Water Polo Reports - Men, Day 3

Kazan 2015 - WP

Hungary, Serbia, Croatia and Greece surge into men’s water polo quarterfinals

 Kazan, July 31.— Serbia came from two down in the final quarter to defeat Australia 10-9 and earn a quarterfinal berth in men’s water polo day-three action.

The Aussie Sharks controversially had two goals disallowed at the death and had to be satisfied with second in the group. Australia and Montenegro finished tied on points after a 5-5 draw between them two days earlier, but had the better goal differential. In the final Group D match, Montenegro squeezed out Japan 15-10.

Earlier, Hungary claimed the first quarterfinal spot with a 21-4 rout of Argentina, playing its first FINA World Championships. It was a third big win for the defending champion in Group C. Kazakhstan took second spot with a 14-3 win over hapless South Africa.

In Group A, Croatia smashed China 17-1 for group victory and Canada turned a 4-0 opening lead against Brazil into a 10-6 margin for the group’s second spot.

In Group B, Greece produced some top-shelf water polo against Russia, winning 15-11 to take out the group and United States of America settled for second with an 11-9 victory over Italy.

Final points:

Group A: Croatia 6, Canada 4, Brazil 1, China 1.

Group B: Greece 6, USA 4, Italy 2, Russia 0.
Group C: Hungary 6, Kazakhstan 4, South Africa 2, Argentina 0.
Group D: Serbia 6, Australia 3, Montenegro 3, Japan 0.

 August 2

Preliminary Round Programme

10:50, CHN v RUS

12:10 ARG v JPN

13:30 CAN v ITA

17:30 BRA v USA

18:50 KAZ v MNE

20:10 RSA v AUS

Match 24: 21:30, Group B, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 11 ITALY 9

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

Referees: Boris Margeta (SLO), Nenad Peris (CRO).
Extra Man: USA: 3/9. ITA: 1/10.
Pens: ITA: 2/2.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Merrill Moses, Nikola Vavic (3), Alex Obert (1), Jackson Kimbell (1), Alex Roelse (1), Luca Cupido, Josh Samuels (1), Tony Azevedo (2), Alex Bowen, Bret Bonanni (2), Jesse Smith, John Mann, McQuin Baron. Head coach: Dejan Udovicic.

ITALY: Stefano Tempesti, Francesco di Fulvio (4), Alessandro Velotto, Pietro Figlioli (1), Alex Giorgetti (2), Andrea Fondelli, Massimo Giacoppo, Nicholas Presciutti, Niccolo Gitto, Stefano Luongo (1), Matteo Aicardi (1), Fabio Baraldi, Marco Del Lungo. Head coach: Alessandro Campagna.

USA vs ITA ©Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match report:

USA took second spot in the group, coming from 1-3 down to going three ahead in the third period and onwards to victory. For the last match of the day, it was another wonderful match. Italy look set for a great match with a 3-1 start, thanks to two Alex Giorgetti scores, one on extra and the other a penalty goal. USA then had the better of the second half of the period, levelling the match through Josh Samuels 19 seconds from the break. Jackson Kimbell then gave USA the lead with a pass down the post line on extra. Pietro Figlioli received a gift pass close in from his centre forward to level. Nikola Vavic and Alex Obert took the USA to 7-5 and Italian centre forward Matteo Aicardi pulled one back, giving USA a 7-6 halftime lead. The margin stretched to three through captain Tony Azevedo and Bret Bonanni, the highest goal-scorer at last year’s FINA World Cup in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  Francesco di Fulvio, who scored the first and fourth goals for Italy, claimed his third from outside five metres to close the third-period scoring. Stefano Luongo made it 8-9 from deep left after the exclusion period a minute into the final quarter. Then Vavic scored his third goal on counter down the right side at 3:20 for 10-8. The match was put beyond doubt by Alex Roelse at 1:24 with a missile from downtown Kazan. Italy responded with a di Fulvio penalty conversion at 1:06, improving chances for a draw and second spot on goal differential. However, it was not to be and di Fulvio’s last shot was taken in by goalkeeper McQuin Baron.


Tony Azevedo (USA) — Captain

We played very well and Italy is a great team. It proved that we should have beaten Greece (lost 10-11) and finished first in the bracket. Every game is like an Olympic game. We would dream of winning a medal here, but our focus is the Olympic Games (in Rio). We now meet Brazil on Sunday. We did what we needed to do and finish the job (beating Brazil in the final at the Pan Americans in Toronto recently) to qualify for the Olympic Games. Brazil is a lot more hungry this time.

Match 23: 20:10, Group A, BRAZIL 6 CANADA 10

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

Referees: Mark Koganov (AZE), Gyorgy Kun (HUN).

Extra Man: BRA: 3/8. CAN: 3/11.

Pens: BRA: 0/1.

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

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

©Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match Report:

Brazil was still smarting from a two-goal loss to the USA in the recent Pan American Games when it took on the team from the other half of America. That two-goal deficit was returned in spades, making it a six-goal turnaround and head coach Alek Beslin wants more from his team. The victory was built on a 4-0 opening stanza that didn’t see Brazil enter the match until three minutes into the second period. From then on the teams matched each other. The best differential for Brazil was when Felipe Silva converted consecutive shots for 2-4. From then on when Brazil grabbed one back, Canada went out to four until late in the fourth period when David Lapins became Canada’s eighth scorer for 10-5. Centre forward Josep Vrlic closed the match at 2:18.


Aleksandar Beslin (CAN) — Head Coach

“It’s still not the result we want to be. We had a really good buildup. Three weeks ago we lost to Brazil (by two goals). In Toronto there was so much pressure at the Pan American Games. There was some hesitation in Toronto but it was a big relief this evening. It is the step up we would like. Our man up was not so good and our man down was oscillating. However, the structures flowed very well. Defence was the key to the victory.”

Ratko Rudic (CRO) — Brazil Head Coach

“We prepared well for this game. I was really close to the referee. I saw different from what the referee saw. I was really close to the game. Everything started a little wrong for us. Probably we came here after two strong competitions — the World League and the Pan Americans. We prepared as well as possible. I was preparing the game plan, but we didn’t apply the game plan. A lack of concentration; our shooting was not good; so many mistakes on defence; players were not mentally ready for the game. You cannot keep a high level all the time. It will be useful for us to analyse and make corrections. Brazil has potential. We must play more and more and with confidence.”

Match 22: 18:50, Group B, GREECE 15 RUSSIA 11

Quarters: 5-2, 3-2, 5-3, 2-4

Referees: Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU), Francesc Buch (ESP).

Extra Man: GRE: 6/9. RUS: 5/14.

Pens: GRE: 1/1. RUS: 1/1.

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

RUSSIA: Anton Antonov, Alexey Bugaychuk (2), Artem Odintsov (1), Igor Bychkov (1), Albert Zinnatullin, Artem Ashaev, Vladislav Timakov, Ivan Nagaev (3), Konstantin Stepaniuk (1), Dmitrii Kholod, Sergey Lisunov (2), Lev Magomalev, Victor Ivanov. Head coach: Erkin Shagaev.

©Andrea Staccioli Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Match report:

Greece announced its return to the top echelon of world water polo with a dominant outing against Russia. Russia may have started the scoring, but Greece slammed in the next four goals and the die was cast. Russia’s Sergey Lisunov and Greek counterpart Konstantinos Mourikis closed the quarter with centre-forward goals. When Konstantin Stepaniuk scored from the right to open the second-quarter scoring, the crowd went crazy. Greece slipped the match out to 7-3 and 8-4 by the long break. Russia must have heeded head coach Erkin Shagaev’s words at halftime as Ivan Nagaev converted a penalty and then dragged in a rebound to score for 9-6 at 5:35. Greece was unhappy with the situation and sent in three straight in three minutes, including a penalty strike by Ioannis Fountoulis, his third goal of the match. He scored his 10th of the week after Igor Bychkov gave Russians heart a flutter with his valuable score from out the top. Greece led 13-7 at the final break.  Angelos Vlachopoulos scored his second two minutes into the final period. Spurred on by an adoring packed house, Russia then blitzed the Greek goal, first through Lisunov on extra off an angled pass, then from Alexey Bugaychuk from eight metres and finally by captain Artem Odintsov on extra from close in, for 14-10. Mourikis arrested the slide on extra, dragging down a high pass and Nagaev increased the intensity with a reply on extra for 15-11 at 2:10. It was his third of the match and fifth for the week. For Russia to score 11 goals and lose, was heroic and augers well for what is a young and relatively inexperienced team.


Theodoros Vlachos (GRE) — Head Coach

“I believe we did a very good job in our group. There were strong games and good refereeing. We want to go as far as possible in this tournament. Both teams do not know each other and the match was strong and difficult.” On Greece not being at this level for some years: “Not since the bronze medal in Montreal (2005). This year or next year we hope to make something happen. The situation in Greece is very difficult and if we can make something here it would be fantastic and make people at home proud of us.”

Ioannis Fountoulis (GRE) – four goals

''We're satisfied to top this group despite a tough draw. After a great win over Italy, we didn't do well in the game against USA, but we took the victory, which we needed. And today playing Russia we showed great offensive potential. But in defence we should be very unhappy with our performance. We received maybe the most goals not only in the group, but in the tournament. And that is something that makes us think a lot because in the latter stages every goal will be important. It's not so much that we don't do well in man-down but we are too passive in defence. We need to move more and help each other better, especially during set plays.”

Erkin Shagaev (RUS) — Head Coach

“The Greek team is a higher level to us; that was noticeable today. The start was not good and we must score (early). We need to play more games of this level. The best thing was that they didn’t give up and kept fighting like previous games. We need to improve and skills, physical condition and experience.”


Match 21: 17:30, Group A, CROATIA 17 CHINA 1

Quarters: 4-1, 5-0, 7-0, 1-0

Referees: Daniel Flahive (AUS), Masoud Rezvani (IRI).

Extra Man: CRO: 3/11. CHN: 0/5.

Pens: CHN: 0/1.

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

CHINA: Honghui Wu, Feihu Tan, Zhangxin Hu, Tao Dong, Wenhui Lu, Li Li, Zhongxian Chen, Lun Li, Zekai Xie, Jinghao Chen, Chufeng Zhang (1), Nianxiang Liang, Zhiwei Liang. Head coach: Paolo Malara.

CRO vs CHN ©Andrea Staccioli Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Match Report:

Croatia made a statement when it thrashed China with a display of speed and efficiency that produced the biggest goal streak of the tournament. It started with a burst of three goals, was punctuated by a fantastic Chinese angled pass to the far post for captain Chufeng Zhang to bat in and that was it. Croatia just went on the rampage, shutting China out for the rest of the match. The only respite for China was the final quarter. Croatia went for the throat at every occasion and showed why many people have said that it’s the team to beat in Kazan.


Maro Jokovic (CRO)

''We're satisfied with the first place in the group being directly qualified for the quarterfinals. But we're still finding ourselves and have a lot to improve on. Looking back we had a tricky game against Brazil and are yet to play a big game. But now we will have three days off to prepare for the quarterfinals. And as we have left all injuries behind us, I'm sure things this second part of the championships will only go uphill.''

Paolo Malara (ITA) — China Head Coach

“After losing to Canada (2-8) it was important for us to lift for the future. We need to work hard mentally. Croatia is one of the best teams in the world. It is not possible that we play this way. No good for me, for China or my players.”

Match 20: 13:30, Group D, JAPAN 10 MONTENEGRO 15

Quarters: 2-3, 2-5, 2-5, 4-2

Referees: Dion Willis (RSA), Massimiliano Caputi (ITA).

Extra Man: 

Pens: JPN: 2/3. MNE: 3/3.


JAPAN: Katsuyuki Tanamura, Seiya Adachi, Atsushi Arai, Mitsuaki Shiga (1), Akira Yanase (3), Atsuto Iida, Yusuke Shimizu (1), Yuki Kadono (1), Koji Takei (4), Kenya Yasuda, Keigo Okawa, Shota Hazui, Tomoyoshi Fukushima. Head coach: Yoji Omoto.

MONTENEGRO: Dejan Lazovic, Drasko Brguljan (1), Vjekoslav Paskovic (3), Uros Cuckovic, Darko Brguljan, Aleksandar Radovic (4), Mladan Janovic, Aleksa Ukropina, Aleksandar Ivovic (4), Nikola Murisic (2), Filip Klikovac (1), Predrag Jokic (1), Milos Scepanovic. Head coach: Ranko Perovic.

JPN vs MNE ©Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia

Match report:

Both teams entertained in a match that Montenegro dominated and Japan kept firing back with goals from time to time, exploding in the final quarter when all was lost. The close start expanded to a 7-2 margin in favour of Montenegro before closing the half at 8-4. A three-goal burst at the top of the third left the crowd in no doubt about the eventual winner. There were three penalty goals early in the match and three others in the later part with Montenegro scoring three and Japan claiming two from three. All players relished turning at centre and the referees accommodated them. Japan’s extra burst in the final quarter lifted the match and its scoring to double figures. Japan’s first two goals were scored by dynamo Koji Takei and the last two as well. In fact, Montenegro was shut out of the final four minutes while Japan scored three goals.

Match 19: 12:10, Group D, SERBIA 10 AUSTRALIA 9

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

Referees: Radoslaw Koryzna (POL), Georgios Stavridis (GRE).

Extra Man: SRB: 2/7. AUS: 2/5


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

AUSTRALIA: James Stanton-French, Richard Campbell, George Ford, John Cotterill (1), Nathan Power (1), Jarrod Gilchrist, Aiden Roach, Aaron Younger (3), Joel Swift (2), Emery Mitchell, Rhys Howden (1), Tyler Martin (1), Joel Dennerley. Head coach: Elvis Fatovic

©Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia

Match Report:

Serbia won a topsy-turvy encounter, leading 3-1 early and then blowing a 6-4 advantage to go behind by two goals. Serbian experienced floated to the top at the start of the fourth period and the game — a real thriller — ended in the “natural order”. The Aussie Sharks opened proceedings through captain Rhys Howden, then Serbia struck back with three goals in the next four minutes through Slobodan Nikic, Milos Cuk and Dusko Pijetlovic. Nathan Power fumbled with the ball at centre forward, but still managed to score for 3-2.

Aaron Younger levelled the match on the first attack of the second quarter from five metres and then goals were traded until Milan Aleksic gave Serbia the 5-4 lead going into the halftime break. Stefan Mitrovic gave Serbia a two-goal advantage to start the third, but then the unthinkable happen as the multi-champion team had to watch as Australia fired in four unanswered goals by the aggressive Sharks, coming from centre forward on extra (Joel Swift), a five-metre lob (John Cotterill), a drive deep left (Younger) and then a nine-metre shot (Younger, for his third). To cap it, Serbia blew a four on none counter with superb Australian defence. Serbia nearly grabbed one back after a timeout with an Aleksic shot channelled to goalkeeper Joel Dennerley. Australia was two clear against the multiple World League champion that dominated with World League, European and World Cup success last year. It did not take Serbia too long to catch up — less than three minutes — through Aleksic on extra and then Mitrovic on a pinpoint pass to the far post. Serbian captain Zivko Gocic regained the lead with strike from the top on action at 4:18. The imbalance had been redressed. Australia had some poor luck when a shot that seemingly crossed the line was not awarded and then a Younger shot off a free throw from well outside was disallowed so the referee could eject the Serbian, much to the despair of the Australian bench. Swift made no mistake with his extra-man attempt from point blank at 1:36 for 9-10 and something head coach Elvis Fatovic said to the referee earned a yellow card. Cotterill hit the crossbar with a long lob and Serbia nearly lost the ball in the rebound. Serbia’s shot at the other end was astray and Australia had the last 13 seconds, gained an exclusion at 0:01, but the shot was blocked. What an excellent encounter!


Elvis Fatovic (AUS) — Head Coach

“I’m proud of my team, the way they played They are a much more experienced team. It’s hard playing Montenegro and Serbia (in the group). They should be stronger. I think we proved in one game that anything is possible. That’s our plan.”

Joel Dennerley (AUS) — Goalkeeper

“It was a good effort definitely by the boys. Serbia is very good but on their attack we channeled the ball and they played pressure zone. Our counter defence was strong and our defence between players on man down was quite solid.”

Joel Swift (AUS) — Centre Forward

“It’s disappointing to lose but it’s still a good result. We’ve been building together for a few years now and everyone’s on the same page. A lot of us played younger age groups together and I think most of the team has played together for four or five years now, so there’s a lot of spirit and everyone knows the nuances of the things we can do and we know we’re always in a match.”


Match 18: 10:50, Group C, HUNGARY 21 ARGENTINA 4

Quarters: 6-2, 3-1, 6-1, 6-0

Referees: Sergey Naumov (RUS), Peter De Jong (NED).

Extra Man: HUN: 7/11. ARG: 0/5.

Pens: Nil

HUNGARY: Viktor Nagy, Miklos Gor-Nagy, Norbert Madaras (1), Balazs Erdelyi (2), Marton Vamos (4), Norbert Hosnyanszky (2), Daniel Angyal (1), Marton Szivos (3), Daniel Varga (1), Denes Varga (5), Krisztian Bedo, Balazs Harai (2), Attila Decker. Head coach: Tibor Benedek.

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

©Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia

Match report:

Hungary breezed through to the quarterfinals with a third big victory of the week. Sharpening skills for the later rounds with little serious pressure may not be the best preparation for the critical part of the tournament, but the world champions made the most of their time in the water. Argentina actually opened the scoring in the first minute through a sweeping backhand by big centre forward Emanuel Lopez. Hungary took it to 5-1 and 6-2 at the break before advancing to a comfortable 9-3 at halftime. Hungary closed the gate for Argentina in the second half — not before allowing one goal to slip through from Lopez on a cross pass at centre forward — as Denes Varga collected the last three goals in a wonderful display of accurate passing, inter-personal communication and finishing prowess. The champion is ready to tangle with the best in the coming week.


Tibor Benedek (HUN) — Head Coach

On playing three “easy” matches in the group stage: “I’m happy with the way we’re playing but the start of the championships for us will be in three days. We will play some friendly half-hour matches with Croatia and Serbia in the coming days and these will be more similar to the three group games.”

Ivan Carabantes (ARG) — Captain

“First of all it was an honour to play with them. It must have been fun for Hungarian water polo. It was a very emotional game for us. We prepared the best we could — 100 percent body and mind. They are really talented players like the Varga brothers. We played well for the first two quarters, but in the second half the difference in levels appeared and the match opened for them.” On the best part of the match for Argentina: “Our soul. We have to learn a lot, as this is our first time at World Championships. It was a pleasure to train and play this type of game.”

Match 17: 09:30, Group C, SOUTH AFRICA 3 KAZAKHSTAN 14

Quarters: 0-4, 1-3, 1-5, 1-2

Referees: Fabio Toffoli (BRA), Hatem Gaber (EGY).

Extra Man: RSA: 2/9. RSA: 4/9

Pens: Nil

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

KAZAKHSTAN: Aleksandr Fedorov, Sergey Gubarev (3), Aleksandr Axenov (5), Roman Pilipenko, Vladimir Ushakov (1), Alexey Shmider (1), Murat Shakenov, Anton Koliadenko, Rustam Ukumanov (1), Yevgeniy Medvedev, Ravil Manafov (1), Branko Pekovich (2), Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Sergey Drozdov.

RSA vs KAZ ©Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia

Match report:

Kazakhstan leapfrogged South Africa into second place in the group with a dominant performance that showed no mercy to a lackluster South Africa. South African head coach Paul Martin was stunned about his team’s inability to rise to the occasion and it looked it. South Africa won the EU Nations Cup in Odense, Denmark earlier this year, but by the coach’s admission, it was a terrible performance. Kazakhstan, inspired by the brilliant play of  Alexandr Axenov, who scored five goals, was never in doubt and the first three goals from three attacks set the seal on the match. It rose to 6-0 in the second period before Nicholas Molyneux fired in from six metres, but by then halftime loomed and Axenov converted extra for his third and a comfortable lead at the long break. Axenov delivered twice more in the third and South African youngster Dayne Jagga (18) scored his second goal of the tournament from centre forward, justifying his USA college scholarship, which he starts in September. Kazakhstan Sergey Gubarev scored a pair in the final quarter, one on extra and the other with the biggest counter attack of the week. For South Africa it was a day to forget and for Kazakhstan, second spot will be celebrated.


Paul Martin (RSA) — Head Coach

“We played like amateurs in a professional environment. We’ve worked hard to get rid of that stigma. They (Kazakhstan) dominated how we had to play the game. When we got our structures right we forced them into long shots. The fact they got the ball into centre was unacceptable. We created six-on-five opportunities but our finishing was unacceptable. We were our own worst enemies; we showed no fight. One bad game and that was it. It was not through lack of opportunities (that we lost).”