Tokyo 2020 Men’s Water Polo: Group Play Ends with Greece and Spain on Top

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

The final men’s group play matches took place on August 2nd, solidifying Greece and Spain as the top seeds for the elimination games, starting on August 4th.

Group A:

The first Group A match of the day saw Hungary and Italy tie 5-5, giving each team half a win. Both teams will be advancing in the tournament.

The match was rife with lockdown defense and struggling offense on both teams. Hungary shot with 24% efficiency, which is very low, but is significantly higher than the 16% Italy shot. The teams combined for 10 goals on 55 shots.

Both teams also failed to capitalize on their extra player time. Hungary made 11 shots with while Italy was down a player, but only made 2 goals on those 11 shots. Conversely, Italy managed 12 shots while Hungary was down a player, but only earned 3 goals out of it.

In the 2nd Group A match, Greece blew the USA out 14-5. The US fell to 2-3 in the Group with the loss, but they ended up 4th, managing to advance to the elimination matches. With the win, Greece kept their #1 seed for the tournament.

Greece was a problem for the US team defensively, stopping 12 American shots from making it to the goalkeeper. On top of that, the US shot on 17% efficiency. Like Hungary and Italy, the US failed to capitalize on their extra player time, making only 2 goals on 11 shots.

Japan dominated the South African team 24-9 to earn a huge win, however, unfortunately for the Japanese team, they were unable to qualify for the elimination rounds. Japan’s 1-4 record put them 5th in the gorup.

Japan hammered RSA on offense, getting off 48 shots.

 

Group B:

In the first Group B match, Serbia and Montenegro were playing for seeding in the quarterfinals. Serbia won the match decisively, 13-6, moving to a 3-2 record in the group (#3). Montenegro moved to 2-3, which put them 4th in the group.

Serbia basically ended the game early on, jumping out to a 6-1 lead in the 1st quarter, and extending that to an 8-2 lead at halftime. Montenegro struggled shooting throughout the match, only putting up 19% efficiency. Additionally, the Serbian goalkeeper, Branislav Mitrovic, was on top of his game, saving 14 of the 20 shots that came his way.

Another match that was only a matter of quarterfinals seeding was the Spain vs Croatia match, which Spain won 8-4. Spain retained the #1 seed going into the first elimination match with the win, while Croatia remained at #2.

The match was truly a defensive wonder, with Spain shooting on 25% efficiency to Croatia’s 14%. The goalkeepers were in excellent form as well. Spain’s Unai Aguirre saved 10 of 14 shots (70%), while Croatia’s Marko Bijac and Ivan Marcelic combined for 11 saves on 19 shots, 58%.

More important than the goalkeeping was the defense. Spain blocked 14 of Croatia’s shots from making it to the keeper, while Croatia blocked 13.

Australia played Kazakhstan in a match in which neither team had a shot of advancing to the quarterfinals. In the match, Australia bested Kazakhstan 15-7.

 

 

Monday, August 2nd Matches:

Group A (Final Standings):

 

Group B (Final Standings):

 

Men’s Bracket:

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