2016 Rio Olympic Games
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Maria Lenk Aquatics Center/Olympic Aquatics Stadium
- Sunday, August 6 – Sunday, August 20
- Schedule & Results
In men’s water polo, the home team blew out Japan to claim sole possession of the Group A lead on the second day of action.
Meanwhile in Group B, Croatia and Italy each won to pull into a tie for the overall lead.
Brazil crushed Japan 16-8 on Monday, getting 5 goals form Josip Vrlic and 4 from Felipe Perrone. Those two by themselves outscored the entire Japanese roster, which had trouble converting shots to goals – no one on Team Japan shot better than 50% overall.
After beating Australia 8-7 on Saturday, this Brazilian team is looking like the home nation’s best shot at an aquatic medal after most of its best swimming threats have missed out on hardware.
They lead with 4 points and were the only Group A team to win Monday. That’s because of two identical 9-9 ties behind them: Serbia tied Greece and Hungary tied Australia.
Greece and Serbia went back and forth for four periods. A Milos Cuk goal put Serbia up with just over three minutes to play, but Ioannis Fountoulis evened things up with 1:47. Two clutch saves from Serbian keeper Branislav Mitrovic later and the game ended in a 9-9 stalemate.
Greece is second behind Brazil in the group, and Serbia sits tied with Hungary for third.
The Hungarians had their own stalemate, giving up the game-tying score with just 26 seconds left to play. That dramatic goal came from John Cotterill of Australia. The big scorer for the Australians was Richie Campbell, who scored 4 of the team’s 9 goals in a vitally important game for Australia.
Hungary had a more balanced effort, with Marton Vamos, Denes Varga and Balazs Harai each scoring twice.
The Aussies are currently outside the 4th-place cutoff, as only 4 teams from each group will move on past the round robin round, but the tie netted them their first point of these Olympics and they are only 1 behind the tied Hungarian and Serbian teams.
Group A Standings:
1. Brazil – 4
2. Greece – 3
3. Hungary – 2
3. Serbia – 2
5. Australia – 1
6. Japan – 0
Croatia beat Montenegro and Italy topped France to maintain their tie for the lead in Group B. They aren’t set to go head-to-head until Friday, but remain undefeated in competition so far.
It was a dramatic win for Croatia. Playing the day’s final game, Croatia knew the result of Italy’s match and knew it needed a win to keep pace. It looked like things would end in a 7-7 tie right up until the final seconds, but Luka Bukic nabbed his second goal of the game with just 8 seconds remaining to lift Croatia to an 8-7 victory over Montenegro.
Italy’s win over France was far less nerve-wracking. The Italians led by 4 early in the 4th quarter, and even when France’s Igor Kovacevic scored his second goal to narrow the margin, Italy’s Matteo Aicardi came up with the dagger a few minutes later. Aicardi’s 4th goal of the game put Italy up 11-7, and they wound up winning 11-8.
The other Group B matchup was Spain against the United States, which ended in a 10-9 win that could jeopardize the U.S.’s chances of moving on to the next round. The U.S. and France are currently without points in Group B, with the top 4 moving on to the next rounds. You can read more about the Spain-U.S. match here.
Up next, though: the two winless teams meet when men’s play resumes on Wednesday. That France-U.S. matchup will be a must-win for both teams, with the loser all but eliminated from the tournament.
Group B Standings
1. Croatia – 4
1. Italy – 4
3. Montenegro – 2
3. Spain – 2
5. France – 0
5. United States – 0