2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES
- When: Water Polo: Saturday, July 24 – Saturday, August 7, 2021
- Men’s Water Polo: Sunday, July, 25 – Sunday, August 8, 2021
- Where: Tatsumi International Swimming Centre / Tokyo, Japan
- Full aquatics schedule
- What You Need to Know
- Stream on NBC Olympics
Just one day after the American women handed Japan its first loss in record-breaking fashion, the US men followed suit, defeating the Japanese 15-13 in their first match of the group stages. There are 12 teams in the tournament. The US is in Group A with Japan, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and South Africa. Group B is composed of Australia, Montenegro, Serbia, Spain, Croatia, and Kazakhstan.
Three of Rio’s final four teams are in Group B. Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro are all in the same group, while Italy stands alone in Group A. Serbia defeated Croatia in the final, and Italy earned the bronze medal by beating Montenegro 12-10.
Neither Japan nor the US moved out of the group stages during the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Japan finished last in Group A, after having lost all 5 of their matches, and the US was the 5th of 6 teams.
Today’s game was an even matchup for both teams, making it a nail-biter for both countries. They were tied after the first quarter, at which point Japan pulled ahead to lead at the half. The US took over during the 3rd quarter and kept its lead throughout the end of the match.
The match’s lead scorer was Alex Bowen from the USA. He scored one penalty, one counter-attack, one action shot, and two extra player shots for a total of 5 goals. Goalie Drew Holland blocked 9 of the 22 Japanese shots. On the opposing side, Katsuyuki Tanamura stopped 11 of 26 shots. Yusuke Inaba, Mitsuaki Shiga, and Seiya Adachi each scored 3 goals.
Spain defeated the 2016 Olympic gold medalists in its first game of the tournament. Spain scored 13 goals to Serbia’s 12. This was in part thanks to some great defending in the last minute of the game. Serbia earned an extra player shot that could have allowed them to tie the game but goalkeeper Alberto Munarriz Egana was stout in the goal to hold the win. The Serbians picked up the rebound but Spain stole the ball and ran out the clock for the win.
Serbia was dominant in man-up situation, scoring on 9 of 11 opportunities, but 13 exclusion fouls of their own, leading to 8 Spanish goals and 3 ejections, wound up being too much for the Serbs to overcome.
2016 bronze medalist Italy smashed South Africa 21-2. The Italians scored two goals in the first quarter and soared from there. At the end of the first half, they were winning 10-2. They scored 11 more goals in the second half of the match.
Hungary and Greece also had a thrilling game, with Greece scoring halfway through the final quarter and holding on to defeat the Hungarians 10-9.
Croatia left no doubt as to how well they would be playing. The 2016 runners-up handed Kazakhstan a 23-7 loss. The 23 of their 26 shots found the back of their opponent’s net.
Montenegro defeated Australia 15-10 in its opening game. They trailed the Aussies by 1 goal at the end of both the first and second quarters and then overtook them to win in the end.
GROUP A STANDINGS:
GROUP B STANDINGS:
The US will take on South Africa in the next match will take place on Monday, July 26 at 8:00 pm local time.
LEADING GOALS SCORERS:
- Alex Bowen (USA) – 5
- Francesco Di Fulvio (ITA) – 5
- Maro Jokovic (CRO) – 5
- Luka Bukic (CRO) – 4
- Alberto Munarriz Egana (ESP) – 4
- Aleksa Ukropina (MNE) – 4
GOALKEEPER STATISTICS (% BLOCKED):
- Gianmarco Nicosia (ITA) – 100 %
- Emmanouil Zerdevas (GRE) – 63%
- Marco Del Lungo (ITA) – 60%
- Marko Bijac (CRO) – 56%
- Branislav Mitrovic (SRB) – 48%