Team USA made history and won its first-ever medal at the World Men’s U20 Championships.
The Americans defeated Greece 11:6 in the bronze-medal match of the 22nd World Junior Championships in Otopeni.
I The bronze medal in Otopeni is the first-ever medal for the male water polo teams of the USA in all age-group World Championships (U16, U18, U20 and senior categories). The first senior World Championships was held in 1973. The World Men’sJunior (U20) Championships were inaugurated in 1981. The first World U18 Championships was staged in 2012, while the first World U16 Champs was last year.
Spain beat Italy in the fifth-place match (10:8). Montenegro easily earned a win over Croatia in the 7th-place game (12:9). Most of the games for the 9th – 16th place classification were very interesting.
Serbia and Hungary play in the final (19:30 local time).
Final standings: 3. USA, 4. Greece, 5. Spain, 6. Italy, 7. Montenegro, 8. Croatia, 9. Japan, 10. Netherlands, 11..Australia, 12. Romania, 13. Germany, 14. Brazil, 15. Iran, 16. Argentina, 17. New Zealand, 18. South Africa, 19. Peru.
2023 World U20 Championships, Otopeni, Day 8
Greece – USA 6:11 (1:4, 1:2, 2:1, 2:4)
Greece:Georgaras 2, Spahic 2, Almyras 1, Bitsakos 1.
USA: Liechty 3, R.Dodd 2, Carson 1, Ch.Dodd 1, McFarland 1, Watson 1, Castillo 1, Mundelius 1.
Team USA made history and won its first-ever medal at the World Men’s U20 Championships.
The Americans defeated Greece in the bronze-medal match of the 22nd World Junior Championships in Otopeni.
Greece entered the match without the best player Nikolaos Gkillas, who was excluded for brutality in the semifinals against Serbia. His absence affected the Greeks’ play. However, Team USA displayed an excellent performance and deserved the bronze medal.
Brothers Chase and Ryder Dodd gave the USA a 2:0 lead in the opening minutes. The Greeks got on the scoreboard in the 5th minute after Georgaras converted a penalty. Late into the first period, the Americans netted twice for a 4:1 lead.
Almyras scored the second Greeks’ goal in the 10th minute (it was another penalty shot) for 2:4 and some believed that the Europeans could catch up with the Americans. But, their hopes didn’t live for long. The Americans’ defense, commanded by goalkeeper West Tamkin was superb in the first half. McFarland converted a penalty for 5:2. In the 16th minute, Ben Liechty, the MVP of the match, hit the back of the net from a difficult position for 6:2.
The third quarter started with a series of lost balls and misses. In the 19th minute, Greece earned the third penalty shot in the match. This time, Pouros hit the post. Mundelius scored from a 6 on 5 in the next Americans’ possession (7:2), and it was almost clear that the USA’s dream of the first medal at the World U20 Championships would become true. By the end of the third quarter, Greece reduced the gap to three (4:7). But, Team USA opened the fourth quarter with two quick power play goals, rebuilding a 5-goal lead (9:4) to seal the victory.
The Europeans narrowed the distance to three (6:9), but Team USA held back their last comeback attempt.
Team USA was far better than Greece in all statistical parameters. Their shot percentage was 46% (11/24), and Greece’s 23% (6/26). USA scored five action goals (5/13), and Greece only two (2/17). As for the powerplay shots, the USA netted five (5/9) and Greece two goals (2/4). Each team missed one penalty (USA ½, Greece 2/3).
USA’s goalie Tamkin posted 12, and Greece’s Iliopoulos had six saves.
Spain – Italy 10:8 (3:1, 3:2, 1:1, 3:4)
Spain: Bargallo 4, Gil 1, Valls 1, Lopez 1, Ivaylov 1, Bruce 1, Bonet 1.
Italy: Condemi 3, Gullotta 1, Provenziani 1, Boezi 1, Bragantini 1, Balzarini 1.
The result of the 5th-place match was almost the same as the score of the encounter between the Spaniards and the Italians in the group stage when Spain won 10:8.
But, the opening of today’s match indicated that the Spaniards would cruise to the win.
Italy’s Boezi opened the scoring in the 3rd minute. However, a few minutes after, the Spaniards started ruling the field. Italy started missing its chances, and Spain’s goalkeeper Alejandro Alegre posted several saves. Spain’s defense worked well, while the attack of the team in the white caps made the most of all Italy’s mistakes. Between the 5th and the 13th minute, Spain produced a 6:0 series (three goals with a man-up, two from the penalty shots and one action goal).
The Italians found themselves 1:6 down, but they didn’t surrender. Condemi ended Italy’s silence, which lasted for 11 minutes, by converting a penalty shot. Balzarini added one goal and the “Settebello” trailed 3:6 at halftime.
Spain went to 7:3 in its first possession in the third period and kept the lead until the 22nd minute, when Gullotta made it 4:7 from a 6 on 5. The Italians added two powerplay goals in the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to one (6:7) with 05:16 minutes left on the clock. In the remaining time, the game was a duel between Italy and the Spanish attacker Ignasio Bargallo.
After the sixth goal, Italy reduced the gap to one two more times (7:8 and 8:9). But, immediately after each of these three goals, Ignasio Bargallo replied with a long-distance goal from practically the same place and didn’t let Italy come back. Bargallo netted his third goal in the fourth period (and his fourth in a total) with 52 seconds left on the clock and set the final score – 10:8.
Croatia – Montenegro 9:12 (2:5, 2:2, 1:3, 4:2)
Croatia: Pavlic 2, Zvono 2, Stojanac 2, Mozara 2, N.Cubranic 1.
Montenegro: Vuckovic 3, Vujovic 2, Stupar 2, Janovic 2, Mrsic 1, Bastrica 1, Sladovic 1.
Croatia and Montenegro are the teams that arrived in Otopeni to battle for the medals. The 7th-place match was far from what they expected and aimed for at the end of the Championships.
The game between these two teams in the group stage ended in a penalty shootout. Montenegro came back from five goals down and won two points in a shootout. Today, there was not much excitement.
Croatia couldn’t find the necessary motivation to finish the tournament with a win, unlike Montenegro.
Montenegro earned a quick 4:1 lead with two fastbreak goals and two with a power-play advantage. The Montenegrins maintained the difference until the middle break. Midway through the third quarter, they stretched the margin to five (9:4). In the fourth period, they went to “+6” (11:5 and 12:6). The Croats halved the gap, scoring three goals in the last 02:12 minutes.
Japan – Netherlands 17:16 (1:1, 2:3, 4:2, 3:4, PSO 7:6)
Japan: Ogihara 6, Ura 3, Takeuchi 2, Inoue 2, Jo 1, Fukuda 1, Kano 1, Sasaki 1.
Netherlands:Wijgers 3, Mejin 3, Van der Weijden 2, Snel 2, Heitink 2, Bakker 1, Voorvelt 1, Schouwerwou 1, Van den Dobbelsteen 1.
The Japanese and the Dutch were very motivated to finish in 9th place, so the game was very intense, with a few twists and turns.
The Asians led 7:6 at the last break. Ura doubled their advantage in the 26th minute, and one team had a 2-goal lead for the first time. But, a new series of turns were yet to come. The Netherlands produced a 3:0 run and took a 9:8 lead (30th minute). Japan responded with two goals within 34 seconds and went ahead again – 10:9 at 01:18. The Europeans leveled at 10:10 in their next possession. Both teams missed their opportunities to score a winner in the last 52 seconds and this was one of the many games that was decided in a penalty shootout.
After eight rounds of shots, Japan celebrated the victory.
Romania – Australia 8:11 (3:4, 2:4, 2:2,1:1)
Romania: Tepelus 3, Neamtu 2, Belenyesi 2, Piriianu 1.
Australia:Glanzing 2, Grgurevic 2, Munk 2, Berehuak 2, Kyriakou 1, Valentine 1, Krenkels 1.
Australia’s attack was much better than yesterday in a 2:7 loss to the Netherlands.
The game was an even contest until 5:5. The “Sharks” scored three unanswered goals by halftime for a 8:5 lead. They added one more in the 18th minute and went to 9:5. Romania narrowed the distance to three a few times. However, Australia’s advantage and win weren’t in danger in the second half.
Australia scored only two goals with an extra player from five shots. Romania netted even seven goals with a man-up (7/12), so it’s clear that the action shots made the difference. Australia didn’t have a high percentage of the shots fro 6 on 6, but they were more aggressive in the attack, created many opportunities and netted nine goals from 31 shots.
Germany – Brazil 10:8 (3:1, 2:1, 2:3, 0:2, PSO 3:1)
Germany: Bauer 2, Sekulic 2, Dyck 2, Portisch 1, Metten 1, Jaschke 1, Rehm 1.
Brazil: Carsalade 3,Oliveira 3, Wulfhorst 2.
Germany earned a 3-goal lead already in the second quarter. However, Brazail managed to catch up with the rival, even though it had a player less for four minutes due to a violent foul in the second half. Still, Germany was better in a penalty shootout, thanks to its goalkeeper Max Spittank.
In the 10th minute, Germany had a 4:1 advantage and was 5:2 up at halftime. Brazil opened the third quarter with two goals and came very close (4:5). But, at the finish of this period, Brazil’s Carasalde was excluded for brutality. Still, Germany didn’t build a lead in the following minutes. Both teams scored two goals apiece. In the 26th minute, the score was 7:6.
After that, there were no goals for a while. Still, Brazil leveled with 26 seconds to go when Wulfhorst scored from a counterattack for 7:7 and the game entered a penalty shootout. Germany’s goalkeeper Max Spittank was the hero of the shootout, with three saves. Brazil’s goalie Diego Checchinato blocked one shot in the penalty drama.
Argentina – Iran 9:11 (1:3, 4:5, 1:0,3:3)
Argentina: Giri 3, De Luca 3, Poggi 1, Frassinelli 1, Fernandez 1.
Iran: Behzadsabouri 3, Abolghasemi 2, Shams 2, Sadrnia 2, Mehrikohneshahri 2.
Today wasn’t a lucky day for South Americans. Argentina finished the tournament with a loss, like Brazil.
Iran controlled the result, but Argentina chased the Asians until the end. Iran entered the second half with a 3-goal advantage, but Argentina cut the deficit early in the fourth period after Giri converted a penalty for 7:8. The teams exchanged goals until 9:10. Argentina had an attack to level the score. Still, Fernandez had his shot blocked with 21 seconds remaining on the clock. Iran started a counterattack, from which Shams scored for 11:9 and decided everything.