 4th  round, instead Crivella converted.

Penalty shootouts
First round:
USA: Azevedo, Cupido, Bonanni missed (saved), Bowen missed (saved), Samuels,
BRAZIL: Crivella missed (saved), Guimaraes, Guilherme Gomes, Delgado missed (saved), Perrone.

Second round:
USA: Azevedo, Cupido, Bonanni, Bowen, Samuels
BRAZIL: Crivella, Guimaraes, Guilherme Gomes, Delgado, Perrone

Third round:
USA: Azevedo, Cupido, Bonanni, Bowen, Samuels
BRAZIL: Crivella, Guimaraes, Guilherme Gomes, Delgado, Perrone
Fourth round
USA: Azevedo missed (saved)
BRAZIL: Crivella

Luca Cupido (USA): "This was a very nice match both to play and to watch. We allowed Brazil to go back in the match because we lacked concentration".

Ratko Rudic (Brazil ‘s coach): "This was a strong match; at the beginning we let the USA playing with too much freedom. After some minutes we got better, recuperating on the Americans, tying in the final. At penalties we were good and lucky".

Game 20: SERBIA 9-CROATIA 6 / (1-1, 1-3; 3-1,4-1)

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

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


Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

A clash of titans, as predictable. In this Super Final two major powerhouses were confronting for the gold medal. Serbia went into the final as the best team of the tournament while Croatia grew up gradually match after match. The outcome was favorable to Serbia whose team could celebrate its ninth triumph in the Super League, the third consecutive.

1st Q. 2:22 Jokovic scored for Croatia the first goal of the final on extra man (0-1). 32 seconds before the end of the period Serbia’s number 2 Dusan Mandic scored an action goal and tied. 1-1 at the end of the first period.

2nd Q. After 26 seconds Jokovic scored his second goal on penalty. Two minutes inside  the quarter Sukno scored again for Croatia, on extra man (1-3).

At 2:35 Serbia narrowed the gap to just one goal on extra man with Dusko Pijetlovic (2-3). At 30 seconds from the end Vukicevic put Croatia up 2 goal again with a blaze from outside on extra player (2-4).

3rd Q. At 5:47 Dusko Pijetlovic scored on extra man for Serbia (3-4). Soon after Serbia’s number 4 Randelovic was excluded for the rest of the game for three major fouls. At 3:40 Croatia up again with Bukic on extra player.

At 2:26 a penalty was allowed to Serbia for a major foul on Pijetlovic, Prlainovic converted sending Serbia just a goal down. There was heat in the pool and on the pool deck. With 36seconds to the end Serbia’s left hander Mandic shoot a blaze from 5 meters for a perhaps crucial tie. The score before the last period was 5-5.
4th Q. Serbia rushed towards victories with three straight goals: the young Jaksic scored on superiority for the first lead of Serbia (6-5); then Prlainovic scored on action and Cuk on extra player (8-5).

Sukno converted a penalty for Croatia but Dusko Pijetlovic scored one more action goal at three minutes from the end. Game over, 9-6 for Serbia.

Ante Vukicevic (Croatia): "We played well at the beginning, very good in defense and patient in attack. Then, in the second half of the match, we had a black out and
we were to not able to recover. Congratulations to Serbia and to Dusan Mandic. We will try to win next time, at the World Championship".

Zivko Gocic (Serbia): "I am very excited. It was really a tough match, especially at the beginning, when we could not find our game; from the third period on, we conducted the game, and this brought us to victory".