Italy defended the gold medal at the men’s water polo tournament at the 31st University Games in Chengdu.
The “Settebello” beat Hungary in the final – 13:11 and won their second consecutive title after their triumph in Naples four years ago.
The medal won in Chengdu is the fifth gold at the Universiades for the Italian men’s water polo team, but Hungary is still a record holder with six crowns.
Even though the final score says that the game was an even contest, Italy secured the victory much before the end, as it had a 7-goal advantage in the third quarter,
Georgia won its first-ever medal at water polo tournaments at the University Games, beating the USA 12:7 in the third-place match.
2023 World University Games, men’s water polo tournament, Day 9
Hungary – Italy 11:13 (3:6, 2:5, 1:2, 5:0)
Hungary: Miszei, Kevi 2, Szeghalmi 3, Baksa 3, Bobis, Agh, Dala, Aranyi, Nyiri 1, Ekler 2, Sugar, Batizi, Danka.
Italy: Da Rold, Del Basso 1, Vitale 1, F.Faraglia 1, Panerai 1, Occhione , Guerrato 2, Lanfranco 2, Campopiano 1, Guidi 2, P.Faraglia, Podgornik 2, De Michelis.
Italy imposed its rhythm from the very beginning and earned a 3:0 lead less than four minutes into the game. Hungary managed to recover from an opening shock quickly. The Hungarians netted three goals in less than two minutes and caught up with Italy – 3:3. However, Hungary had no response to Italy’s second 3:0 run. By the end of the first quarter, Italy went to 6:3.
Hungary narrowed the gap to two twice (4:6 and 5:7), just to see Italy score four unanswered goals by the end of the first half. The Italians had a huge 11:5 lead at halftime.
After 16 goals in the first half, both teams tightened their defenses in the third period. There were no goals until the 22nd minute when Mario Guidi made it 12:5. In the last two minutes of the third period, the teams exchanged goals, so Italy kept a 7-goal lead before the final quarter (13:6). Hungary was far a better team in the fourth period. Still, it was too late for a comeback. Two minutes before the end, Italy was four steps ahead of the rival – 13:9. Then, Hungary netter two quick goals and halved the deficit – 11:13 with 30 seconds left on the clock. But, Italy was cautious in its last possession, it didn’t make a mistake and killed Hungary’s last hope.
Italy had a solid percentage of the extra-player shots in the final – 6/9. Hungary converted seven man-ups from 12 shots and two of four penalty shots.
The title in Chengdu is Italy’s 18th medal at the men’s water polo tournaments at the University Games (5 gold, 6 silver, and 7 bronze medals). Hungary is atop the all-time medal table with 22 medals (6,10,6), USA has won 11 (4,5,2), Russia 9 (1,4,4), the USSR 8 (4,4,0), Yugoslavia 6 (3,1,2), Australia 6 (2,0,4), etc.
I Four nations have won back-to-back gold medals at the men’s water polo tournaments at the Universiades: Yugoslavia (1959 and 1961), Hungary (1963 and 1965; 2013 and 2015), USSR (1970 and 1973; 1983 and 1985), Italy (2019 and 2023). The list of all champions is at the end of the article.
Italy is the only nation with two water polo medals in Chengdu as the female team clinched silver yesterday.
USA – Georgia 7:12 (1:3, 0:3, 3:3, 3:3)
USA: Griggs, Alessandria, E. Liechty, Sherlock 1, Kenney 1, Merk 1, B.Larsen, B.Liechty, Carson, J.Larsen 3, Rowe 1, Loth , Tauscher.
Georgia: Razmadze, Tkeshalashvili 2, Dadvani 1, Shushiashvili 3, Bitadze 1, Adeishvili 1, Jakhaia 1, Akhvlediani 1, Imnaishvili 1, Magrakvelidze 1, Meskhi, Dzikhtsiarenka, Gvetadze.
Georgia built a crucial advantage in the first half of the match, just like Italy did in the final.
The Americans and the Georgians had already met in Chengdu before the bronze-medal match. The USA recorded a narrow 7:6 victory in the group stage..
Today, Georgia was always in front. The Europeans took a 3:0 lead in the first quarter. The Americans got on the scoreboard only in the 8th minute. Still, that goal wasn’t a start of a comeback. Georgia produced a 3:0 run in the second period for a comfortable 6:1 lead at the middle break.
The USA’s attack finally started working well in the second half. Still, it wasn’t enough to endanger Georgia’s advantage. The Europeans maintained a 5-goal difference until the end.
Georgia scored five goals from 13 attempts with a man-up, while USA’s conversion was 3/10. The Americans didn’t score from the only penalty shot in the match.
10. South Korea
1959: Yugoslavia, 1961: Yugoslavia, 1963: Hungary, 1965: Hungary, 1967: Japan, 1970: USSR; 1973: USSR, 1977: Romania, 1979: USA,
1981: Cuba, 1983: USSR, 1985: USSR, 1987: Italy, 1991: USA, 1993: USA, 1995: Yugoslavia, 1997: Italy, 1999: Spain,
2001: Italy, 2003: Hungary, 2005: Serbia and Montenegro, 2007: Montenegro, 2009: Australia, 2011: Serbia, 2013: Hungary, 2015: Hungary, 2017: Serbia, 2019: Italy, 2023: Italy.