Water Polo Reports - Men, Day 2

Kazan 2015 - WP

“Animal” Greece snares USA eagle on second day of men’s water polo competition

Greece was the big winner in second day men’s water polo competition, coming from two goals down to beat United States of America 11-10.

The win took Greece to the top of Group B and showed why its “animal” spirit proved worthy of that position. USA held the lead all match and was 10-8 up with less than three minutes remaining only to watch haplessly as Greece landed the last three goals with 31 seconds spare.

After the match, Ioannis Mylonakis likened his team to animals in the final minutes. In the other group match, Italy came out firing then went to sleep in its 9-6 win over Russia. Italy won the second period 5-0.

In Group A, Canada kept China scoreless in the first half and went on to win 8-2 for second spot. Croatia maintained top spot with a 10-9 victory over Brazil.

In Group C, Hungary downed South Africa 17-4 and Kazakhstan outlasted Argentina 15-7.

In Group D, Australia and Montenegro battled to a 5-5 draw with Montenegro controlling for much of the match before a three-goal burst took the Aussie Sharks one ahead, only to see that five-minute lead lost 22 seconds from time. Serbia beat Japan 19-9 in a most entertaining encounter.

Points after day two:

Group A: Croatia 4, Canada 2, Brazil 1, China 1.

Group B: Greece 4, USA 2, Italy 2, Russia 0.

Group C: Hungary 4, South Africa 2, Kazakhstan 2, Argentina 0.

Group D: Serbia 4, Australia 3, Montenegro 1, Japan 0.

Match 16: 21:30, Group A, CROATIA 10 BRAZIL 9

Quarters: 4-2, 4-2, 1-2, 1-3

Referees: Daniel Flahive (AUS), Mark Koganov (AZE), Extra Man: CRO:
Pens: BRA: 1/1.

CROATIA: Josip Pavic, Damir Buric (1), Antonio Petkovic, Luka Loncar (1), Maro Jokovic, Luka Bukic (1), Petar Muslim, Andro Buslje (1), Sandro Sukno (3), Fran Paskvalin (1), Andelo Setka, Paulo Obradovic (2), Marko Bijac. Head coach: Ivica Tucak.

BRAZIL: Vicinius Antonelli, Jonas Crivella (2), Guilherme Gomes, Ives Gonzalez (1), Paulo Salemi, Bernardo Gomes (1), Adrian Delgado (1), Felipe Silva, Bernardo Rocha, Felipe Perrone (2), Gustavo Guimaraes, Josip Vrlic (2). Head coach: Ratko Rudic.

CRO vs BRA ©Giorgio Scala for Deepbluemedia

Match report:

Croatia had control from start to finish, although Brazil made sure that accolade was hard won. Croatia was dominant in the first half and Brazil in the second but it fell short of a draw. Croatia opened with the first two goals but Brazil levelled. However, Croatia took a two-goal lead into the second quarter and doubled the score by halftime. Brazil was not fazed by the Croatians and guided by the great Ratko Rudic, continued to be a thorn in the side of the Olympic champion. Brazil won the third period, making for an interesting final period, keeping the dwindling crowd enthralled. The first goal went to Brazil to narrow the match to two. Josip Vrlic made an easy task of a powerful backhand from two metres. The match was seemingly put beyond Brazil’s reach when Obradovic scored off extra-man attack at 3:10 for 10-7. However, once again, Brazil was a thorn with Adrian Delgado squeezing one in from the deep right on extra and then Vrlic on the next attack from the deep left. Game on at 10-9! Guilherme Gomes had a shot blocked just inside the last minute and Croatia had two attacks for no result. Then Loncar grabbed the head of a Brazilian and was excluded, giving Brazil a timeout at 0:11. The shot came from Crivella but it was smacked away by the defence and Croatia survived with the win.

Match 15: 20:10, Group A, CHINA 2 CANADA 8

Quarters: 0-3, 0-3, 1-1, 1-1

Referees: Stanko Ivanoski (MNE), Gyorgy Kun (HUN).

Extra Man: CHN: 1/5. CAN: 1/5.

Pens: CAN: 1/1.

CHINA: Honghui Wu, Feihu Tan (2), Zhangxin Hu, Tao Dong, Wenhui Lu, Li Li, Zhongxian Chen, Lun Li, Zekai Xie, Jinghao Chen, Chufeng Zhang, Nianxiang Liang, Zhiwei Liang. Head coach: Paolo Malara.

CANADA: Robin Randall, Constantin Kudaba (2), Oliver Vikalo (1), Nicolas Constantin-Bicari (1), Justin Boyd (1), David Lapins, Alec Taschereau, Kevin Graham, Matt Halajian, John Conway, George Torakis, Jerry McElroy (3), Dusan Aleksic. Head coach: Alexander Beslin.

Match Report:

It’s all about control and Canada showed it in spades with an excellent first half that left China wondering what it had to do to break through for a debut goal. In fact both teams were bewildered about the inability to score for nearly the first six minutes. Then Canada found the formula and started applying it with Constantin Kudaba and Jerry McElroy scoring twice in just over 90 seconds. Canada crossed the line three more times in the first  five minutes of the second quarter and then both teams threw up a forest of arms, restricting any scoring. Canada, however, had a clean sheet. McElroy converted a penalty for his third when 5-0 and earlier Nicolas Constantin-Bicari scored a majestic centre-forward goal, rising high, then swiveling before unleashing his shot. The second half was all about defence as well with a goal apiece the best result in the third period and the first goal of the fourth coming at 1:53 through Constantin Kudaba and straight after Feihu Tan, who plays in Italy, drove left to score for 2-8, the final score of the match.

CHN vs CAN ©Giorgio Scala for Deepbluemedia


Alex Beslin (CAN) — Head Coach

“It was a big difference from playing Croatia (lost 7-12). This is our goal to look forward and get further into the competition. Our defence was great, restricting China to two goals. Our man-down defence was also great. We still have to fix some things in offence.”

Robin Randall (CAN) — Goalkeeper

“Incredible defence. Every person blocked and Jerry (McElroy gained a hat-trick (three goals). It was fantastic defence.. We had a lot of energy before the game and we have to carry that forward to our clash with Brazil (on Friday).”

Kevin Graham (CAN)

“We're very satisfied with this performance, obviously especially on the defensive end. Holding an opponent at a World Championships to scoring just two goals speaks well for a team's defence and we wanted to stress that after allowing Croatia to score 12 goals in our opening game. The plan was to re-establish our defence this game, which should carry us through the tournament. We want to have real pressure when we press, but be also very mobile when we help. Today we did that and, of course, a team like Brazil will be difficult to keep at scoring just a couple of goals, but we certainly want to keep them to as few as possible.”

Paolo Malara (ITA) — China Head Coach

“We were not in the match. The first period was very good but then Canada went 4-0 and then 5-0 and 6-0. We played, step by step, better. Second, third and fourth was very good. The first was not very good. I asked them for a reaction on contra attack, but…”

Match 15: 18:50, Group B, RUSSIA 6 ITALY 9

Quarters: 1-1, 0-5, 3-1, 2-2

Referees: Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU), Radoslaw Koryzna (POL).

Extra Man: RUS: 2/9. ITA: 4/9.

Pens: RUS: 1/1. ITA: 0/1.

RUSSIA: Anton Antonov, Alexey Bugaychuk, Artem Odintsov, Igor Bychkov, Albert Zinnatullin, Artem Ashaev, Vladislav Timakov (1), Ivan Nagaev (1), Konstantin Stepaniuk, Dmitrii Kholod (3), Sergey Lisunov (1), Lev Magomalev, Victor Ivanov. Head coach: Erkin Shagaev.

ITALY: Stefano Tempesti, Francesco di Fulvio (1), Alessandro Velotto (1), Pietro Figlioli (1), Alex Giorgetti (2), Andrea Fondelli, Massimo Giacoppo (1), Nicholas Presciutti, Niccolo Gitto (1), Stefano Luongo (1), Matteo Aicardi (1), Fabio Baraldi, Marco Del Lungo. Head coach: Alessandro Campagna.

RUS vs ITA ©Giorgio Scala for Deepbluemedia

Match report:

You cannot allow a team to slip five goals against you in a quarter and expect to survive. After a tight opening quarter, Italy let loose against Russia with five unanswered goals in the second quarter to leave 6-1 at halftime and have a subdued packed near-capacity house in this fantastic temporary arena, contemplate what could have been during the halftime break. Head coach Erkin Shagaev, a man who knows what adversity is and how to overcome it with Olympic gold in 1980 with the USSR, inspired his team during those five minutes. The third period belonged to Russia and must have pleased the Russian Sports Minister who made the trek from Moscow. Italy missed a penalty attempt and then Dmitri Kholod, who scored his team’s first goal, netted from deep left off a cross pass. Sergey Lisunov nailed an extra-man attempt from one metre in front off a cross pass and the match had lifted to 3-6. Stefano Luongo silenced the crowd with a blast from nine metres, but Kholod slotted his third from deep left for 4-7 going into the final break. Russia was back in the match. However hard Russia tried to breach the Italian defence, it could not but then neither could Italy do the same at the other end. The time ticked down and then the breakthrough came when Russia took a timeout and the extra-man play went over the 20 seconds but still netted a goal through Vladislav Timokov for 5-7 at 2:52. Italy then punished Russia on extra with Alex Giorgetti scoring from the top at 2:16. Russia had two chances on the one extra-man attack to no avail. Italy just had to play for time but lost the ball and gave up a controversial penalty at the other end, which Ivan Nagaev converted for 6-8 at 1:02. Italy shot and gained a corner and then an extra-man situation. The ball slid across for Alessandro Velotto to score for a 9-6 victory.


Alessandro Campagna (ITA) — Head Coach

"I am satisfied about the game, especially for the first two-quarters. We played excellent. At the end the result was clear. We had no doubts about our victory. It is always difficult to outplay the competitor, but this time we controlled the game. Our aim is to arrive at the top. I don't know if it will be the first place but we want the best for our team. We are a young team, but our dream is to get to the semifinal or final. We'll try."

Pietro Figlioli (ITA)

“In the first two quarters when 6-1 up we demonstrated that there was no competition whatsoever. We controlled the game in front, middle and back. We fell into our vortex, so to speak, and lost control on attack, rushing passes to centre forward. It’s one of our biggest weaknesses. When we play controlled water polo we can contend with any team.”

Dmitrii Kholod (RUS)

"I feel very bitter. We have lost two matches. We understood initially that the Italians have the top team, prepared ourselves to give them a fight but we could to do that only at some points of the game. At first, we were losing (1-6) but we managed to bring the score down. We would like you to understand that 95% of our guys are newcomers, they have no experience of playing at world championships. And this, surely, plays a role." 

Match 14: 17:30, Group B, SERBIA 19 JAPAN 9

Quarters: 2-1, 6-2, 5-3, 6-3

Referees:  Masoud Rezvani (IRI), Stephane Roy (CAN).

Extra Man: SRB: 6/10. JPN: 4/8.

Pens: JPN: 1/1.

SERBIA: Gojko Pijetlovic, Dusan Mandic (1), Zivko Gocic, Sava Randelovic (1), Milos Cuk (1), Dusko Pijetlovic (4), Slobodan Nikic (6), Milan Aleksic, Nikola Jaksic (1), Filip Filipovic, Andrija Prlainovic (3), Stefan Mitrovic (2), Branislav Mitrovic. Head coach: Dejan Savic.

JAPAN: Katsuyuki Tanamura, Seiya Adachi (1), Atsushi Arai (1), Mitsuaki Shiga, Akira Yanase, Atsuto Iida, Yusuke Shimizu, Yuki Kadono (1), Koji Takei (3), Kenya Yasuda, Keigo Okawa (3), Shota Hazui, Tomoyoshi Fukushima. Head coach: Yoji Omoto.

SRB vs JPN ©Giorgio Scala for Deepbluemedia

Match Report:

Serbia was never in trouble, but had to be on its mettle against a forceful Japan keen to upset as much as possible. The speedy Japanese were sharp on attack, trying everything and coming up with goals, almost at will. Japan opened the scoring and Serbia had the lead by quarter time, stretching that to 6-1 as Slobodan Nikic scored three goals. Japan kept chipping in goals as the margin became five at halftime and seven by three-quarter time. With Koji Takei in excellent form, Japan scored three of the five goals late in the second quarter. Takei and Keigo Okawa scored two of the first three at the start of the final quarter, lifting the match to 14-8. Then Serbia said “enough is enough” and scored five of the next six with Nikic claiming his fifth and sixth from point blank. It was a most entertaining match from two different styles played at their best.


Jivko Gocic (SRB) 

"On the face of it, Japan appears to be not an easy rival. They are small, fast, nimble, so that it was difficult to play with them. It was a nice training before we can play with more serious competitors. We expect to get good results, so we should not relax with any kind of rivals."

Match 13: 13:30, Group A, AUSTRALIA 5 MONTENEGRO 5
Quarters: 0-2, 1-1, 1-1, 3-1
Referees: Boris Margeta (SLO), Sergey Naumov (RUS).
Extra Man: AUS: 1/6. MNE: 2/4.
Pens: MNE: 1/1.
AUSTRALIA: James Stanton-French, Richard Campbell, George Ford, John Cotterill (1), Nathan Power, Jarrod Gilchrist, Aiden Roach (1), Aaron Younger (3), Joel Swift, Emery Mitchell, Rhys Howden, Tyler Martin, Joel Dennerley. Head coach: Elvis Fatovic.

MONTENEGRO: Dejan Lazovic, Drasko Brguljan (1), Vjekoslav Paskovic, Uros Cuckovic, Darko Brguljan (1), Aleksandar Radovic, Mladan Janovic (2), Aleksa Ukropina, Aleksandar Ivovic (1), Nikola Murisic, Filip Klikovac, Predrag Jokic, Milos Scepanovic. Head coach: Ranko Perovic.

Match report:
This was a match between two teams hell bent on defence. Such tight defence was allowed by the referees and the major foul count was low. There were few gaps in which to move and the strong defensive tactics meant fewer meaningful shots. Goalkeepers were plucking balls from the air that lacked the normal intensity and were channeled to their bodies. Montenegro’s goals came from extra-man attacks and a penalty. Australia’s two goals in the middle two periods were from well outside. Montenegro looked the more potent in front of the goal and several long passes found their mark but the smothering defence interfered with the finishing. This was not a pretty match, but that was the nature of the game, where victory was more important than the spectacle. Montenegro led 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 before Aaron Younger scored his second from six metres on the first attack of the final period to close the gap to 3-4. Aidan Roach levelled on the next Aussie Shark attack from a counter attack. All of a sudden, the match had opened up. Younger struck again on extra-man attack for the 5-4 lead, making it three goals from three trips up the pool. For five minutes there was no score but then Mladan Janovic worked hard for the foul outside five metres, gained it and then lobbed James Stanton-French for 5-5 at 0:22. The Sharks went on the attack and gained and exclusion when a player threw the ball away (nowadays it is a penalty). Australia protested but the referees let the game continue and Australia failed to take a shot in the final six seconds, accepting the draw. A relatively dour match ended in excitement.


Predrag Jokic (MNE)

"Till now it has been the least effective match at this championship. The reason is that both teams were counting on defensive play and were constantly looking back at their goals. A team as good as the Australians would never let you make mistakes without any further consequences. We were the leaders of the game, most of the time we controlled the game but we let through three goals in three minutes. How did it happen? I can't understand that."

Nathan Power (AUS)

I like to think I’m using my full power at this championship. I’m satisfied with the game today. We played a really, really good defensive game and we like to believe that defense is our main focus.  Although we didn’t get to win today, unfortunately they were able to score at the very end, I thought the way we were able to grind it out with one of the top teams in our sport was a very, very positive sign of us moving forward in this tournament.” 

Match 12: 12:10, Group A, SOUTH AFRICA 4 HUNGARY 17

Quarters: 1-4, 0-4, 2-4, 1-5

Referees: Fabio Toffoli (BRA), Peter De Jong (NED).

Extra Man: RSA:  0/3. HUN: 3/10.

Pens: RSA: 1/1.

SOUTH AFRICA: Dwayne Flatscher, Etienne Le Roux, Devon Card, Ignardus Badenhorst, Nicholas Hock (1), Joao De Carvalho, Dayne Jagga (1), Jared Wingate-Pearse, Dean Whyte, Pierre Le Roux, Nicholas Molyneux (2), Wesley Bolata, Julian Lewis. Head coach: Paul Martin.

HUNGARY: Viktor Nagy, Miklos Gor-Nagy, Norbert Madaras, Balazs Erdelyi (3), Marton Vamos (2), Norbert Hosnyanszky (1), Daniel Angyal (1), Marton Szivos (1), Daniel Varga, Denes Varga (5), Krisztian Bedo (1), Balazs Harai (3), Attila Decker. Head coach: Tibor Benedek.

Match Report:

Hungary cruised to a comfortable victory against an energetic South Africa, determined to make an impact on the match. Solid South African defence and some off-target shots (channeled by the defence) kept the scoring low for the normally goal-hungry Hungarians. South African Number 13 Julian Lewis revelled in the occasion with nine saves in 22 minutes in the water, giving confidence to his team on attack. Denes Varga was at his belligerent best, showcasing his excellent skills with one particular slow drive that gained enough space to receive and lob.  He finished with five goals. Balazs Harai enjoyed some space at centre forward and Norbert Hosnyanszky would have hoped for more success from his rocket shots. Nicholas Molyneux scored twice with 18-year-old Dayne Jagga’s centre-forward strike in the fourth especially rousing. After the match he raced off to get a photo with the Hungarian goalkeeper to savour the moment. Hungary slipped further away in the final period with two counter-attack goals that South Africa was hoping would not happen, in the mix.


Paul Martin (RSA) — Head Coach
“We placed a lot of effort on our defensive structures. Defence has to come first with plenty of blocking to help the goalkeepers. Unlike in the past we’ve now got guys who can attack. The fact that they can drop and set up the structure helps. Defence comes from proper attack. The team goal was no counter-attack goals. It was a hell of a lot different from the past. They only scored three on extra. This is one of the better performances against the world’s best-ranked teams. It’s not often we score four goals against a top side.”

Match 11: 10:50, Group B, KAZAKHSTAN 15 ARGENTINA 7

Quarters:  5-2, 3-3, 5-1, 2-1

Referees: Nenad Peris (CRO), Hatem Gaber (EGY).

Extra Man: KAZ: 5/13. ARG: 3/11/

Pens: Nil

KAZAKHSTAN: Aleksandr Fedorov, Sergey Gubarev (2), Aleksandr Axenov (4), Roman Pilipenko (1), Vladimir Ushakov, Alexey Shmider (3), Murat Shakenov (1), Anton Koliadenko, Rustam Ukumanov, Yevgeniy Medvedev, Ravil Manafov, Branko Pekovich (4), Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Sergey Drozdov.

ARGENTINA: Diego Malnero, Ramiro Veich (1), Tomas Galimberti, Andreas Monutti, Emanuel Lopez, Tomas Bulgheroni (2), Juan Pablo Montane, Esteban Corsi, Ivan Carabantes (1), Julian Daszczyk, Franco Demarchi, German Yanez (3), Franco Testa. Head coach: Nahuel Alfonso.

Match report:

Kazakhstan rose to the occasion, thanks to the vocal crowd that was obviously behind its Russian neighbour. Kazakhstan went 4-0 ahead and the margin was trimmed to two and then three on four occasions before the sword fell and the goal started coming for the more experienced team. Argentine German Yanez, who plies his trade in Spain, scored at the death of the second quarter and again with the last goal of the third in his three-goal effort, but otherwise it was a barren scoresheet for the South Americans. Branko Pekovich scored twice early in the third and either side of the last break to lead his team. Two of his goals were from centre-forward drags into the bottom corner off cross passes.


Sergey Drozdov (KAZ) — Head Coach

We started well and then in the second quarter we had a little rest. After that we found our right plays and our defence was good. We tried to make some tactical experiments on extra man so that was good. However, we need to make more of our defence, especially when a goal up.

Match 10: 09:30, Group B, GREECE 11 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 10

Quarters: 3-3, 1-3, 4-3, 3-1

Referees: Francesc Buch (ESP), Voijin Putnikovic (SRB), Extra Man: GRE: 2/10. USA: 5/13.

Pens: Nil

GREECE: Konstantinos Flegkas, Emmanouil Mylonakis (3), Georgios Dervisis, Konstantinos Genidounias, Ioannis Fountoulis (4), Kyriakos Pontiekas, Christos Afroudakis, Evangelos Delakas (1), Konstantinos Mourikis (2), Christodoulos Kolomvos, Alexandros Gounas, Angelos Vlacholopoulos (1), Stefanos Galanpoulos. Head coach: Theodoros Vlachos

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Merill Moses, Nikola Vavic, Alex Obert, Jackson Kimbell, Alex Roelse (1), Luca Cupido (1), Josh Samuels (2), Tony Azevedo (2), Alex Bowen (1), Bret Bonani (1), Jesse Smith, John Mann (2), McQuin Baron. Head coach: Dejan Udovicic.

Match Report:
USA promised so much and failed to deliver the killer blow against Greece, going down fighting against a Greek onslaught that was spearheaded by the wily Emmanouil Mylonakis. It was Mylonakis who scored on extra to narrow the match to 9-10 at 2:43 and it was he who equalised a minute later, also on extra. With the match in the balance, it was left to Evangelos Delakas to squeeze in a shot from deep left to seal the match at 0:31. USA was hugely unlucky not to have gone three goals ahead when 8-6 ahead midway through the third period. The centre forward had his head almost removed from his shoulders but it went unseen by the referees and Angelos Vlachopoulos scored at the other end while controversy reigned poolside. Then more controversy as USA veteran captain Tony Azevedo drew a five-metre foul and scored the goal. Greece complained vehemently and the referees conferred but decided the goal stood. USA had the two-goal margin it seemingly deserved. Then Ioannis Fountoulos became the man of the moment for Greece, scoring his fourth goal on extra, from deep left on the buzzer for 8-9. Dutch convert Alex Roelse netted for his new country for the 10-8 score and the rest was history. Greece levelled at three, four and 10 and both head coaches took yellow cards in the heated event. There was earlier controversy when Greek head coach Theodoros Vlachos called his second timeout of the second period. After some time it was decided that USA would get the ball, as per the rules, but USA head coach Dejan Udovicic thought it should have been a penalty. Because the call was made when in possession of the ball, there was no penalty awarded.

Ioannis Mylonakis (GRE) — four goals
“It was a bad game for us today. We were not focused on our defence, at all. But we played like animals in the final minutes and that gave us the win. Now we look forward to play Russia in front of many spectators with hopefully not as much stress as we had today.”

Dejan Udovicic (SRB) — USA Head Coach
“I don’t know how but we succeeded to beat ourselves. Instead of scoring three on contra and expand out lead to plus three, we gave them the opportunity to return back. We are a young team and learning, so from this game we will take a lot.”

Tony Azevedo's (USA) comments after the match:
"Greece is a very good team, and we made really bad mistakes at the end of the game. We could have been up three goals with 2 minutes left instead we gave them a go - and made two bad mistakes at the end. Our team is very upset. This is a learning lesson. But we are still in this tournament, we have Italy next game and we will learn."