Italy edged out Hungary 9:8 in the big derby of Day 3 of the World Cup Division 1.
The Italians and the Hungarians faced off in the group in Zagreb. The “Settebello” had a 3-goal lead before the fourth quarter. Hungary cut the deficit but missed several opportunities to level the score after that.
The second match in Zagreb was very exciting, too. Team USA beat France 12:9. In the middle of the final quarter, France had a 2-goal lead (9:7). However, the Americans had a stunning finish, they netted five straight goals in the last four and a half minutes to record a win.
The big match of the day in Group B in Podgorica was the replay of the Olympic final, Serbia – Greece. The Greeks were the favorites. They outplayed Serbia in the first half. The reigning Olympic champions attempted to come back, but Greece controlled the game and recorded a 16:14 win. This victory is a milestone in the history of both national teams. Serbia defeated Greece in all encounters in official competitions between 2006, when Serbia started playing as an independent state until today,
The other today’s game in Podgorica also produced 30 goals. Spain cruised to a 20:10 victory over Georgia. The win could be more convincing, but Spain slowed in the fourth quarter.
Hungary – Italy 8:9 (2:2, 2:2, 2:5, 2:0)
Hungary: Levai, Angyal1, Maknercz 1, Pohl1 1, Vamos, Molnar, Nagy, Burian 2, Nemet, Fekete, Vismeg 1, Ven.Vigvari 2, Szakonyi. Head coach: Zs. Varga.
Italy: Del Lungo, Di Fulvio 2, Damonte 1, Marziali , Fondelli 1, Cannella, Renzuto, Echenique, Bruni 3, Di Somma 1, Dolce, Nicosia. Head coach: Campagna.
Italy earned one of the crucial wins in the tournament in Zagreb by beating Hungary. Since the USA is directly qualified for the Final in Los Angeles, only two teams from this group will advance to the Final Eight. At least one of the three powerhouses – Italy, Hungary and Croatia, won’t go to the USA. The encounter between these three teams will probably decide the first three places. Italy opened a series of derbies with the win and made a big step towards California.
Hungary was without captain Szilard Jansik. On Thursday’s piece of training, his neck hurt very severely (A few years ago, he was out of the pool for long, because of a herniated disc). It’s still under question if he will play until the end of the tournament. On the other side, Italy’s head coach fielded all of its best players.
Hungary was seeking revenge for a painful 10:11 loss to Italy in the quarterfinals of the World Championships in Budapest, but the “Settebello” won again.
The first half was balanced, but Italy was only once in front in the first 16 minutes (Damonte scored for 2:1 in the 5th minute).
Hungary opened the second quarter excellently. It killed Italy’s man-up in the first possession. Immediately after, Vigvari found the net for 3:2. That was followed by two missed chances by the Italian team (one was with a man-up). The “Settebello” paid for three missed opportunities. In the 11th minute, Hungary got a penalty shot. One of the youngest on the team, Vigvari took the ball and sent it into the net for 4:2. It seemed that Hungary had gained momentum and controlled the match. But, Italy leveled by the middle break (4:4). At the beginning of the third quarter, Bruni gave Italy a 5:4 lead. In the 19th minute, That was followed by missed extra player chances at both ends of the pool. In the 18th minute, Burian scored an action goal to level at 5:5. But, Italy regained an advantage in the next possession after Di Somma converted a man-up for 6:5. But, just 20 seconds later, Vamos equalized.
Still, after that, Hungary was scoreless for more than nine minutes. By the end of the third period, the Italians scored three unanswered goals in less than four minutes (Fondelli and Di Fulvio 2) for 9:6. That was crucial for their win. They didn’t find the net in the last 08:40 minutes but kept the victory.
In the middle of the final quarter, Angyal ended Hungary’s goalless phase by converting a 6 on 5 to 7:9. Hungary narrowed the gap to one (Burian 8:9) with 03:06 minutes remaining on the clock. Everything was open and there was enough time for Italy to secure a bigger win and for Hungary to complete a comeback. But, there were no goals. Italy missed one, and Hungary three man-ups in the last three minutes. Hungary had the last attack in the match and a chance to equalize, but it lost the ball and Italy secured a valuable win.
Both teams had a poor percentage of extra player shots – Hungary 2/8, and Italy 3/10. But maybe one power-play goal that Italy scored made a tiny and, in the end, significant difference.
France – USA 9:12 (1:1, 4:3, 2:2, 2:6)
France: Fontani, Izdinsky, Crousillat 3, Bouet 1, Khasz , Vernoux 1, Canovas, Bjorch, Marzouki 2, Canonne 2, Vanpeperstraete, De Nardi, Rossy, Head coach: Bruzzo.
USA: Holland, Ch. Dodd 2, Vavic 1, Dunstan, Daube 4, Cupido, Hallock 3, Woodhead, Bowen, Stevenson, Ehrhardrt, Irving, Weineberg. Head coach: Udovicic.
France led for most of the time and dictated the pace, but it couldn’t keep the same rhythm until the end. The USA waited for its opportunity and managed to make a big turn at the finish of the match.
France had a 2-goal lead twice in the first half (4:2 and 5:3). The USA cut the deficit before the middle break (4:6). The Europeans went to 7:4 with two goals in the first two minutes of the second half. However, it wasn’t enough for them to take the match in their hands and record a win. The Americans produced a 3:0 run. Stevenson leveled at 7:7 by converting a man-up in the 25th minute.
A minute later, Canonne ended the French’s silence that lasted for eight minutes and his team went ahead again – 8:7.
Five minutes before the end, Bouet made it 9:7 from a penalty shot. Many believed that France would earn three points.
However, the Americans scored the last five goals in the match. Hallock converted a double man up for 8:9. Hannes Daube leveled at 9:9 with 03:44 left on the clock. In the next attack, Fraance lost the ball, and Daube gave USA a 10:9 lead just 38 seconds after the equalizer. The USA dominated in the final minutes and made the most of each French mistake in the final minutes. After Daube’s goal for 10:9, they added two for a 12:9 victory.
1.Croatia 2 – 6
2.Italy 2 – 6
3. USA 3 – 3
4. Hungary 2 – 3
5. Japan 2 – 0
6. France 3 – 0
Day 4 (March 11)
Italy – Croatia (18:30)
Japan – Hungary (20:30)
France and USA bye
Serbia – Greece 14:16 (2:4, 1:4, 6:5, 5:3)
Serbia: Mitrovic, Mandic 4, S.Rasovic 5, Randjelovic 1, Lazic, Lukic 2, Drasovic, V.Rasovic, Stanojevic, Ubovic 1, Jankovic 1, Vusinic, Misovic. Head coach: Stevanovic.
Greece: Zerdevas, Genidounias 3, Skoumpakis, Kalogeropulos, Fountoulis 3, Papanastasiouu 2, Gkilas 1, Argyropoulos 3, Solanakis 1, Kakaris 3, Alafragkis, Vlachopoulos, Tzortzatos. Head coach Vlachos.
The match Serbia – Greece was a replay of the Olympic final only because of the name of the teams. Only five Olympic champions from Tokyo were on Serbia’s roster. There have been changes in the Greek squad since Tokyo, but most of the key players who contributed to winning the Olympic silver are on the team.
Before the tournament in Podgorica, Greece had never beaten Serbia in official games. But, each series has to come to an end.
Greece was the favorite and the outcome of the match wasn’t a surprise. The Greeks practically secured the win between the middle of the first and the opening minutes of the third period. In that interval, the Greeks outplayed Serbia and earned a 6-goal lead. The Serbs started coming back in the second half, and reduced the gap to two several times, but Greece didn’t let them go further.
Serbia started well, Mandic opened the scoring, but the Greeks replied with two quick goals and went ahead.Mandic leveled the score at 2:2 in the fourth minute.
But after that, the Greeks started dominating. Their center-forwards did a great job and forced a lot of exclusions. The Olympic silver medalists played very well in defense. With an excellent man-up conversion, Greece built a big lead (Greece’s conversion at the end was 8/11 and Serbia’s 6/12). Between the 6th and 14th minute, Greece produced a 6:0 run and jumped to 8:2. Serbia was without a goal for almost 12 minutes. Fifty-eight seconds before the middle break, Mandic scored his and Serbia’s third goal, so his team trailed 3:8 before the third quarter.
The Greeks regained a 6-goal lead (9:3 and 10:4) in the opening minutes of the third quarter, but Serbia didn’t give in.
In the 26th minute, the Serbs reduced the gap to two (Lukic 11:13), but Kakaris responded immediately. In the middle of the quarter, the Serbs came close again (S.Rasovic 12:14), but Genidounias answered less than 30 seconds later. Two minutes and 19 seconds before the end, Greece earned a penalty. Genidounias scored from the 5m line for 16:12 and that was the end of the contest. Serbia halved the deficit when it was too late, Jankovic set the final score (14:16) with 34 seconds to go.
Tomorrow, Serbia will face Montenegro in a game that is a must-win match for both teams. The side that loses in that clash, probably won’t go to the final tournament in Los Angeles.
Spain – Montenegro 20:10 (6:2, 6:1, 6:2, 2:5)
Spain: Aguirre, Munarriz 3, Biel 2, Barroso 3, De Toro 2, Gomila 1, Famera, Cabanas 3, Asensio 1, Perrone 3, Mallarach 2, Bustos, Lorrio. Head coach: Martin.
Montenegro: Razmadze, Chikovani, Dadvani, Shushiashvili 3, Bitadze, Adeishvili, Jakhaia, Saric 2, Imnaishvili 1, Magrakvelidze 3, Vasic 1, Dzikhtsiarenka Gvetadze. Head coach: Stanojevic.
Spain needed less than three minutes to build a 3:0 lead. Georgia’s Vasic converted a double man-up for 1:3, but the Spaniards responded with two quick goals and, already in the sixth minute, had a 4-goal lead (5:1).
After two thrilling games on the first two days (against Montenegro and Australia), Georgia couldn’t offer strong resistance to the world champions. But, even if the Georgians weren’t exhausted, they probably wouldn’t have a big chance against the powerful Spanish team. The world champions continued rolling in the second and the third quarter. In the 19th minute, the world champions reached a double-digit margin (14:4). Before the last break, 13 goals separated the rivals (18:5). Spain dropped the speed in the final eight minutes and the fourth quarter belonged to Georgia.
1. Spain 3 – 9
2. Serbia 2 – 3
3. Greece 2 – 3
4. Montenegro 2 – 3
5. Georgia 3 – 3
6. Australia 3 – 0
Day 4 (March 11)
Montenegro – Serbia (17:30)
Greece – Australia (19:30)
Spain and Georgia bye
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