2023 WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Hungary captured its first men’s water polo world crown in a decade with its 14-13 penalty shootout victory over Greece in the final of the 2023 World Championships on Saturday in Fukuoka, Japan.
Hungary jumped out to a 4-2 lead and took a 5-4 lead into halftime, but Greece tied the game on its first possession of the second half. The two sides went back and forth for the final two periods, knotting up at 10-10 at the end of regulation. Just like the women’s final, a shootout was needed to determine the world champion.
Hungarian goalkeeper Soma Vogel came up clutch with four saves in the shootout to clinch his country’s first Worlds victory since 2013 in Barcelona. Hungary only placed 7th last year in Budapest. Meanwhile, Greece still made history in defeat, reaching the Worlds final for the first time ever. Both Hungary and Greece booked their spots at the Paris 2024 Olympics by virtue of making the Worlds final.
Greece’s Konstantinos Genidounias led all scorers with five goals while Hungary’s Gergo Zalanki and Marton Vamos tallied four goals apiece. Vogel totaled 12 saves while Emmanouil Zerdevas stopped 11 shots for the Greeks. Zalanki earned tournament MVP honors while Zerdevas was awarded best goalkeeper.
In other men’s matches from the weekend, Spain beat Serbia (9-6) for the bronze medal, Italy cruised past France (16-9) for 5th place, and the United States snuck past Montenegro (17-15) for 7th place.
Final Men’s Water Polo Standings
16. South Africa