Serbia opened the FINA Men’s Water Polo World Cup in Berlin with a goal festival. In the first match of Group B, the Olympic Champion outclassed the World Championships 16th South Africa 21:3 (4:1, 5:0, 7:0, 5:2). After just 47 seconds, Gavril Subotic scored for the first time. With six goals, the 22-year-old was also named the most successful shooter of the opening match, which was decided after the first quarter and peppered by hits in the minute.
For Serbia, four goals were scored by Nemanja Vico, while captain Dusan Mandic and Ognjen Stojanovic scored three times, Mateja Asanovic and Strahinja Rasovic scored twice while Dorde Lazic scored once. For outsider South Africa, Mark Spencer scored twice and Donn Stewart once.
In the second match of Group B, World Champion Croatia defeated the tenth of the Olympic Games USA with 15:10 (3:2, 4:2, 3:3, 5:3), but they had some difficulties. After a well-balanced first quarter, the Croatians had the lead with three goals, however, lost their competitive advantage during the middle of the third quarter as the US-team caught up to a close 6:7.
With several goals within only a minute and a half, the favorite increased their lead and pulled away just before the last break and was unbeatable from there on. Top-scorer of the Croatian team was Ante Vukicevic with four goals, for the United States Alex Bowen scored three times.
In the first match of Group A, the seventh of the World Championships Australia did not waste any time against the tenth of the World Championships Japan and won confidently with 14:6 (3:0, 5:0, 5:5, 3:1). The Australians survived the first two quarters even with a clean sheet and led to the half of the game already with a sovereign 8:0.
Captain Aaron Younger impressed with a remarkable strike-rate of 100% by scoring four out of four chances. On the other hand, Atsushi Arai was the most successful shooter with three goals for Japan.
What a kick-off to the host: Facing the second place of the World Championships Hungary, the team of national coach Hagen Stamm managed the big surprise of the day. With the 12:10 success (1:2, 3:4, 4:2, 4:2), the German team turned up the heat at the Europasportpark (SSE) in Berlin and their spectators were chanting with them. They managed to finish the game in victory after lagging behind 4:6 after the first two quarters.
“There are 100 days of hard work behind us, including the European Championship and now the next tournament,” said German national coach Hagen Stamm. “The boys are just worth it and really deserve it today. The effort paid off and the audience was really terrific today. ”
At the beginning of the third quarter, the Hungarians even moved ahead to 7:4, but then the Germans turned the tables and started with an 8:8 tie in the last break. At the score of 9:9, the German team turned their power up even more with scores from Ben Reibel, Julian Real and again Reibel to 12:9 – the victory was clear.
Best scorers from the German point of view were Ben Reibel and Julian Real with three goals each, for Hungary Bence Batori also scored three times.
The second day will be kicked-off by the match between Australia and Hungary in Group A (16:00), followed by the two games in Group B, Serbia vs. the USA (17:30) and Croatia vs. South Africa (19:00). The German team meets Japan at prime time 20:30hrs for the last game of the day. “The Japanese are very fast, dangerous and strong. But we have to beat them, “said DSV national coach Hagen Stamm.