There were no one-sided contests on Day 2 of the World League Super Final in Strasbourg.
All four games were interesting, and nothing was decided before the final minutes.
World champion Spain defeated Serbia in Group A in a 35-goal match (20:15). The Serbs had a 3-goal lead in the first half. The teams were in a neck-and-neck race until the middle of the fourth period. However, the Spaniards, who had an excellent percentage of extra player shots, made the difference in the last several minutes.
Australia produced a comeback in the fourth period to upset Montenegro (9:8).
Italy narrowly beat France in the derby of the day in Group B – 9:8. Team USA defeated Canada – 15:13.
Italy and Spain have recorded two wins each. Still, neither team has yet secured first place in its respective group.
Group A: 1. Spain 6, 2. Australia 3, 3. Montenegro 3, 4. Serbia 0.
Group B: 1. Italy 6, 2. USA 4, 3. France 2, 4. Canada 0.
Serbia – Spain 15:20 (5:4, 5:5, 4:5, 1:6)
Serbia: Risticevic, Brankovic 1, Subotic 1, Pljevancic, Milojevic, Vico, Vucinic 5, Lukic 2, Martinovic 2, Radulovic 3, Gavrilovic, Velkic 1, Bulajic. Head coach: Savic.
Spain: Aguirre, Ponferrada, Biel 2, Sanahuja 3, De Toro 2, Valera 2, Famera, Cabanas 3, Tahull 2, Barroso 3, Paul 3, Bustos, Lorrio. Head coach: Martin.
Today, Serbia had four players from Budapest (Subotic, who missed yesterday’s game, was on the team). Spain, with eight World champions in the lineup, was a favorite.
However, the game was an even contest until the middle of the last period. Serbia played remarkably better than Montenegro yesterday. Spain, which scored even 14 power-play goals, had an excellent finish and broke the rival.
The game turned into a flood of goals already in the first quarter. Spain took a one-goal lead four times, Serbia leveled at 1:1, 2:2, 3:3 and 4:4. Just six seconds before the first break, Nikola Lukic found the net with a tricky shot from six meters and Serbia went in front for the first time – 5:4.
Subotic doubled Serbia’s advantage in the 9th minute, but the Spaniards responded with two extra player goals and leveled at 6:6 (11th minute). But, then Serbia tightened its defense. The Serbs netted three straight goals in three minutes (Vucinic 2 and Radulovic) to build a 3-goal lead (9:6) two and a half minutes before a 3-minute break. Still, the Spaniards cut the deficit and trailed just by a goal before the second half (9:10).
At halftime, Spain’s head coach David Martin switched the goalkeepers – Lorrio replaced Aguirre. Still, after that change, Serbia continued its series of goals. However, Spain also found good solutions in the attack and scored numerous goals. Unai Biel converted a man-up to equalize (10:10). In the following minutes, the lead changed the side a few times. Serbia had an 11:10 advantage. Spain earned a 12:11 and a 13:12 lead. Serbia went in front once more (14:13), but Sergi Cabanas closed this period with a power play goal and the teams were tied at 14:14 before the final quarter.
After only 37 seconds of play in the fourth, Vasilije Martinovic scored from an extra for 15:14, but it was the Serbs’ last goal in the game. They lost composure in the attack. The defense wasn’t up to the task. Spain made the most of it. The World champions took control and scored the last six goals in the game for a comfortable 20:15 victory.
What do statistics say? There were a lot of goals, but also many exclusions in this match – 35 in total (including one double exclusion and two penalty shots). Serbia committed 20 and Spain 15 personal fouls. The World champions had more chances to score with a man-up, which made the difference. Spain scored 14 goals with a power play advantage from 18 shots, double more than Serbia, which had a good percentage of extra player shots, but not so many chances (7/10). The Serbs scored two goals from the 5m line.
Australia – Montenegro 9:8 (2:2, 1:1, 3:4, 3:1)
Australia: Porter, Mardsen 1, Ford, Negus, Power, McJannett, Paviillard 5, Holden, Byrns 2, Putt, Poot 1, Edwards, Hedges. Head coach: Hamill.
Montenegro: Andric, Mrsic, Radovic, Averka 2, Murisic, Popadic 1, Vidovic 1, Djurdjic, Vujovic 1, Spain 1, Matkovic 1, Banicevic 1, Tesanovic. Head coach: Gojkovic.
Montenegro failed to upgrade yesterday’s big win over Serbia.
The reigning champions started well. They led most of the time and had a 2-goal lead early in the fourth quarter. But, Australia held the Europeans goalless in the last seven minutes and a half to secure a well-deserved win.
Montenegro earned a 2:0 lead after less than three minutes. But then it started making mistakes in attack. Australia found its rhythm and netted three goals in a row to go ahead (3:2). Kanstantin Averka ended Montenegro’s goalless phase that lasted nine minutes and leveled at 3:3 (12th minute). In the remaining four minutes of the first half, defenses dominated.
The neck-and-neck race continued during the third period. Montenegro took a one-goal lead three times, but the “Aussies”, led by Luke Pavillard, caught up with the reigning champions three times – until 6:6. In the 21st minute, Popadic netted for 7:6. Australia had no response after that, but Montenegro also couldn’t add more goals in the third period. Therefore, everything was open before the final quarter.
Montenegro won a swim-off in the fourth quarter. In the first possession, Dusan Matkovic doubled the Europeans’ advantage to 8:6. However, that was their last goal in the game. Midway through the quarter, Matthew Byrnes scored two goals to level at 8:8. Two minutes and 17 seconds before the final buzzer, Luke Pavillard found the net for the fifth time and the Aussies earned a 9:8 lead. After that, the “Sharks” managed to keep a minimal advantage, although Montenegro had a man-up in the last 29 seconds.
There are several possible outcomes of this group. Still, Spain can’t finish lower than 2nd place, and Serbia can’t move higher than 3rd place. All in all, there are a lot of open questions.
Results, schedule, standings
Day 1: Australia – Spain 10:13, Serbia – Montenegro 8:16
Day 2: Australia – Montenegro 9:8, Serbia – Spain 15:20.
Day 3 (July 24): Serbia – Australia (16:00), Montenegro – Spain (18:00)
1.Spain 2 – 6
2.Australia 2 – 3
3.Montenegro 2 – 3
4. Serbia 2 – 0
Italy – France 9:8 (2:2, 3:3, 3:2, 1:1)
Italy: Del Lungo, Alesiani, Damonte, Iocchi Gratta 2, Condemi, Cannella 4, Renzuto Iodice, Marziali, N.Presciutti, Ferrero 1, Di Somma 1, Cassia, Nicosia. Head coach: Campagna.
France:Dubois, Saudadier 1, Crousillat, Bouet 1, Khasz 1, Vernoux 1, Marion Vernoux, Bjorch 1, Marzouki 1, Canonne, Vanpepertraete 1, Piot, Fontani. Head coach: Bruzzo.
France proved that it had prepared for the Final Eight very well, but it couldn’t surprise Italy.
The first half was very balanced. Both teams had a lead, but the distance was never bigger than a goal. Italy led 2:1 and 3:2. The hosts turned a deficit into a 4:3 advantage with two quick power-play goals in the middle of the second quarter (Saudadier and Marzouki). They entered the final minute of the half leading (5:4). Still, at halftime, the score was 5:5 since Matteo Iocchi Gratta converted a man-up seven seconds before the middle break.
The game followed the same pattern in the third quarter. Italy went in front twice (6:5 and 8:7), France once (7:6). Edoardo Di Somma hit the back of the net for 8:7 in the 22nd minute. The Italians kept a slim advantage until the last break.
Thomas Vernoux leveled with a nice goal from a distance (26th minute) – 8:8. But, Filipo Ferrero responded immediately, converting a man-up to give Italy a new lead (9:8).
After these two goals, the defenses dominated. Both goalkeepers did their jobs well. Gianmarco Nicosia, who was in front of Italy’s goal throughout the match, posted 11 saves, while France’s Fontani blocked 13 shots this evening.
That rhythm of the game suited the Italians. A minute and two seconds before the end, France earned a man-up, but it lost the ball. At the other end of the pool, Nicholas Presciutti shot the post. France had the ball in the last five seconds, but they couldn’t make a miracle. Nicosia saved Vernoux’s long-distance shot with ease.
USA – Canada 15:13 (6:3, 4:1, 3:4, 2:5)
USA: Weinberg, Dodd 3, Vavic, Abramson 1, Daube 1, Ehrhardt 2, Hallock, Woodhead 1, Bowen 2, Stevenson 2, Langiewicz, Irving 3, Turner. Head coach: Udovicic.
Canada: Radenovic, Patterson 2, Djerkovic 2, Cote, Halaijan 2, Blanchard, Almasi, Gonzalez, Gardija 2, Soleimanipak 1, O’Donnell, D’Souza 4, McKnight. Head coach: Oaten.
As expected, Team USA collected the points in the North American derby. The favorites built a big advantage in the first half. But, Canada didn’t surrender. It even cut the deficit to one goal at the finish of the game. Still, the USA controlled the game and secured the win.
The opening minutes saw a balanced battle. It stood 2:2 in the sixth minute. Then, the Americans scored three goals in 1:24 minutes (Abramson, Irving, Daube) and went to 5:2. By halftime, they stretched the margin to six (10:4). Chase Dodd opened the third period with an action goal to make 11:4. The score was 12:5 in the middle of the third quarter . It seemed that Team USA would record a convincing win. But, Canada didn’t let the neighbors celebrate too early. The Canadians produced a 7:1 series and reduced the gap to one goal. Two minutes before the end, Patterson scored for 12:13. This goal was a wake-up call for the Americans. Irving and Ehrhardt responded with action goals, and Team USA earned a 15:12 lead with 61 seconds left on the clock to secure three points.
Results, schedule, standings
Day 1: Italy – Canada 17:5, USA – France 17:19 (PSO)
Day 2: USA – Canada 15:13, Italy – France 9:8
Day 3 (July 24): Italy – USA (14:00), France – Canada (20:00)
1. Italy 2 – 6
2. USA 2 – 4
3. France 2 – 2
4. Canada 2 – 0