Croatia defeated Montenegro 13:8 in the big match of Day 3 of the men’s water polo tournament at the 2020 Olympic Games.
Two favorites, Italy and Greece, found it hard to beat their respective rivals, but they remain unbeaten. Greece edged out Japan, while Italy came back from four goals down to record a narrow win over the USA. Both teams secured the quarterfinals after these hard wins.
Serbia defeated Australia easier than it was expected and climbed to 2nd place in Group B. Hungary thrashed South Africa. Spain continued its winning streak with a comfortable victory over Kazakhstan.
Day 3, results – Group A: USA – Italy 11:12, Greece – Japan 10:9, Hungary – South Africa 23:1. Group B: Croatia – Montenegro 13:8, Serbia – Australia 14:8, Spain – Kazakhstan 16:4
USA – Italy 11:12 (4:2, 3:3, 2:3, 2:4) – play by play and statistics
USA: Holland, Hooper 1, Vavic 1, Obert 2, Daube 1, Cupido 2, Hallock, Woodhead, Bowen 2, Stevenson, Smith , Irving 2. Head coach: Udovicic.
Italy: Del Lungo, Di Fulvio 5, Luongo 3, Figlioli 2, Presciutti 2, Velotto, Renzuto, Echenique, Figari, Bodegas, Aicardi, Dolce. Head coach: Campagna.
Extra player shots: 6/11, USA 5/11. Pelanlty shots: Italy 2/3, USA ½.
The Americans stunned the World Champions with a 4:0 lead. But, the Italians were able to come back, just like two days ago, in the game against Greece. But, they earned just a point against the Greeks. Today, they recorded a valuable win. The USA proved that it had improved its play significantly in the last few years and that it had deserved the silver medal in the World League.
The USA defeated Italy in the semifinals of the World League, but a lot of exclusions in that match )including a red card for Matteo Aicardi) affected the outcome of that game. Many expected a different storyline today. Few could predict that the Italians would battle for a win in a thrilling finish. Team USA was in front for more than three periods.
The USA opened the game with a 4:0 rush, but the Italians came back, and cut the deficit to one goal (3:4) early in the second quarter. Still, the Americans didn’t let the World champions go further. They had three-goals leads four times (6:3, 7:4, 8:5, 9:6). In the first minute of the fourth quarter, Italy finally equalized – Figlioli found the net for 9:9. However, It didn’t take long before the USA went ahead again. Irving converted a man-up to 10:9 in the 26th minute. Italy earned a penalty shot in the next possession, but Figlioli hit the post. The Italians paid for that mistake immediately. Obert doubled the USA’s advantage to 11:9.
Still, the Americans didn’t manage to save three points. Luongo scored with a power-play advantage for 10:11 at 04:35. Two minutes and 22 seconds before the final buzzer, Italy earned a new penalty shot. This time, Francesco Di Fulvio, the man of the match, took responsibility and made no mistake. He sent the ball home to level at 11:11. Nicholas Presciutti put Italy in front with an action goal (12:11) with 01:41 to go. The World Champions managed to save the slim advantage and an important win.
Greece – Japan 10:9 (1:1, 4:4, 2:1, 3:3) – play by play and statistics
Greece: Zerdevas, Genidounias 3, Skoumpakis 1, Kapotsis 3, Fountoulis, Papanastasiou, Argyropoulos 1, Mourikis 1, Kolomvos 1,Gkiouvetsis, Vlachopoulos. Head coach: Vlachos.
Japan:Tanamura, Adachi 3, Koppu, Mitsuaki, Yoshida 1, Suzuki, Shimizu, Takada, Arai 2,Inaba 2, Okawa, Araki 1. Head coach: Omoto.
Extra player shots: Greece 5/9, Japan 3/13. Penalty shots: Japan 1/1.
There were many twists and turns in the game which was an even contest from the first whistle until the last buzzer. Greece secured three points with a last-gasp goal scored 32 seconds before the end.
Kolomvos gave Greece an early 1:0 lead, but Inaba equalized in the middle of the first quarter. The Greeks opened the second quarter with two goals, they went to 3:1, and it seemed that they were on the right track. But, the Japanese responded with three goals in 87 seconds and earned a 4:3 lead (12th minute). Mourikis leveled at 4:4, Adachi gave the hosts a 5:4 lead, but Kapotsis closed this quarter for 5:5. After Kapotsis’ goal, Greece left without Alexandros Papanastasiou, who was red-carded for protest.
Japan scored the first goal in the second half, but Greece entered the final period leading 7:6.
Kapotsis doubled the Greeks’ advantage in the 25th minute from an extra (8:6), but the Japanese caught up with the rival by the middle of the quarter (8:8). Genidounias found the net from the right-wing in the 30th minute, for 9:8. Japan still didn’t say its last word. Arai netted with an extra player for 9:9, and the score was tied for the 7th time in the game. But, the Greeks had the last laugh. Argyropoulos hit the back of the net 32 seconds from the end and set the final score.
Hungary – South Africa 23:1 (4:0, 5:0, 8:0, 6:1) – play by play and statistics
Hungary: Nagy, Angyal 2, Manhercz 5, Zalanki, Vamos 4, Hosnyanszky 1, Pasztor 4, Jansik 2, Erdelyi 3, Mezei 1, Harai 1 ,Vogel. Head coach: Marcz.
South Africa: May, Card, Laurenson, Badenhorst, Rezelman, Stone, Evezard, Rodda 1, Margro, Mayman, Neill, Stewart. Head coach: P.Martin.
Extra player shots: Hungary 8/10, South Africa 1/5. Penalty shots: Hungary 1/1.
Hungary’s coach Tamas Marcz gave a day off to captain Denes Varga, and the European champions played with two goalkeepers today. Viktor Nagy was in front of the goal in the first half, while Soma Vogel jumped into the water after the middle break.
For Hungary, this match was warming up for harder tasks, while South Africa had an opportunity to gain a new experience playing against the European champions. But, Hungary showed no mercy to its rival. They kept the Africans goalless until the 30th minute when Rodda converted a 6 on 5 for 1:20. After that, the Europeans added three goals.
1 Italy 3 – 5 (+20)
2 Greece 3 – 5 (+2)
3 Hungary 3 – 4 (+26)
4 USA 3 – 4 (+18)
5 Japan 3 – 0 (-8)
6 South Africa 3 – 0 (-58)
Croatia – Montenegro 13:8 (1:1, 6:4, 4:3, 2:0) – live score and statistics
Croatia: Bijac, Macan , Fatovic 3, Loncar 1, Jokovic, Bukic 2, Vukicevic 2, Buslje 1, Milos 1, Vrlic, Obradovic 1, Garcia 2. Head coach: Tucak.
Montenegro: Tesanovic, Brguljan, Perkovic 2, Petkovic, Cuckovic, Popadic, Vidovic, Ukropina 1, Ivovic 2, Spaic, Matkovic 2, Banicevic 1. Head coach: Gojkovic.
Extra player shots: Croatia 5/12, Montenegro 4/10.
The Croats managed to recover from a shocking loss to Australia and showed something of their best on Day 3. It was a great team effort that led the Croats to the win over Montenegro.
Montenegro’s Aleksandar Ivovic opened the match by converting a man-up in the second minute. But, Milos equalized from a counterattack shortly after. There were no goals until the first break, but the Croats started dominating in the second period. They scored three goals in a row and jumped to a 4:1 lead (12th minute). From that point on, the distance between the sides was never smaller than two goals. Croatia played very well both in defense and in offense and controlled the game. By the last break, Ivica Tucak’s side regained a 3-goal lead (11:8).
In the fourth period, the Croats tightened their defense and didn’t let a single goal. Ante Vukicevic was the only one who found the net in the fourth quarter. He scored two goals to give Croatia a 13:8 win. A goal difference might be crucial in this very balanced group. If Australia, Croatia, and Montenegro are tied after the last round, Croatia will be the best in this circle, because it has the best goal difference in the mini table of the encounters between these three teams, ahead of Montenegro and Australia (which beat Croatia 11:8 and lost to Montenegro 10:15).
Serbia – Australia 14:8 (6:0, 4:1, 1:2, 3:5) – play by play and statistics
Serbia: B.Mitrovic, Mandic 4, Dedovic 1, Randjelovic, Lazic, Pijetlovic 1, Rasovic 3, Aleksic , Jaksic 1, Filipovic 1, Prlainovic 2, S. Mitrovic 1. Head coach: Savic.
Australia: Hrysanthos, Campbell 1, A.Ford, Tomasevic 1, Power, L.Edwards 1, Roach 1, Younger 1, G.Ford 1, Putt, Howden, B.Edwards 2. Head coach: Fatovic.
Extra player shots: Serbia 5/6, Australia 2/7. Penalty shots: Serbia 2/2, Australia 1/2.
Australia played three matches in a row against the ex-Yugoslav countries. On Day 1, Australia fought hard against Montenegro. Two days ago, the “Aussies” upset Croatia. Today, they faced Serbia, but the Olympic champion was too strong for Australians.
The match turned into a one-sided contest quickly. Serbia’s defense was outstanding in the opening minutes. The Olympic champions displayed a very good offensive play and quickly jumped to a 6:0 lead.
Andrija Prlainovic extended the margin to seven (7:0) early in the second quarter. Australia’s attacks in the first half were almost harmless because Serbia didn’t let the “Sharks” make good chances to score. Australia finally got on the scoreboard in the the11th minute, when Tomasevic converted a man-up for 1:7. Shortly before, Serbia’s goalkeeper Branislav Mitrovic saved a penalty shot by Howden.
Serbia, which had a perfect conversion of extra player shots, earned a 10:1 lead before the third quarter and killed all the suspense. The Serbs slowed down after the middle break and saved energy for derby games against Croatia and Montenegro.
Spain – Kazakhstan 16:4 (3:0, 3:0, 5:2, 5:2) – live score and statistics
Spain: Aguirre, Munarriz 1, Granados 5, De Toro 3, Sanahuja 1, Larumbe, Famera, Fernandez 2, Tahull 1, Perrone, Mallarach 2, Bustos 1. Head coach: D.Martin.
Kazakhstan: Makhmetov, Medvedev, Aubakirov, Markovic 1, Shmider, Artjuh, Sakenov, Vuksanovic 2, Ukumanov, Ruday 1, Altaev, Shvedov. Head coach: Knezevic.
Extra player shots: Spain 4/7, Kazakhstan 1/7. Penalty shots: Spain 2/2.
Spain defeated Kazakhstan easily and practically secured a spot in the quarterfinals. The group leader left no chance to the Asians. Spain’s first goalkeeper Daniel Lopez wasn’t on the team today. He was replaced by Unai Aguirre, who did a good job. Kazakhstan didn’t score a goal in the first two quarters and a half. The Spaniards built an 8:0 led before Kazakhstan found the net for the first time (Markovic for 1:8 in the 20th minute). Aguirre collected 17 saves, while the best scorer was Alvaro Granados who netted five goals.
1 Spain 3 – 6 (+15)
2 Serbia 3 – 4 (+19)
3 Croatia 3 – 4 (+18)
4 Montenegro 3 – 2 (-2)
5 Australia 3 – 2 (-8)
6 Kazakhstan 3 – 0 (-42)