Croatia, Hungary, Italy Move to 2-0 in Men’s Water Polo Groups at Worlds

World Aquatics Championships – Men’s Water Polo

Croatia, Hungary and Italy took control of their respective groups with victories on Wednesday in men’s water polo at the World Championships. Meanwhile, Greece dropped into a tie with Serbia atop the Group A standings with a draw against Montenegro, while Serbia bested South Korea.

One day of group play remains on Friday with the top team in each group earning a pass to the quarterfinals and the second and third place teams moving on to a playoff round. The last place team in each group is eliminated from the competition.

Top Scorers

5 Nikola Jaksic, Serbia vs. Korea, 7/17
5 Marko Stamm, Germany vs. Brazil, 7/17
4 Rhys Howden, Australia vs. Kazakhstan, 7/17
4 Pietro Figlioli, Italy vs. Japan, 7/17
3 Mladan Janovic, Montenegro vs. Greece, 7/17
3 Milos Cuk, Serbia vs. Korea, 7/17
3 Dorde Lazic, Serbia vs. Korea, 7/17
3 Joe Kayes, Australia vs. Kazakhstan, 7/17
3 Nathan Power, Australia vs. Kazakhstan, 7/17
3 Maxim Zhardan, Kazakhstan vs. Australia, 7/17
3 Maro Jokovic, Croatia vs. USA, 7/17
3 Hrvoje Benic, Croatia vs. USA, 7/17
3 Ante Vukicevic, Croatia vs. USA, 7/17
3 Josip Vrlic, Croatia vs. USA, 7/17
3 Gergo Zalanki, Hungary vs. Spain, 7/17
3 Alvaro Granados Ortego, Spain vs. Hungary, 7/17
3 Gustavo Coutinho, Brazil vs. Germany, 7/17
3 Julian Real, Germany vs. Brazil, 7/17

Wednesday Results

July 17. Matchup Result
Group A Greece vs. Montenegro 10-10 Draw
Serbia vs. South Korea Serbia 22-2
Group B Australia vs. Kazkahstan Australia 17-8
USA vs. Croatia Croatia 17-7
Group C Hungary vs. Spain Hungary 13-11
South Africa vs. New Zealand 8-8 Draw
Group D Japan vs. Italy Italy 9-7
Brazil vs. Germany Germany 15-8

Wednesday Recaps

Group A

Greece earned a draw and Serbia garnered its first win to put the teams tied atop the group with a win and a draw apiece.

Montenegro led 5-3 in the second quarter and by as many as three three times (last at 9-6) in the third stanza, before allowing Greece back into the game.

Down 9-6, Greece got action shots from Alexandros Papanastasiou (2:23, 3rd) and Konstantinos Genidounias (1:09, 3rd), a center shot goal by Stylianos Argyropoulos Kanakakis (6:47) and a penalty by Alexandros Gounas (6:11) to surge into the lead at 10-9.

Montenegro leveled the score at 10 on an extra-player goal by Aleksandar Ivovic with 3:23 to play. Greece had two shots saved and two hit the post in the final three minutes, while Montenegro hit the post once and had one shot blocked.

Mladan Janovic turned in a hat trick for Montenegro, while Ivovic added two goals. Montenegro made 10 of its 33 shots, including 4 of 8 extra-man tries.

Dimitrios Skoumpakis, Argyropoulos Kanakakis and Gounas each scored twice for Greece. The Greeks hit 10 of 31 shots, including 4 of 10 extra-man opportunities and the lone penalty of the game.

Serbia scored the first four goals of the game and rolled to a 14-1 advantage, before allowing Korea its second score (a penalty with 3:15 to play in the third quarter). The Serbians then ended the game on an 8-0 run including two extra-man tries, two counter attacks and two center shots. A 6-meter direct shot in a free throw situation by Nikola Jaksic issued the final blow at 22-2 with 28 seconds to play.

Serbia was efficient offensively, making 22 of 37 shots (59 percent), including 6 of 7 extra-man shots and one of its two penalties. Jaksic led the way with five goals in five attempts, followed by Milos Cuk and Dorde Lazic, who put in three scores apiece. Eleven different players scored for the Serbians.

Seonggyu Lee and Hyomin Han each scored for Korea as the team made just 2 of 25 shots, one extra-man try (of 7) and one penalty (of 2).

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Greece(T) 2 1 1 0 36 13 +23 3
2  Serbia(T) 2 1 1 0 32 12 +20 3
3  Montenegro 2 0 2 0 20 20 0 2
4  South Korea(H) 2 0 0 2 5 48 −43 0

Group B

Australia picked up its first win of group play, besting Kazakhstan, while Croatia moved to 2-0, issuing the USA its first loss.

Australia cruised to a 9-2 lead at halftime and rounded out a 17-8 win with five more goals in the final eight minutes of the game. 

The Aussies used an action shot, a counter attack, and extra-man goal and a penalty to build a 4-1 lead in the first quarter and soon led 9-1 with a minute to play in the half.

Kazakhstan cut the margin to five at 10-5 with a 3-0 run in the third quarter on a 6-meter direct shot in a free throw situation by Yulian Verdesh, an extra-man shot by Verdesh, and an action shot by Maxim Zhardan. At 11-6, the Aussies scored three of their own on a Nathan Power extra-player shot, a Rhys Howden action shot and an Aaron Younger extra-man try. The teams traded goals from there over the final five minutes. Power put the final nail with 1:41 to play, sinking an extra-man goal.

Howden led all scorers with four goals, while Power and Joe Kayes each put in three for the Aussies. Australia hit 17 of its 32 shots, including 10 of 14 extra-man tries and its lone penalty attempt.

Zhardan paced the Kazakhs with three scores, while Verdesh added two. Kazakhstan scored on eight of its 26 shots, including 5 of 8 in extra-man opportunities.

Croatia started the game on a 4-0 run and led 9-4 by halftime with help from two goals each by Josip Vrlic and Ante Vukicevic. The USA would get no closer the rest of the way as the Croatians outscored them 8-3 in the final 16 minutes, including a 4-0 run to cap the game.

Four Croatian players recorded hat tricks: Maro Jokovic, Hrvoje Benic, Vukicevic and Vrlic. Eight players scored as the team made 17 of its 33 shots, including 3 of 7 on extra-man tries and one of two penalties.

The USA got two goals from Chancellor Ramirez among six scorers. The Americans hit just 7 of 37 shots, including 2 of 9 in extra-man opportunities.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Croatia(Q) 2 2 0 0 31 11 +20 4
2  United States(Q) 2 1 0 1 23 24 −1 2
3  Australia(Q) 2 1 0 1 21 22 −1 2
4  Kazakhstan(E) 2 0 0 2 15 33 −18 0

Group C

Hungary maintained its spot atop the group with a 13-11 win over Spain, while New Zealand and Kazakhstan played to an 8-all draw.

The teams tied four times in the first half, the last at 6-all before Hungary broke away with a 3-0 run in the final three minutes to go up 9-6.

Hungary continued its rally in the third quarter, scoring all three goals to make it 12-6 with eight minutes to play. Spain came alive from there, scoring five times in the final stanza to come up just short. Five different players scored for Spain in the final 5:16 with three coming on extra-player opportunities.

Gergo Zalanki scored three times for Hungary, while seven other players also scored, including two goal efforts by Krisztian Manhercz, Tamas Sedlmayer and Szilard Jansik. Hungary scored on 13 of its 32 shots, including 7 of 13 extra-man tries.

Alvaro Granados Ortega was the top scorer for Spain, turning in a hat trick. Alberto Munarriz Egana and Felipe Rocha Perrone added two goals apiece. Spain hit 11 of its 34 shots, including 4 of 10 extra-man tries and two of its three penalty attempts.

South Africa led 4-2 at halftime, but New Zealand rallied with six goals over the final 16 minutes to take the lead and eventually settle for the draw.

South Africa built a 4-1 lead, including two penalty shots by Jason Evezard in the final three minutes of the opening stanza, and led 4-2 at halftime.

Down 6-4 with 2:30 to go in the third, the Kiwis began a 3-0 run with a penalty by Sean Bryant. Matthew Small added an extra-player goal with one second left and Anton Sunde gave New Zealand a 7-6 lead 46 seconds into the fourth quarter. Dylan Cronje tied it up at 7, while Matthew Lewis scored to put New Zealand back on top with 6:20 to play. With time ticking down, Etienne Le Roux cashed in on an extra-man opportunity with 18 seconds left to level the score at 8. New Zealand had one final shot with one second to play, but it was saved to secure the draw.

Small put in two goals to lead seven New Zealand scorers. The Kiwis made 8 of 29 shots, including just 3 of 11 extra-man tries, but hit both of their penalties.

Timothy Rezelman led South Africa with two goals alongside Evezard and Nicholas Rodda. South Africa made 8 of 36 shots, including 3 of 9 extra-man shots and both of its penalties.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Hungary(Q) 2 2 0 0 37 15 +22 4 Quarterfinals
2  Spain 2 1 0 1 34 16 +18 2 Playoffs
3  New Zealand 2 0 1 1 12 32 −20 1
4  South Africa 2 0 1 1 11 31 −20 1 Eliminated

Group D

Italy remained undefeated with a 9-7 win over Japan, while Germany cruised to a 15-8 win over Brazil.

Italy grabbed a 3-0 advantage with an action shot by Alessandro Velotto and two scores by Pietro Figlioli, a penalty with 43 seconds left in the first quarter and a counter attack goal with 5:47 left in the second. Japan was within one at halftime at 3-2.

Italy scored first in the second half on a penalty by Figlioli just 25 seconds into the stanza to make it 4-2. From there the teams traded goals, splitting 10 over the final 15 minutes. Japan was within one at 8-7 with 3:47 to play after an extra-player try by Yusuke Inaba. Figlioli answered for Italy with a counter attack score with 2:57 left to seal the victory. Japan had three shots blocked or saved down the stretch.

Figlioli scored four times, while five other Italians also scored. Italy managed 9 goals in 32 shots, including 3 of 9 in extra-man tries and 2 of 3 on penalties.

Inaba and Atsushi Arai scored two goals apiece to lead Japan. The Japanese scored on 7 of 33 shots, including 4 of 10 in extra-man opportunities and its lone penalty.

Germany cruised to a 10-2 halftime lead and never looked back in a 15-8 win over Brazil. Five extra-player goals and two penalties helped the Germans to the halftime advantage. Three scores by Julian Real and two by Marko Stamm led the charge.

Down 12-4 after three quarters, Brazil made a late charge, scoring four goals in the final eight minutes. An action shot and three extra-player goals accounted for the scores, which were countered by three German goals. Gustavo Coutinho had Brazil within six with 1:12 to play, but Stamm put in the final goal with an action shot for Germany to end the game at 15-8.

Stamm found the back of the net five times for German, followed by Real, who notched a hat trick. Germany made 15 of its 35 shots, including 6 of 9 extra-man tries and all three penalties.

Coutinho scored three goals for Brazil, including two in the final 2:02, while Rafael Real added two goals. Brazil scored on 8 of its 24 shots, including 6 of 10 extra-man opportunities.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Italy(T) 2 2 0 0 23 12 +11 4
2  Germany(T) 2 1 1 0 24 17 +7 3
3  Japan 2 0 1 1 16 18 −2 1
4  Brazil 2 0 0 2 13 29 −16 0

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