WPWL Men’s Super Final 2015, Bergamo, Day 2: Brazil and Serbia win again, first win for Croatia and Australia

World League

On the second day of the preliminary round Brazil continued his surprising march crushing China and jumping on top of Group A. Croatia got its first, important, win over another major powerhouse, Hungary.

First victory also for Australia at the end of a spectacular match against the United States, who, like China, suffered they second defeat.

Second win also for Serbia who defeated Italy at the end of an exciting match, whose outcome was uncertain for at least three quarters. Serbia, who, leads Group B , will face Australia on the third day.

Rankings after Day 2

Group A : Brazil 6, Croatia and Hungary 3, China 0.
Group B: Serbia 6, Italy and Australia 3, United States 0.

Game 5, Group A: BRAZIL 15 – CHINA 7 / (3-2, 6-3; 4-1, 2-1)

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

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


Game 5, CHN vs BRA. Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

Brazil confirmed the good level of play seen in the first day. After their stunning win against Croatia today they heavily defeated China (15-7) with another good performance. The team coached by Ratko Rudic is the big surprise of the tournament. Among the Brazilian players, Guilherme Gomes and Vrlic scored each 3 goals but the top scorer of the match was the Cinese Zhang, with 4 goals. Brazil is surprisingly leading Group A, with 6 points after two matches.

The Brazilian players seem to have well assimilated the lessons of Ratko Rudic: high rhythm, heavy pressing, fast breaks, fine passes, fast circulation of the ball, safe shooting. In addition, they have an extraordinary motivation enhanced by the ambition of behaving well at next year’s home Olympics. The Brazilian team was too strong for the much improved Chinese side, that, however, from his part, has also shown sound fundamentals, both individually and collectively. The team coached by Paolo Malara started well in the first period but was overwhelmed in the central quarters, managing to come up again only in the final propelled by their world class player, as well as their top scorer, Chufeng Zhang.

In the second quarter both teams missed a penalty shot: China was first with Tao Dong whose shot was saved by Brazil’s goalkeeper Vinicius Antonelli; then it was the turn of Brazil with Bernardo Gomes, whose explosive shot hit the bar.

Brazil’s top strikers - Felipe Perrone, Bernardo Gomes and Adrian Delgado - are team mates also in the Spanish club Barceloneta.

Felipe Perrone (Brazil): "It was a tough match for us, as we were still tired from yesterday. As in the first day, we suffered numerous exclusions and we had to waste a lot of energy in defense”.

Paolo Malara (China’s coach): "It was really a tough match, we suffered a lot on the physical side. Brazil, this year, is really a very good team and can reach the final if they manage to defeat Hungary".

Game 6, Group A: HUNGARY 12 – CROATIA 15 /  (2-5, 3-4; 3-3, 3-4 )

HUNGARY: Viktor NAGY (GK), Miklos GOR-NAGY, Norbert MADARAS (3), Balasz ERDELYI, Marton VAMOS (3), Norbert HOSNYASKY (3), Ferenc SALAMON, Daniel ANGYAL, Daniel VARGA ©, Denes VARGA (1+1P), Toni NEMET, Balazs HARAI (1), Attila DECKER (GK). Head Coach: Tibor BENEDEK.

CROATIA: Josip PAVIC, Damir BURIC (), Antonio PETKOVIC (3), Luka LONCAR (2), Maro JOKOVIC (3), Luka BUKIC (1), Ante VUKICEVIC (1), Andro BUSLJE (1), Sandro SUKNO (4), Fran PASKVALIN, Andelo SETKA, Paulo OBRADOVIC (), Marko BIJAC. Head Coach: Ivica TUCAK.

REFEREES: Daniel FLAHIVE (AUS), Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU) FINA DELEGATE: Gianni LONZI

Game 6, HUN vs CRO. Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

The match between the world champions of Hungary and the Olympic champions of Croatia was both tough and nervous. Already leading 3-0 after two minutes, Croatia won 15-12, thus demonstrating that they had recovered from the unbelievable loss suffered from Brazil yesterday. Their star Sandro Sukno played really well and scored 4 goals. Hungarians were not up to their reputation, not enough precise in shooting during the first part of the match, when the decisive break took place. Three players were excluded for the rest of the match.
The 3 early goals from Croatia – 6’39” Loncar, 5’26” Petkovic, 4’38” Sukno - set the course of the game, and the final outcome.

Hungary’s first goal was scored by Vamos at 2:56. It was followed up by a goal of Madaras from the long distance, at 2:19. Sukno scored the fourth goal for Croatia at 1’27” to the conclusion of the first period. Then came one more goal from Loncar (his second). The score at theend of the first period was 2-5.

18 seconds inside the 2nd quarter Petkovic converted a penalty for Croatia,  answered son after by Hungary’s #6 Hosnyansky. Two more penalties were allowed in this period: one for Croatia, missed by Petkovic, the other for Hungary, converted by Denes Vargas. Croatia consolidated its lead with 4 more goals, against 3 of Hungary. At half time the score was 5-9.
In the 3rd quarter the two teams were even and the split score was a tie, 3-3.

The referee Aexandrescu excluded for the rest of the game simultaneously Paskvalin (CRO) and Abgyal (HUN). In the last quarter Croatia prevailed again (3-4).

Tibor Benedek (Hungary’s coach): "We made too many mistakes in handling the ball. Now we will prepare to meet Brazil, we must try to be more relaxed because they proved to be a strong team".

Maro Jokovic (Croatia): "Yesterday against Brazil we played really bad. Today we played much better and we are happy about that. Nevertheless, the defense got too many goals; even against Hungary 11 goals are definitely too many. We need to improve our defense, if we want to reach the final. Today we deserved to win".

Game 7, Group B: AUSTRALIA 10– UNITED STATES 9 / (2-1, 2-0; 2-4, 4-4)

AUSTRALIA: Joel DENNERLY (GK), Richard CAMPBELL, George FORD, John COTTERILL (2), Nathan POWER (1), Jarrod GILCHRIST (1), Aidan ROACH (1), Aaron YOUNGER (4+1P), Joel SWIFT, Martin TYLER, Rhys HOWDEN, William MILLER, James CLARK (GK). Head Coach: Elvis FATOVIC.

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


Game 7, AUS vs USA. Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

It was a fine game, hard fought and spectacular. Between Australia and the United States - both teams are guided by Balkan coaches, respectively Elvis Fatovic and Dejan Udovicic, and have a similar organization of play - a tight match was expected, and so it was.

The team from Down Under went into the game at full force, scoring four goals in the first 4 minutes, through four different players. Instead, in this time, the only lethal striker for the

Americans was captain Tony Azevedo who scored an action goal in the second period and converted a penalty at the beginning of the third period. Then 3 minutes inside the 3rd quarter the USA centre Bret Bonanni scoreD a spectacular goal from 2 metres, with an unusual and curious  back shot. He followed up less than minute later on action, tying at 4-4.

The tie was broken 30 seconds later by Younger (5-4) who scored his second goal. A couple of minutes later Cotterill put Australia up 2 goals again.
Samuels narrowed the gap for the USA converting a penalty at about a minute from the conclusion of the 3rd period at the end of which Australia led 6-5.

The 4th quarter was thrilling. After 1’13” Samuels scored his second goal to tie 6-6. About 30 seconds later Younger put Australia up again scoring his third goal: 7-6. Howden made a major foul – his third and he was excluded for the rest of the game – following which a penalty was allowed to the USA: Bonanni converted scoring also his third goal, at 5:33. The score was 7-7. Then started some fireworks with goals of

Roelse for the USA, and Younger who scored two more goals – one on a penalty – for a total of 5, thus becoming the top scorer of the match with 5 goals.
Azevedo scored his third for the USA, who are one goal  (9-8) with a minute to go to the end of the  match. Game over at 28seconds from the conclusion thanks to a goal of Campbell for Australia. Not finished yet: Bowen (USA) narrows the gap at 19 seconds to the end, but that’s it: 4-4 the score of the last period, indeed hard fought and balanced. Australia wins narrowly 10-9.

The neutral Italian crowd applauded both teams as sign of appreciation for the show.

Tony Azevedo (USA’s captain). "We made may mistakes, both in attack and defense, especially on extra player. We know that the extra player opportunities are the most important part of the game. During the last period we wasted too many chances in attack".

Joel Dennerley (Australia): "We scored many goals in the first two periods. The USA are not an easy opponent. It was a hard game, both physical and technically”.

Game 8, Group B: SERBIA 15– ITALY 11 / (5-2, 3-3;   6-3)

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

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI (GK) ©, Francesco DI FULVIO (4), Alessandro VELOTTO, Pietro FIGLIOLI (3), Alex GIORGETTI (2), Andrea FONDELLI, Nicholas PRESCIUTTI (1), Valentino GALLO (1), Niccolò GITTO, Stefano LUONGO, Matteo AICARDI (1), Fabio BARALDI, Marco DEL LUNGO (GK). Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.


Game 8, SRB vs ITA. Photo credit: Giorgio Scala

Italy’s march was interrupted by the defeat (15-11) suffered by the European champions of Serbia. The Italians went ahead with Giorgetti after 1'12", then suffered a 4-0 break. They managed to tie 9-9, only in the 4th quarter, with a beautiful goal scored by Aicardi. Then they went down following a triple knockout from Serbia. The match was tense. Italy took the first lead at 6:48 in the 1st quarter with Alex Giorgetti  on extra man. His goal was answered 47 seconds later by Milos Cuk (1-1). At 4:27 Filipovic gave Serbia their first lead with a goal on extra-man (2-1). From this moment onward the Balkan team was always in command of the operations. The game lived on a kind of see-saw around the 2-goal gap.

But the efforts of coach Sandro Campagna and the support of the home crowd were not enough.

At 2:42 Nikola Jaksic leaves the field, his nose bleeding, replaced by Zivko Gocic. With 58 seconds to the end Stefan Mitrovic followed up scoring the third goal for Serbia. 3-1. Immediately after Serbia increased the advantage thanks a goal to a backshot from Presciutti at 12 seconds to the end narrows the gap . Six seconds later with 6 second missing Serbia’s #2 Dusan Mandic shoot from the distance and his blaze inflated Tempesti’s goal for the fifth time. 5-2 the score at the end of the first period.
2nd Q.

The second quarter was balanced. At 6:34 Aicardi scored an action goal for Italy (5-3). Then the goal trading between Mandic and Gallo left unchanged the 2-goal gap. Jaksic scored the 7th goal for Serbia, on extra-man, after getting back in the water.

The gap of two goals was reestablished by Giorgetti  from the distance but just for a few seconds as Filipovic scored again for Serbia (8-5 at half time). The score of the second period was 3-3.

Italy’s #2 Franceso Di Fulvio scored a couple goals s for a split of 8-6. Soon after two Italian players are excluded and Stefan Mitrovic scored his second goal, 2 men up (9-6).
The 2-goal gap was reestablished once more thanks to Italy’s number 4 Figlioli. 9-7. A blaze from Di Fulvio narrows the gap to just one goal. At the expiration of the 3rd period the score is 9-8 for Serbia. The split score of the  3rd period was 3-1 for Italy.

However, after an early goal from center forward Aicardi, a nice lob shot from 2 meters which resulted in a tie (9-9), the last quarter was a disaster for Italy.

Two minutes after Cuk had put Serbia in the lead again: 10-9. At half time in the last period the talented left handed Mandic blazed again from outside and scored his second goal, probably the winning one. Italy’s reacted with Figlioli’s 3rd goal.(11-10). But Mandic is irresistible and scores his 4th goal. 12-10 for Serbia. Dusko Pijetlovic calls game over scoring his first goal in this match. 13-10 at 2:37 from the end.

Di Fulvio scores again. 13-11. Mandic’s personal triumph was sealed with his 5th goal, a lob shot at 2 minutes from the end. The Italians surrender and Gocic rounds up Serbia’s victory with his first goal.

Alessandro Campagna (Italy’s coach): "We knew that Serbia was a great team and we may have had a bit of awe in the approach to the game. Then we broke up in the second part of the match and we had a great reaction that brought us to 9-9 with the goal of Aicardi in the fourth time. I'm sorry because with a bit of attention the epilogue of the match could have been different: the score is certainly exaggerated”.

Pietro Figlioli (Italy): "We missed in lucidity in attack and this encouraged their counterattacks. They did better in keeping the direction of the match while  we were not always able to control the timing of the game. For the next match we are not particularly concerned; our game can adapt to the various teams".
Gojko Pijetlovic (Serbia): "We did very well in attack while we made some mistakes in defense to be corrected for the next matches".