The three former Yugoslav powerhouses enjoyed a great day at the men’s FINA World Youth Water Polo Championships in Szombathely. Serbia earned the most valuable win as they defeated their main group rival Spain with a last-gasp goal. Croatia woke up in time to beat the US while Montenegro managed to break the Brazilians in the last period.
The teenagers of Serbia and Spain almost repeated the thrills of the senior sides’ European Championship final from July here on Day 3. The first period already offered some extra excitements as Spain netted three in a span of 1:29 minutes as a response to the Serbs’ opening double but Nemanja Stanojevic could equalize still in the first period.
The Spaniards could go 6-4 up in the second and were still 8-7 ahead with 6:03 to go. However, the Serbs shut them out in the remaining part, leveled the score at 3:24, then both sides missed a man-up respectively but Serbia had the last laugh. With 0:05 from time Uros Maric put away a free throw and won the game for his team.
Croatia had a bit easier job though in the first game of the morning they slept over the first minutes which saw the US gaining a 3-1 lead. The Europeans woke up in time, however, and after 4-1 they netted five goals in a row to lead 4-6. Though the Americans halted their scoreless run after 10:17 minutes, the Croats maintained their 2-goal lead before the last period.
And with three more goals in 105 seconds, they had it. Though the US pulled two back another 85sec whirlwind blew them away as Croatia extended the gap to six goals in the end.
Montenegro had to give it all to beat Brazil as the South Americans withstood the pressure for almost three periods. Late in the third, they trailed 7-8 but here they ran out of gas, couldn’t score in the last 9:44 minutes while the Montenegrins netted four connecting goals.
Italy, Russia, and Greece all marched on with comfortable wins and Canada joined them while thrashing Saudi Arabia. The African ‘derby’ produced a rather exciting encounter. Egypt took a 1-5 lead against South Africa and led 4-9 late in the second period. But their continental arch-rival staged a comeback in the third, Egypt’s missed penalty at 9-11 proved to be crucial later.
Only one goal separated the sides before the last quarter (10-11) and on the fourth, the southern scored three in 76 seconds to take over the lead at 13-11. But Egypt wasn’t done, they responded perfectly, with three unanswered goals so with 2:06 to go they regained the lead for 13-14.
The game offered one more twist (rather a half): Howard Todd’s brilliant action goal 78 seconds from time, it was his 8th goal in the game so the Africans shared the points at the end.
Quarters: 3-1, 1-4, 2-3, 2-6
Quarters: 8-1, 6-1, 7-2, 6-4
Quarters: 3-1, 9-1, 5-2, 5-2
Quarters: 3-3, 3-2, 1-2, 1-2
Quarters: 2-3, 3-3, 2-3, 0-3
Quarters: 1-5, 4-4, 5-2, 4-3
Quarters: 3-0, 1-1, 5-1, 6-0
Quarters: 2-4, 0-4, 1-2, 0-3