This weekend, Italy, Hungary and Greece are having their final tests in the preparations for the European Championships (Budapest, January 12th – 16th). The three teams are playing at the Four Nations Cup, which started in Cuneo (Italy) today.
Besides three strong European teams, Team USA also takes part at the tournament in Cuneo.
On Day 1, Hungary defeated the USA (15:10), while home team Italy beat Greece (11:8).
USA – Hungary 10:15 (3:1, 2:6, 4:3, 1:5)
USA: Bowen 4, Daube 3, Hooper 1, Ramirez 1, Irving 1.
Hungary: Manhercz 4, Varga 4, Zalnaki 3, Sedlmayer 2, Mezei 1, Erdelyi 1.
The Americans took the better start, led 4:2 early in the second quarter. Then Hungary took control. The Hungarians, guided by Denes Varga, scored four unanswered goals and went 6:4 up a minute and 40 seconds from the end of the first half.
Hungary built a 3-goal advantage (8:5) in the middle of the third period, but Team USA equalized 32 seconds before the last break when Daube scored from a penalty shot for 9:9. Gergo Zalnaki put Hungary 10:9 ahead just 16 seconds later.
The European team opened the final quarter with two goals for 12:9. Team USA reduced the gap (10:12), while Hungary scored the last three goals in the match for the solid 15:10 win.
Italy – Greece 11:8 (5:4, 3:0, 2:3, 1:1)
Italy: Di Fulvio 5, FIgari 2, Velotto 1, Echenique 1, Luongo 1,Bodegas 1.
Greece: Genirounias 3, Gounas 2, Fountoulis 1, Kakaris 1, Kapotsis 1.
Italy rushed to a 3:0 lead, but Greece managed to come back and trailed by a goal (4:5) before the second period. However, the World champions shut out the Greeks for almost 16 minutes, while producing a 4:0 series for a 9:4 advantage. That proved vital for their win. Greece managed to score three goals in the last two minutes of the third quarter (7:10). Still, they didn’t go further. Italy maintained a 3-goal difference until the end – 11:8.
Francesco Di Fulvio, the MVP of the World Championships, was unstoppable, he netted five goals tonight.
Tomorrow, Italy will play against Team USA, while Hungary will face Greece.