Water Polo Reports - Men, Day 5

Kazan 2015 - WP

Croatia-Greece and Italy-Serbia semifinals in men’s water polo

Olympic champion Croatia will play Greece and 2011 World champion Italy will take on World Cup and World League champion Serbia in Thursday’s medal semifinals following fifth-day men’s water polo competition.

In the 1-8 quarterfinals, Croatia was the first team into the semifinal, defeating Montenegro 10-4 in a heated, high-fouling match. It was Croatia’s sixth straight World Championship semifinal.

Greece gained a goal four seconds from time to tie Australia 7-7 and subsequently win the penalty shootout 5-4 for a 12-11 victory and a date with Croatia.

Italy came from 5-3 down in the third period to go two ahead and eventually beat reigning champion Hungary 8-7 and another thriller.

World Cup and World League champion Serbia held off United States of America 12-7 built on a 7-5 halftime lead.

In the classification round 9-12 semifinals, Canada beat Kazakhstan 9-7 and Brazil sent off South Africa 16-5.

Departing the tournament were four teams — Japan claiming 13th spot from Russia 13-9 and China taking 15th place from Argentina 16-9.

August 6 Schedule

Classification 11-12

10:50, KAZ v RSA

Classification 9-10

12:10, CAN v BRA

Classification 5-8 Semifinals

15:30, MNE v AUS

17:00, HUN v USA

Classification 1-4 Semifinals

20:30, CRO v GRE

22:00, ITA v SRB


Classification 1-8 Quarterfinal

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

Referees: Francesc Buch (ESP), Nenad Peris (CRO).

Extra Man: SRB: 4/7. USA: 4/12.

Pens: USA: 0/1.


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

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

Match Report:

Serbia will play Italy in the semifinals after having to come from two down to beat a determined USA who came out charging with consecutive goals from Bret Bonanni and Josh Samuels before Serbia could get its bearings. Stung by the insult and backed by the crowd that was totally behind the Serbians, they unleashed a barrage of goals from Milan Aleksic on extra; Andrija Prlainovic with a deflect from the top; Dusko Pijetlovic from centre forward and Dusan Mandic from top right for 4-2. Serbia was back in the game. USA took the lead in the second quarter and traded goals from 4-3 to 7-5 when Filip Filipovic lobbed Merrill Moses on counter. Luca Cupido grabbed a goal for the USA for 7-6 and Serbian head coach Dejan Savic thought it time to switch his goalkeepers, bringing in Branislav Mitrovic and giving Gojko Pijetlovic a break. He proved enough of a deterrent for Bonanni, who sent his penalty shot on bounce into the crossbar at 5:08 at a crucial moment in the match. On the counter, some swift passing was finished off by Dusko Pijetlovic from in front and the game slid further Serbia’s way. Captain Zivko Gocic closed the third period with a snap shot from deep right off his right arm and across cage. Alex Bowen scored one of the shots of the tournament from a 5m throw out the top right. He swung his arm around in a low loop, flicking his wrist and the ball was sent skidding to the right-hand upright and smashing across to the left upright and into goal before anyone noticed for 9-7. Dusko Pijetlovic made sure of a three-goal margin, dragging down a cross-cage pass that USA protested. However, the referee signalled he was behind the line of the ball and Serbia was happy at 4:14. Serbia was even happier when Mandic swam the length of the pool on counter and bounced the ball past Moses at 2:45 for 11-7. Mandic was the youngest player at the 2012 London Olympics, collecting bronze with Serbia and then went and attended the World Youth Championships in Perth, Australia later that year. Nikic slid across cage and accepted a pass to score for 12-7 at 0:04.


Dusan Mandic (SRB) — Two Goals
''In the beginning we were a bit confused in defence. I think this a result of our three-day break as group winner. We lacked some rhythm. USA got up 2-0, but after a few minutes we gathered and fixed the problems on defence. Compared to Barcelona 2013 we made one step forward. Now Italy in the semifinals. I expect a tough game, a lot of swimming and great duels. Italy is a great opponent, but I believe in every one of my team-mates.''

Dejan Udovicic (SRB) — USA Head Coach
“I’m proud of my guys. It’s not easy to play Serbia. You have to show enormous amounts of experience for that level of the game. We are totally not experienced enough for the big game. There were so many missed opportunities to level the game, we missed and were punished very quickly. This competition, right now, Serbia is in front of everyone. It was unfortunate that we had to cross over with them.”

Alex Bowen (USA)
“Disappointed. We worked hard all summer and we came up short. It really sucks. We made a lot of mistakes. We didn’t capitalise on their mistakes, but they capitalised on ours.”

Match 37: 20:10, HUNGARY 7 ITALY 8

Classification 1-8 Quarterfinal

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

Referees: Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU), Georgios Stavridis (GRE).
Extra Man: HUN: 7/13. ITA: 7/15.
Pens: Nil.

HUNGARY: Viktor Nagy, Miklos Gor-Nagy, Norbert Madaras, Balazs Erdelyi (1), Marton Vamos, Norbert Hosnyanszky (1), Daniel Angyal, Marton Szivos, Daniel Varga (3), Denes Varga (1), Krisztian Bedo, Balazs Harai (1), Attila Decker. Head coach: Tibor Benedek.
ITALY: Stefano Tempesti, Francesco di Fulvio (2), Alessandro Velotto, Pietro Figlioli (1), Alex Giorgetti (1), Andrea Fondelli, Massimo Giacoppo, Nicholas Presciutti (1), Niccolo Gitto, Stefano Luongo (2), Matteo Aicardi, Fabio Baraldi (1), Marco Del Lungo. Head coach: Alessandro Campagna.

Match Report:
World champion Hungary bowed out of medal contention thanks to a 5-3 second half by Italy, the 2011 World champion. In a fantastic statistic, all bar one of the goals was scored on extra-man attack, showing just how tight the defence was and how hard it was to gain action goals. Denes Varga scored the first goal at 6:02 for his 14th of the championship and four minutes later Balasz Erdelyi made it 2-0 for Hungary. Italy was not keen on the deficit and Alex Georgetti and Fabio Baraldi equalised as quarter time loomed. Daniel Varga started his purple patch with the 3-2 lead early in the second quarter, but Francesco di Fulvio scored from the top on extra for 3-3. Daniel Varga squeezed one in bottom left on extra for 4-3 at 3:42. There was no goal until 2:45 of the third period when Daniel Varga scored from the top right on extra — a two-goal margin. Italy redressed the imbalance, firstly through Pietro Figlioli on extra from top right. Hungary called a timeout with no success on the scoresheet. Stefano Luongo scored his fifth goal of the tournament from the top to close out the third period for 5-5. It took less than two minutes of the fourth period for Italy to gain the lead through the effervescent di Fulvio on extra. Centre forward Baraldi make it two for the match , doubling his tally for the championship, off the near post on extra for 6-6 at 5:35. Nicholas Presciutti finished off some fine cross-pool passing for Italy’s seventh goal. The eighth came from Luongo from seven metres into the bottom right. Norbert Hosnyanszky pulled one back on extra from the outside and at 3:01 it was still anyone’s match. Hungary went to a timeout at 1:18 after stealing the ball from the centre forward. The shot from Marton Szivos was blocked and it was a corner. Hungary moved the ball but had it stolen and Italy took a timeout at 11 seconds. Szivos was excluded straight after and Italy held the ball for what some would say was a major upset.


Pietro Figlioli (ITA)
“It’s not often any team beats Hungary. To us as water polo heads Hungary is steeped in history. It’s the second time this summer we have beaten them, at the Vodafone Cup (in Hungary) and here. It’s always a satisfying moment. Hungary has an aura, but it isn’t indestructible. Titles don’t matter anything, as I know from trying to be a repeating champion, everyone wants to kill you. The future was decided here today. We had more control up front, higher percentage and the more attacks we put up the harder it was for them to defend.” Figlioli gave his first post-match interview in Italian, the second in Spanish and the third in English.

Alex Giorgetti (ITA)
“We knew we were going to win. We saw Hungary in training yesterday and they had fear. We felt we were world champion and them not. Hungary was good in the first but then we came up as we had heart. We had good defence and excellent extra-man (attack).”

Balazs Erdelyi (HUN)
''The first three quarters were good for us. We got up 5-3. By the end of the third period Italy tied the game and in the final stages they scored two goals and we just one so they could win. That was the key.  Defensive-wise we didn't do so well and on offence missed many opportunities, such as me hitting the bar. And those small differences matter in the end.''

Match 36: 18:50, GREECE 12 AUSTRALIA 11 in penalty shootout (FT: 7-7. Pens: 5-4)

Classification 1-8 Quarterfinal

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

Referees: Boris Margeta (SLO), Voijin Putnikovic (SRB).
Extra Man: GRE: 5/10. AUS: 3/8.
Pens: GRE: 1/1.

GREECE: Konstantinos Flegkas, Emmanouil Mylonakis (1), Georgios Dervisis, Konstantinos Genidounias (2), Ioannis Fountoulis (3), Kyriakos Pontiekas, Christos Afroudakis (2), Evangelos Delakas, Konstantinos Mourikis, Christodoulos Kolomvos (1), Alexandros Gounas (2), Angelos Vlacholopoulos (1), Stefanos Galanpoulos. Head coach: Theodoros Vlachos.
AUSTRALIA: James Stanton-French, Richard Campbell, George Ford, John Cotterill, Nathan Power (1), Jarrod Gilchrist (1), Aiden Roach (3), Aaron Younger (3), Joel Swift (2), Mitchell Emery, Rhys Howden (1), Tyler Martin, Joel Dennerley. Head coach: Elvis Fatovic.

Match report:
For the second night in a row Australia faced a penalty shootout. The women won over China but tonight, Greece men had the better of Australia’s men, clincher a 7-7 draw at the death and completing the assassination in the shootout. So tight was the match that the opening quarter did not yield a goal until Christos Afroudakis breached the defence with the skinniest of shots, shaving Aaron Younger’s face at 1:10. Younger scored from the top on extra to start the second period with his shot deflecting off a defender and then bouncing off the water to completely fool the Greek goalkeeper. Ioannis Fountoulis drilled his 11th shot of the tournament off the bar on extra for 2-1 at 6:16. From an Aussie Sharks timeout, Aidan Roach accepted a cross pass to deep left on extra for the equaliser at 2:41. Younger took Australia clear on extra, creasing the underneath of the bar for at 1:31. Christodoulos Kolomvos drew a penalty at 0:05 and Afroudakis hit the wood after Aussie delaying tactics proved fruitful. Joel Swift scored from two metres to open the second half and give Australia a two-goal advantage. Kolomvos replied on the next attack on extra after a cross pass to the far post from point blank for 3-4. Konstantinos Genidounias lifted Greek spirits with two quick goals, the second on extra at 1:22 for the 5-4 lead heading into the last period. Alexandros Gouanas, had scored just one goal all tournament so hit form when it mattered most. The first three minutes of the period produced excellent defence from both teams with Australia gaining two rebounds off its shots. Both teams forced long shots covered by the goalkeepers. Roach scored his second off a rebound for 5-5 and Younger fired in from five metres for the 6-5 lead. Genidounias scored a second for Greece off the near post on extra for 6-6 at 1:07. Roach rocketed a pass across the face of goal to Nathan Power on the far post to convert for 7-6 at 0:38. Greece had the last full attack and gained an exclusion. Fountoulis, lightly guarded on the deep left took a pass and bounced it in at 0:04 for the 7-7 score and a shootout.
Sadly for Australia, Younger, such the champion in normal time, missed the first penalty attempt while everyone else scored, giving Greece the shootout 5-4 and the match 12-11 and, more importantly the semifinal spot.


Christos Afroudakis (GRE) — Captain
''It was a game of many emotions, because the score changed several times. I felt like we had the control of the game, but then led it slip and unfortunately again at the end. Luckily we stayed patient in the final attack and could draw the exclusion and tie the game. In the penalty shootout we had the bit of luck necessary, but also an excellent goalkeeper. Today also I was more satisfied with our defence opposed to our group stage where we received too many goals. Good defence will be the key for a good result. It gives you power and confidence, also as a team.''

Konstantinos Genidounias (GRE) — Two goals

On scoring one before this match and two in the quarterfinal: “Other guys are important. Some who are usually the protagonists aren’t and others have to step up. I got the passes from my team-mates and did what I had to do. There are a million emotions — want to win, sitting on the bench is 10 times harder than being in the game. The game is over, now we move on to the next game.”

Elvis Fatovic (CRO) — Head Coach
“Too often this happens to teams. I think it is just part of the experience to finish off games. We had an amazing tournament, good defence and good attack actually. But we must learn how to close the game.”

Richard Campbell (AUS)
“A shootout makes it worse. We shouldn’t let in goals near the end. Come to that it’s more gut-wrenching. We stuck to our game plan. We’ve been in situations like that several times before. We’re used to that and we kept our cool. We just couldn’t get it over the line. The best part tonight was commitment, sticking to the game plan and our defence was solid.”

Match 35: 17:30, CROATIA 10 MONTENEGRO 4

Classification 1-8 Quarterfinal

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

Referees: Radoslaw Koryzna (POL), Massimiliano Caputi

Extra Man: CRO: 3/13. MNE: 0/11.

Pens: Nil.


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

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

CRO vs MNE ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match Report:
Olympic champion Croatia became the first team through to the semifinals with a big margin over Montenegro. This was one hotly contested match with the referees fully in the picture with two double exclusions; Montenegrin Vjekoslav Paskovic fouled out on three majors at 4:20 in the second quarter; Andelo Setka (CRO) leaving the pool with blood from a face wound and the all important four unanswered goals by Croatia. And that was just the first half with the foul count 6-7. Croatia’s first goal came on extra through Antonio Petkovic. The second, at the top of the next quarter was also from extra by Petar Muslim. Paskovic gained his second and third majors in quick succession. Luka Bukic scored Croatia’s third on extra from deep left and Fran Paskvalin found himself loose on the left to receive a pass from his centre forward to score for 4-0 at 1:20. Then, with 10 seconds remaining a scuffle saw Setka leave with an injury. Muslim pushed the score to 5-0 on the first attack of the third period before Montenegro struck twice through Darko Brguljan with a superb turn and shot down the left, followed by Filip Klikovac with a sweep back off the far-post position. Montenegro took a timeout and Drasko Brguljan allegedly vent his frustration on the advertising hoarding and was red-carded. He failed to leave the pool deck and sat back on the team bench. Head Coach Ranko Perovic was yellow-carded for not removing and he eventually departed. Bukic converted the extra-man chance for 6-2. Klikovac scored his second from the near post, this time on extra but soon after Paulo Obradovic shot from the top for 7-3 to head into the final quarter 7-3 ahead. Setka made it back into the water with his injury bandaged, just before the final break. The final eight minutes passed without too much rancor. Aleksandar Radovic became the third Montenegrin not to see out the match, going for a third major inside the final four minutes. Klikovac scored his third with a turn from centre forward at 2:04 for 9-4. Sandro Sukno drove the final nail in the coffin with a power bounce from deep left on action at 0:41.


Andelo Setka (CRO) — Injured eye just before halftime.
“I’m OK now. This is not water polo (pointing to his injured left eye). I received a fist like a boxer.” On scoring a goal soon after returning to the pool: “Maybe there was more power because of it (the injury). This was a tough game. We were better. We showed that in the pool. Not in one moment were we equal.”

Ranko Perovic (MNE) — Head Coach
“I expected a tougher game. They went to-three goals ahead in the beginning and we made too many mistakes on extra man. Croatia is the better team at the moment than Montenegro.”

Milos Scepanovic (MNE) -— Goalkeeper
''We tried to go tough at Croatia's very difficult offence by hard press, but had problems with early exclusions and losing some players to three major fouls. But I have to say, in the end Croatia deserved this victory.'' On the question of feeling this tournament is a disappointment: ''Of course. We always have the desire to play for the medals and that will not happen here. The final conclusion is that we could not manage to reach the level we wanted with this team, knowing we miss three important players. Now we have to think about how to move forward.''

Match 34: 13:30, BRAZIL 16 SOUTH AFRICA 5

Classification 9-12 Semifinal

Quarters: 7-3, 2-2, 3-0, 4-0

Referees: Shi Wei Ni (CHN), Hatem Gaber (EGY).

Extra Man: BRA:

Pens: RSA: 1/1.

BRAZIL: Vicinius Antonelli, Jonas Crivella (1), Guilherme Gomes (1), Ives Gonzalez, Paulo Salemi, Bernardo Gomes (1), Adrian Delgado (2), Felipe Silva, Bernardo Rocha (1), Felipe Perrone (4), Gustavo Guimaraes (1), Josip Vrlic (3). Head Coach: Ratko Rudic

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

BRA vs RSA ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Brazil did what it needed to get to the ninth-place play-off with Canada on Thursday. With captain Felipe Perrone  netting four goals — two on extra-man attack and two on counter — Brazil knew it had the arsenal to fend off South Africa, who started the better of the two. In fact, South Africa led 1-0 and 2-1 before Brazil struck and ended the quarter with an incredible high 7-3 margin. South Africa was behind just 3-4 at one stage and 5-8 midway through the second quarter before any chance of winning was extinguished. When 18-year-old Dayne Jagga scored his third goal of the tournament for 8-5, it was to be South Africa’s last goal, being kept out of the picture for the last 20 minutes. South Africa will have to look for one last win against Kazakhstan and wrest 11th position.


Ratko Rudic (CRO) — Brazil Head Coach
“This game we didn’t enter very seriously and at the beginning (we let in) some goals in defence. We started to play better. South Africa had the ball for long periods. We will now prepared for Canada (ninth place classification). This is very important.” On the intensity in the match: “It was a very hard game and we have been a very long time away from home. This is our fourth big tournament and with the Pan Ams we couldn’t have possibility of training, keeping shape and this is the consequence of this. The team needs more.” On both Canada and Brazil being in the same position of a heavy schedules this year: “ Canada has the advantage because it did not play World League so has had more rest. We will try and give our best.”

Felipe Perrone (BRA) — Captain
“It’s been an amazing year with many important rounds leading up to the Olympic Games. Here we were not fighting for the title. It’s important we are always trying to do our best. To finish 9-10 would be the best result in Brazilian history, which makes us proud. For many it is our first World Championship and we have a dream, so we have to work a lot.”

Match 33: 12:10, CANADA 9 KAZAKHSTAN 7

Classification 9-12 Semifinal

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

Referees: Stanko Ivanovski (MNE), German Moller (ARG).

Extra Man: CAN: 4/7. KAZ: 1/10.

Pens: CAN: 1/1.


CANADA: Robin Randall, Con Kudaba, Oliver Vikalo (1), Nicolas Constantin-Bicari (1), Justin Boyd, David Lapins, Alec Taschereau, Kevin Graham (1), Matt Halajian, John Conway (4), George Torakis, Jerry McElroy (2), Dusan Aleksic. Head coach: Alexander Beslin.

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

CAN vs KAZ ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match Report:

Canada surged into the play-off for ninth place with a near flawless second quarter. Trailing in the first period, Canada strung together five unanswered goals in the second eight minutes  and then struggled for conversions for the rest of the match. However, that 6-2 margin proved crucial and, try as it might, Kazakhstan could not bridge the gap. Excellent efforts from Alexandr Axenov with three goals — increasing his tournament tally to 15 — and two late scores from captain Sergey Gubarev — 11 for the championship — brought it to two goals after Canada increased the lead through Jerry McElroy at the top of the fourth. John Conway, with just four goals heading into today’s match, scored three of his four goals in the second quarter. Canada will need to regroup strength and stamina quickly for the play-off.


Alexander Beslin (CAN) — Head Coach
“We followed the game plan, but only from the second quarter. They gained a lot of confidence and this was reflected in the third period (won 3-2 by Kazakhstan). We ran out of gas in the middle of the fourth period. There was a lot of shooting in the first quarter to no effect.”

Ravil Manafov (KAZ)

“It was not what we wanted. We could have played better, but we were preparing (targeting) for this game. There were many positive moments.”

Match 32: 10:50, RUSSIA 9 JAPAN 13

Classification 13-14

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

Referees: Gyorgy Kun (HUN), Masoud Rezvani (IRI).

Extra Man: RUS: 1/6. JPN: 3/8.

Pens:  RUS: 2/2. JPN: 0/2.

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

JAPAN: Katsuyuki Tanamura, Seiya Adachi (1), Atsushi Arai (2), Mitsuaki Shiga, Akira Yanase, Atsuto Iida (2), Yusuke Shimizu (2), Yuki Kadono, Koji Takei (2), Kenya Yasuda, Keigo Okawa (3), Shota Hazui (1), Tomoyoshi Fukushima. Head coach: Yoji Omoto.

RUS vs JPN ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Match report:
Japan had the better of Russia throughout and proved why it is such an exciting team and probably deserves something better than 13th place, two down from the positions it filled in 2003 and 2001, its previous showings at this level. It did not go all Japan’s way as Russia led 4-2 with 10 seconds remaining of the first quarter, only to allow one through from Seiya Adachi, Japan’s youngest player. Japan levelled at four and five midway through the second quarter before stretching the lead to 8-5 two minutes into the third.  This became 10-6 and 11-7 by the final break. Russia closed the match with a penalty goal for 9-13. Russia looked good at times with some swift executions of goal, but the team looked tired in the second half and Japan jumped on the opportunity to swim — what it does best. Russia’s Alexey Bugaychuk scored twice to finish the tournament as his team’s top scorer with seven goals. Igor Bychkov scored three for the match. Japan’s Koji Takei netted two for 11 from the championship in a team where all field players scored and the totals were spread. Russia finished seventh in Melbourne in 2007, its last visit to the World Championships. For Japan, the last appearance was 11th in 2011.


Koji Takei (JPN) — Top Scorer
“We came from a very strong group with Serbia, Montenegro and Australia, but playing in tough games is very good for experience. We had fun today, but our main aim is the Olympic Qualification Tournament in December so then we have this experience and hardness.” On the best point of the match: “We prepared and were determined. We noticed the Russian players were tired in the second half so we swam them hard.”

Seiya Adachi (JPN)
“As the youngest player on the team I wanted to contribute and see to what extent I could improve.” On the best part fo the championship for him: “A chance to play world number one Serbia and match up with Filip Filipovic and drive on him.”

Match 31: 09:30, CHINA 16 ARGENTINA 9

Classification 15-16

Quarters: 6-2, 3-4, 4-2, 3-1

Referees: Joseph Peila (USA), Tadao Tahara (JPN)

Extra Man: CHN: 5/7. ARG: 3/8.

Pens: Nil

CHINA: Honghui Wu, Feihu Tan (1), Zhangxin Hu (1), Tao Dong (4), Wenhui Lu (1), Li Li (2), Zhongxian Chen, Lun Li (1), Zekai Xie (1), Jinghao Chen (1), Chufeng Zhang (2), Nianxiang Liang (2), Zhiwei Liang. Head coach: Paolo Malara (ITA).
ARGENTINA: Diego Malnero, Ramiro Veich (2), Tomas Galimberti, Andreas Monutti, Emanuel Lopez, Tomas Bulgheroni, Juan Pablo Montane, Esteban Corsi, Ivan Carabantes (2), Julian Daszczyk, Franco Demarchi, German Yanez (5), Franco Testa. Head coach: Nahuel Alfonso.

Match report:
China went on the rampage with some fast, cohesive play that including fantastic ball skills on extra-man attack in particular. The speed of the Chinese completely caught Argentina unawares at the start, racing to a 5-0 lead in just over five minutes. Argentina pulled it back to 6-3 at the start of the second quarter and 7-5 with three minutes left. At 9-6 by halftime the match had become more competitive, or as Chinese head coach Paolo Malara (ITA) said: “At 5-1, 7-3 the players think the match is finished.” Argentina brought it back to 9-7 through captain Ivan Carabantes with a backhand goal from seven metres, shooting cross cage. This brought the match alive and scared China into action, finishing the period 13-8. China went to sleep almost in the first five minutes of the final period before scoring three goals to Argentina’s one. For China, Tao Dong scored four goals, finishing the tournament with 10 and Argentina’s German Yanez, who missed much of the previous match on suspension, smashed home five goals  for a team high of 12. It was unusual seeing a team of China’s talent playing for 15th spot and it has plenty of work to do before the Asian Olympic Games Qualification Tournament in China this December.

    CHN vs ARG ©Pasquale Mesiano / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Paolo Malara (ITA) — China Head Coach
“We had excellent contra attack. Globally I am happy with the work and mind except for the match against Croatia (1-17). We have a young team and we played good water polo at these championships. I am happy if the players believe in themselves and continue this into the future. I hope we arrive strong for the (Asian) Olympic Qualification Tournament.”

Ivan Carabantes (ARG) — Captain
“Starting slowly was a problem all tournament. For us this was a very tough game. It’s a thing we have to understand and improve on. We don’t have much rotation (from the bench). This level is impossible to play well all the time in all matches. We talked before the game about concentration. This was a wonderful experience. Our goal was to play every minute 100 percent with body and mind. We knew we were playing different teams and we have to understand to change the mind, play physically and (adjust to) referees. We have to learn and we have to maintain this type of play and improve every time. Thanks to the organisers; they have been very kind to us.”