Spain, Italy Punch Tickets to Men’s Water Polo Final at Worlds, USA Takes 9th

World Aquatics Championships – Men’s Water Polo

Spain and Italy will face off on Saturday, seeking their third and fourth World Championships titles respectively, after posting semifinal victories on Thursday.

Spain, which bested 2017 champion Croatia 6-5 in the semis, also won the World Championship in 1998 and 2001. Italy, which earned its spot in the finals with a 12-10 win over Hungary, won gold in 1978, 1994 and 2011.

Serbia and Australia will vie for fifth place after classification wins on Thursday, while the United States claimed ninth place and Japan finished 11th.

Thursday’s Top Scorers

6 Aleksandar Ivovic, Montenegro vs. USA, 7/25
5 Dusan Mandic, Serbia vs. Germany, 7/25
4 Johnny Hooper, USA vs. Montenegro, 7/25
4 Gonzalo Echenique, Italy vs. Hungary, 7/25
3 Yusuke Shimizu, Japan vs. South Africa, 7/25
3 Yusuke Inaba, Japan vs. South Africa, 7/25
3 Ben Hallock, USA vs. Montenegro, 7/25
3 Hannes Daube, USA vs. Montenegro, 7/25
3 Joe Kayes, Australia vs. Greece, 7/25
3 Maro Jakovic, Croatia vs. Spain, 7/25
3 Francesco DiFulvio, Italy vs. Hungary, 7/25

Thursday’s Results

July 25. Matchup Result
Semifinal Spain vs. Croatia Spain 6-5
Semifinal Hungary vs. Italy Italy 12-10
5th through 8th Classification Serbia vs. Germany Serbia 17-16 (5-4 shootout)
5th through 8th Classification Australia vs. Greece Australia 9-8
9th Place USA vs. Montenegro USA 15-14
11th Place Japan vs. South Africa Japan 15-5

Thursday Recaps


Spain led 6-2 after three quarters and held on for the win over Croatia, despite a three-goal onslaught in the final period.

Spain cashed in on three extra-player opportunities and got a center shot goal from Roger Tahull I Compte en route to a 4-1 lead in the second quarter. An extra-man goal by Javier Garcia Gadea had Croatia within two at the half (4-2).

Blai Mallarach Guell put in an extra-man goal and Alvaro Granados Ortega scored on a penalty (4:54) to boost Spain’s lead to four (6-2) in the third quarter.

Maro Jokovic scored twice, first on a penalty (7:39) and then in an extra-man situation (1:31), and Loren Fatovic added an extra-player score with 14 seconds left, but that would mark the final shot of the game as Croatia fell 6-5.

Mallarach Guell scored twice to lead five Spaniards in scoring. Spain made 6 of 20 shots, including 4 of 8 extra-man tries and its lone penalty attempt.

Jokovic accounted for three goals for Croatia. The team made just 5 of 28 shots, including 3 of 13 extra-man tries and one penalty.

Gonzalo Echenique put in four goals and Francesco DiFulvio added a hat trick as Italy rallied from down 4-2 in the opening stanza to top Hungary 12-10 and earn a spot in the championship match.

A 5-1 rally in the second quarter lifted Italy from down 4-2 to a 7-5 advantage. Echenique scored three times go put the Italians up 6-4 and Michael Bodegas added an extra-man goal to make it 7-5 heading into the third quarter.

A center shot goal by Balazs Harai and an extra-man goal by Daniel Angyal knotted the score at 7 with 1:23 left in the third period,  but a Niccolo Figari extra-man try (0:46) and a penalty by Pietro Figlioli (0:07) had Italy back up two (9-7) with eight minutes to play in the game.

The teams split six goals in the final stanza with Italy countering each Hungarian score to maintain the advantage. Up 11-10 with 2:24 to go, Italy got one final goal from Stefano Luongo, an action shot, to seal the win. Hungary had two shots blocked and a third saved as the clocked ticked down.

Echenique scored four times and DiFulvio added a hat trick to lead six Italian scorers. Italy put in 12 of 27 shots, including 5 of 12 extra-man tries and one penalty.

Angyal, Gergo Zalanki and Marton Vamos each scored twice for Hungary as the team made 10 of 32 shots, including 7 of 13 extra-man tries.

5th through 8th Place Classification

After playing to a 12-all tie in regulation, Germany had its first shot of the penalty shootout saved and that was the difference in a 17-16 loss to Serbia (5-4 shootout).

Neither team boasted more than a one-goal lead through the first two and a half quarters, before Germany scored three in a row to turn a 7-6 deficit into a 9-7 advantage with 3:27 to play in the third quarter.

Denis Strelezkij and Maurice Jungling cashed in on extra-man opportunities and Ben Reibel added an action shot to give Germany the lead. The teams traded goals, but Germany boasted a 12-10 advantage with 2:10 to play. Dusan Mandic found the back of the net with an action shot with 1:03 left and Dorde Lazic added a center shot goal with 13 seconds to play to knot the score at 12.

Germany had one more try on a Luuk Gielen 6-meter direct shot in a free throw situation with three seconds left, but it was saved to send the game to a shootout.

Gielen then took the first penalty of the shootout and also had his attempt saved. The next nine attempts all found the back of the net with Radomir Drasovic giving Serbia the win with its fifth penalty score.

Mandic led Serbia with five goals in regulation, while six other players scored. Serbia made 12 of its 42 shots, including 3 of 13 extra-man tries.

Timo Van Der Bosch, Jungling and Denis Eidner each scored twice for Germany among nine scorers. Germany made 12 of its 36 shots in regulation, including 7 of 12 extra-man tries and 1 of its 2 penalties.

Of 12 shots in the fourth quarter, only one found the back of the net, an action shot by Richard Campbell with 4:29 to play, and that lone score gave Australia the 9-8 victory over Greece.

Australia led 4-2 early in the second quarter after action shots by Joe Kayes and Campbell. Down 5-3 with 3:22 left in the half, Greece rallied with four straight goals, two by Christodoulos Kolomvos, to jump ahead 7-5 with 5:35 to play in the third quarter. Andrew Ford and Kayes put in extra-man goals to level the score at 7. Ioannis Fountoulis gave Greece an 8-7 edge (2:16), but Blake Edwards countered (1:57) to make it 8-all heading into the final stanza.

There were six shots before Campbell scored with 4:29 to play in the fourth quarter and six more after. Australia took seven other shots, hitting the post twice, having two blocked, two saved and one miss. Meanwhile, Greece missed once and had four attempts saved while trying to score over the final eight minutes. Three shots were saved as the team attempted to send the game to a shootout. 

Kayes turned in a hat trick to lead Australia, while Campbell and Aaron Younger scored twice each. Australia made 9 of 29 shots, including 4 of 7 extra-man tries.

Kolomvos and Marios Kapotsis led the scoring for Greece with two goals each as the team made 8 of 23 shots, including 3 of 9 extra-man tries.

9th Place

The teams were tied at 12 after the first three quarters, but the United States used a 3-2 edge in the final eight minutes to claim ninth place with a 15-14 victory over Montenegro. The back and forth battle continued all the way to the final minute, when Hannes Daube put in an action shot with 36 seconds to go on the game’s final shot to give the Americans the win.

Johnny Hooper scored four goals for the USA, while Ben Hallock and Daube each added three scores. The Americans put in 15 of 34 shots, including 3 of 7 extra-man tries and its lone penalty attempt.

Aleksandar Ivovic was the game’s top scorer with six of Montenegro’s 14 goals. Six other players found the back of the net for the side in the loss. Montenegro made 14 of 33 shots, including 5 of 10 extra-man tries and one penalty.

The United States led by as many as four in the game at 6-3 after three goals by Hooper. Montenegro scored six of the next eight goals to grab a 9-8 lead on an extra-man goal by Duro Radovic with 7:37 to go in the third quarter.

Hallock put in a center shot (7:14) and Alex Bowen added an extra-man goal to put the USA on top 10-9 with 6:11 to go in the third. Montenegro countered with two goals of its own by Ivovic and Bogdan Durdic to reclaim the lead at 11-10 less than a minute later (5:19).

Montenegro led 13-12 with 6:59 to play, but a center shot by Chancellor Ramirez (4:24) and a counter attack by Max Irving (3:57) gave the USA the lead at 14-13. Ivovic tied it up at 14 with an action shot (1:44). Daube issued the final blow for the Americans with 36 seconds left.

11th Place

Japan captured 11th place with a 15-5 win over South Africa after building a 9-2 advantage in the first half.

Yusuke Shimizu and Yusuke Inaba each turned in hat tricks to lead the Japanese attack, while five other players scored, four with two-goal efforts. Japan scored on 47 of its shot attempts (15 of 32), including 3 of 7 extra-man tries. Katsuyuki Tanamura saved 71 percent of the shots he faced (5 of 7), while Tomoyoshi Fukushima logged 5 saves in tries (63 percent).

Jason Evezard was the top scorer for South Africa, notching two goals. South Africa scored on just 19 percent of its shots (5 of 27), including 3 of 5 extra-man tries and the game’s lone penalty.

South Africa scored the first goal of the game, a penalty by Everzard just under two minutes in. Japan answered with seven goals in a row, two by Shimuzu. Japan upped its advantage to eight at 10-2 with seven minutes to go in the third quarter.

The teams traded goals over the next eight minutes, before Japan ended the game on a 3-0 run care of a center shot and a counter attack by Inaba and a center shot by Shimizu with 2:46 to play. Each team had two shots in the final 43 seconds, but came up empty.

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4 years ago

Check out… Italy already has 3 world championships