There were no surprises on the last day of the group phase at the European U19 Men’s Championships in Podgorica.
All teams that were expected to win collected the points. Most of the favorites did it with ease, but one match was very exciting.
The Netherlands narrowly beat Malta and kept 2nd place in Group A. The Dutch trailed 0:4 after less than seven minutes of play. But, in the remaining time, they conceded only three goals, while they scored eight for an 8:7 victory.
Spain, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary finished the group stage unbeaten. These four teams will have a day off tomorrow since they qualified for the quarterfinals.
Day 3, results – Group A: Spain – Czech Republic 23:5, Netherlands – Malta 8:7. Group B: Croatia – Slovakia 21:6, Italy – Georgia 15:8. Group C: Greece – Germany 13:4, Serbia – Romania 14:6. Group D: Hungary – France 13:6, Montenegro – Turkey 16:5.
Crossover round (September 21): Netherlands – Germany, Greece – Malta, Italy – France, Montenegro – Georgia.
Follow all the results and the live scores visit Total Waterpolo Arena
Spain – Czech Republic 23:5 (9:1, 5:1, 5:2, 4:1)
Spain recorded a hard-fought win against the Netherlands yesterday and secured the top spot in Group A. Today, the Spaniards had nothing to lose in the match against the Czech Republic, which couldn’t move from last place in the group. Neither of the teams had pressure, but Spain proved its reputation and blew the Czech Republic away with five goals from Robert Lopez.
Netherlands – Malta 8:7 (2:4, 3:1, 2:1, 1:1)
The duel between the Netherlands and Malta was the highlight of the day. It was a decisive game in the battle for 2nd place, and the Dutch needed a point to stay in 2nd position. But, Malta proved that it could cause headaches to the rivals that are considered favorites. Moreover, the Maltese led most of the time.
Malta got off to a flying start and opened the match with a 4:0 lead! The Dutch started recovering from an opening shock in the last minute of the first quarter. Ten Broek scored two goals in the last 44 seconds of the first quarter and halved the distance (2:4).
Both teams tightened their defenses in the opening minutes of the second period. The first goal came in the 12th minute when Snel scored from a counterattack for 3:4. Cachia gave Malta a new 2-goal lead (5:3). Still, the Dutch caught up with Malta before the middle break (5:5).
Cutajar gave Malta a 6:5 lead in the 20th minute. Still, the Dutch earned a lead before the last break. Two and a half minutes before the final break, Snel converted a man-up and leveled at 6:6. The Netherlands forced a 6 on 5 in its last possession in this period, and Ten Broek took responsibility this time and made no mistake. He found the net and the Netherlands went ahead for the first time – 7:6.
Matthew opened the final period with an equalizer (7:7), but Van der Weijden replied in the 26th minute, and the Netherlands took an 8:7 lead. It turned out that it was the last goal in the game. The Dutch managed to keep a minimal advantage and 2nd place in the group.
Lars Ten Broek, who scored four goals for the Netherlands, was the hero of the Dutch’s victory.
Standings: 1. Spain 9, 2. Netherlands 6, 3. Malta 3, 4. Czech Republic 0.
Croatia – Slovakia 21:6 (6:0, 3:1, 7:2, 5:3)
Croatia was too strong for Slovakia and finished the group stage with all nine points and a +34 goal difference. Croatia didn’t leave a chance to the Slovaks and opened the game with a 7:0 lead. Early in the third period, Croatia already had a double-digit advantage (11:1). Niko Cubranic led Croatia’s attack with four goals.
Italy – Georgia 15:8 (4:4, 5:3, 5:1, 1:0)
The Italians collected the points they counted on, but Georgia didn’t surrender easily. The Georgians started better, and led 3:1 midway through the first period. Italy leveled at 3:3 and again at 4:4. The Italians produced a 3:0 run in the first four minutes of the second period to jump to a 7:4 lead. From that point on, the Italians were always ahead, but they needed more time to break Georgia’s resssitence. Georgia cut the deficit in the 15th minute (7:8). Francesco Condemi scored from a counterattack ten seconds before the middle break and Italy had a more promising 9:7 advantage at halftime.
Tkeshelashvili made it 8:9 early in the third quarter, but Italy, led by Condemi, who scored five goals today, answered with a 5:0 run. The “Settebello” went to 14:8 before the last quarter and secured the win.
Standings: 1. Croatia 9, 2. Italy 6, 3. Georgia 3, 4. Slovakia 0.
Greece – Germany 13:4 (5:1, 2:1, 3:2, 3:0)
Greece confirmed 2nd place with a comfortable victory over Germany. The Greeks dictated the pace. Goalkeeper Ilipoulos, who posted 12 saves today, was a pillar of the defense. A good defensive play, gave the Greeks opportunity to play relaxed in attack. They defeated Germany by nine goals, despite the fact that their percentage of shots was under 50% (13/29). Nikolas Gkillas scored four goas.
Serbia – Romania 14:6 (4:1, 2:2, 5:2, 3:1)
Serbia didn’t show its best face in the game against Romania, but it recorded a convincing win. The Serbs were always in front. Romania leveled at 1:1. By the end of the first quarter, the Serbs built a 3-goal lead. The favorites controlled the match, although they had some downs during the game, like at the end of the third period when they conceded two goals with a man-down within 42 seconds.
Captain Vasilije Martinovic and MVP of the World U18 Championships Nikola Kojic contributed to Serbia’s win with three goals each.
Standings: 1. Serbia 9, 2. Greece 6, 3. Germany 3, 4. Romania 0.
Hungary – France 13:6 (5:1, 4:2, 2:1, 2:2)
After yesterday’s convincing win over Montenegro, Hungary didn’t waste energy in today’s morning session.
The Hungarians needed five minutes to earn a 4:0 lead. By the middle of the third period, they went to 11:3. Then, they slowed and saved energy for the quarterfinals, where they will face the Netherlands or Germany.
Vince Vigvari, who scored four goals and had two assists, was the player of the match.
Montenegro – Turkey 16:5 (2:1, 5:1, 3:1,6:2)
Montenegro started slowly. The hosts took a 2:0 lead, but Turkey cut the deficit shortly after the second goal.
Still, the difference in quality between one of the favorites and an underdog became obvious in the second quarter. At halftime, Montenegro was 7:2 up. The hosts added two quick goals in the opening minutes of the second half for 9:2. After that, only a winning margin was in question.
Until the end of the last match in the group stage, the margin increased to eleven. Matija Sladovic scored five goals for Montenegro, Marko Mrsic added four.
Standings: 1. Hungary 9, 2. Montenegro 6, 3. France 3, 4. Turkey 0.
Playoff round, September 21
Playoff match 1: Netherlands – Germany (14:30)
Playoff match 2: Greece – Malta (16:00)
Playoff match 3: Italy – France (17:30)
Playoff match 4: Montenegro – Georgia (19:00)
Classification matches (13th-16th place): Czech Republic – Romania (10:00), Slovakia – Turkey (11:30)
Follow the live scores of all games on Total Waterpolo Arena
Quarterfinals, September 22
Quarterfinal 1: Hungary (1D) – winner PO1
Quarterfinal 2: Croatia (1B) – winner PO2
Quarterfinal 3: Serbia (1C) – winner PO3
Quarterfinal 4: Spain (1A) – winner PO 4
Semifinals, September 23
Semifinal 1: winners QF 1 and QF 3
Semifinal 2: winners QF2 and QF4
The matches for the final standings between 9th – 16th places will be played on September 24. The final game and the matches for 3rd, 5th, and 7th place are scheduled for September 25.