Serbia and Greece will play in the final game of the 20th World Men’s Junior Championships in Kuwait tomorrow.
Serbia defeated Italy 9:7 in the semifinals today. Reigning champion Greece beat Croatia convincingly 15:6. The Croats scored only one goal in the second half of the match.
In the semifinals for places 5-8, Montenegro downed Japan 18:11, and Spain defeated the USA after penalty shootout 13:12.
Hungary, which was 4th in Belgrade 2017, took the 9th place, by beating Canada 15:6. Australia edged out New Zealand 9:8 for the 11th position. Russia demolished South Africa 20:10 and finished 13th. Egypt defeated China 14:9 in the game for the 15th place. Brazil downed Uzbekistan 22:7 and finished in 17th place.
The match for the 19th place between host Kuwait and Iran was abandoned 30 seconds from the end of the third quarter because of the fighting between the players in the pool. Iran was leading 12:4 before the referees decided not to continue the encounter.
Final: Serbia – Greece
Bronze medal match: Italy-Croatia
For 5th place: Montenegro – Spain
For 7th place: Japan – USA
Serbia – Italy 9:7 (1:0, 2:2, 3:2, 3:3)
Serbia: Gavrlovic, Brankovic, Barac, Nesic, Stanojevic 1, Mitrovic, Vucinic 2, Cvetkovic 2, Martinovic 1, Sulc 2, Pljevancic , Radovic 1, Misovic.
Italy: Di Donna, M. Di Martire 1, Ferrero, Antonucci, Narciso, G. Di Martire, Guidi, Novara 3, Mezzarobba 1, Tozzi, Spione 2, Tartaro, De Michelis.
Extra player: Serbia 4/8, Italy 2/14. Penalties: Italy 1/1
Serbia, playing excellently in defense, dictated the pace in the first two quarters. The Serbs kept the Italians goalless for almost 14 minutes. Serbia had a 3:0 lead before Italy scored its first goal, from a penalty, two and a half minutes before the end of the second quarter. Quickly after that, the Italians cut the deficit to 2:3.
Serbia was keeping the lead in the second half. The Italians managed to narrow the gap a few times (3:4, 4:5, 5:6), but they never equalized. In the fourth period, Serbia built a 3-goal advantage again (8:5). In the middle of the fourth, Novara netted for 6:8. Then Kristian Sulc fired a shot from 6m for 9:6. After that, the Italians had a chance with two men-up, but Antonucci hit the post. It happened two and a half minutes before the end, and there was no way back for Italy, which scored its 7th goal in the last minute.
Serbia’s goalkeeper Vladimir Misovic was outstanding today, and he was named the man of the match.
Serbia, which won bronze in Belgrade 2017, climbed at least a step higher than two years ago. Only one player from the team that plays in Kuwait – captain Djordje Vucinic- competed at the 2017 World U20 Championships.
Italy, which was 7th two years ago, will battle for the bronze.
Croatia – Greece 6:15 (2:4, 3:4, 0:5, 1:2)
Croatia: Jurlina, Malenica, Krekovic, Vrdoljak 2, Bajic 1, Krzic, Solje, Herceg, Penava 2, Biljaka, Zuvela 1, Paparic, Sunara.
Greece: Dalmaras, Kalogeropoulos 2, Alafragkis 1, Gkiouvetsis 5, Nikolaidis 2, Papanastasiou 4, Kakaris, Rompopoulos, Papageorgiou, Diplaros 1, Chalvyopoulos, Goniotakis, Mitrakis.
Extra player: Croatia 1/7, Greece 3/7
The second semifinal was a replay of the final game at the 2017 World Championships in Belgrade, where Greece defeated Croatia after the penalty shootout (12:10). Five players participated in both games: Konstantinos Gkiouvetsis, Dimitrios Nikolaidis, Alexandros Papanastasiou (Greece), Marias BIljaka, and Lovro Paparic (Croatia).
Two of these five players were the heroes of the Greeks’ victory today. Konstantinos Gkiouvetsis scored five goals, and Alexandros Papanastasiou (who plays for Croatian champion Jug) found the net four times.
After less than four minutes in the first quarter, the Greeks had a 4:1 lead. They maintained a 3-goal gap by the end of the second quarter (8:5), while they secured the win in the third period. Greece produced a 4:0 run by the middle of the third quarter (two goals from Gkiouvetsis and two from Papanastasiou) and jumped to a 12:5 lead. Kalogeropoulos scored from an extra in the last minute of this period to extend the margin to 8 (13:5), and there was no way back for the Croats.
Greece even had a 15:5 lead, while Croatia its only goal scored 58 seconds from the end. Bajic converted a man-up to end his team’s goalless phase, which lasted 15:55 minutes.
Montenegro – Japan 18:11 (4:5, 5:3, 4:1, 5:2)
Montenegro: Cetkovic 7, Perkovic 3, Vuskovic 3, Vucurovic 1, Murisic 1, Draskovic 1, Mijuskovic 1, Franeta,
Japan: Inaba 4, Watanabe 2, Suzuki 1, Tsuta 1, Hizume 1, Maita 1, Miyazawa 1.
Montenegro broke Japan in the middle two quarters. The Japanese led 5:4 after the first period, while they doubled an advantage early in the second quarter (6:4). The Japanese maintained a 2-goal distance until 8:6. Montenegro netted three goals in the last three minutes of the first half to go ahead before the middle break – 9:8. They continued a series and jumped to a 13:8 lead deep into the third period. That 7:0 series made the difference.
Savo Cetkovic scored 7 goals for Montenegro. As usual, Yusuke Inaba was the top scorer in the Japanese team – 4 goals.
Spain – USA 13:12 (3:2, 1:3, 1:2, 2:0, PSO 6:5)
Spain: Asensio 2, Valera 2 (+ 2 PSO), Bertran 1 (+ 1 PSO), Ponferrada 1 (+1 PSO), Montes 1, Sanahuja (2 PSO).
USA: Vavic 3 (+2 PSO), Molthen 2 (+1 PSO), Daube 1 (+1 PSO), Ehrhardt 1, Woodhead (1 PSO)
Yesterday, the Americans were leading for most of the time of the match against Greece in the quarterfinals, but they lost in a penalty shootout (12:15).
Something similar happened today. Spain earned a 3:2 lead in the first quarter, but the Americans turned around a slim deficit to a 5:3 advantage deep into the second period. Spain’s Valera converted a penalty for 4:5 in the last minute of this quarter, but Team USA entered the fourth period with a 7:5 advantage. However, the Americans didn’t score in the last eight minutes, while Spain managed to equalize in the 29th minute – 7:7 and the match went to the shootout.
Most of the shooters made no mistake. In the third series, Alegre (Spain) hit the post, while Spanish goalkeeper Aguirre saved Ehrhardt’s shot. After six rounds, the score was 12:12. Then, Valera found the net for 13:12, while Molthen dropped the ball and failed to shot, and that was the end…
Hungary – Canada 15:6 (8:2, 1:1, 2:2, 4:1)
Hungary: Bobis 4, Baksa 3, Fekete 3, Dala 2, Sugar 1, Agh 1, Szeghalmi 1.
Canada: Djerkovic 2, Cote 2, Henning 2.
New Zealand – Australia 8:9 (3:3, 2:2, 1:1, 2:3)
New Zealand: Brown 3, Paterson 2, Ferigo 1, Schuler 1, Morris 1.
Australia: Negus 5, Vos 3, Gillfeather 1.
Russia – South Africa 20:10 (4:2, 6:1, 4:3, 6:4)
Russia: Mikhailov 4, Zinnurov 3, Mersh 2, Serebrennikov 2, Nikolaev 2, Makhiyanov 2, I. Vasilev 2, Frolov 1, Mirziev 1, Pelikh 1.
South Africa: Howard 4, Stone 2, Swanepoel 2, MacDonald 1, Dowsett 1.
China – Egypt 9:14 (3:2, 2:4, 2:3, 2:5)
China: Wang 4, Gao 3, Shi 1, Zhu 1.
Egypt: Bassel 5, Hamed 3, Saleh 3, Elsapagh 2, Farahat 1, Elzayat 1
Uzbekistan – Brazil 7:22 (1:5, 4:5, 0:6, 2:6)
Uzbekistan: Osipyan 3, Sobirjonov 1, Kenjaev 1, Khoshimov 1, Makhmudjonov 1.
Brazil: Fichman 4, Galvane 4, Santos 3, Ferreira 3, Campedelli 3, Pires 2, Vizacre 1, Chiappini 1, Scarabelim 1.
Kuwait – Iran 4:12 – abandoned