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Quite an upset to start with: Canada stuns Hungary – the storm saves Serbia

Water Polo World League Super Final Men 2019
Belgrade (SRB)
Group B: Croatia v Kazakhstan 20-4
Results & Teams

Game 1, 14.00 – Group B: Croatia v Kazakhstan 20-4

Quarters: 5-2, 6-0, 3-0, 6-2

Referees: Kunihiro Sato (JPN), Mikhail Dykman (CAN)

CROATIA

Marko Bijac (7 saves/9 shots, 77.8%), Ivan Marcelic (5/7, 71.4%) – Hrvoje Benic (2 goals/2 shots), Loren Fatovic (2/3), Luka Loncar (1/2), Maro Jokovic (1/1), Ivan Buljubasic (2/2), Ante Vukicevic (4/7), Andro Buslje (1/2), Lovre Milos 2/4), Ivan Krapic (0/0), Andelo Setka (2/3), Andrija Basic (3/5). Coach: Ivica Tucak

KAZAKHSTAN

Valeriy Shlemov (3/23, 13.0%), Madikhan Makhmetov (GK – not entered) – Yevgeniy Medvedev (1/5), Maxim Zhardan (0/5), Roman Pilipenko (0/2), Miras Aubakirov (2/4), Alexey Shmider (1/1), Murat Shakenov (0/4), Yegor Berbelyuk (0/2), Stanislav Shvedov (0/3), Mikhail Ruday (0/1), Ravil Manafov (0/0), Yulian Verdesh (0/1). Coach: Dejan Stanojevic

Shots:

CRO: 20/31, 64.5%

KAZ: 4/28, 14.3%

Extramen:

CRO: 7 for 13

KAZ: 1 for 8

Penalties:

None

MPV of the game:

Ante Vukicevic (CRO)

Report

It took four minutes until the reigning world champions found their rhythm – and the back of the net. But once they had it, a flood of goals ensued. Mostly from counters but they also netted most their man-ups, usually after two-three quick passes. By halftime they were 11-2 up while the nearby storm moved away (some threatening lightning hit shortly before the start) and the gorgeous sunshine offered perfect conditions. 

And the Croats played perfectly in defence in the middle two periods, didn’t concede any goals, when Marko Bijac got a well-deserved rest for the last period, he stood 7 saves on 9 shots (77.8%). Just as comparison, Valery Shlemov had one saves on 15 after three quarters and he couldn’t add too many in the remaining eight minutes.

The Kazakhs could halt their scoreless phase after 19:02 minutes though they even needed some luck for this (the Croatian clearance after a killed man-up went back to them). Still, they couldn’t prevent their rivals to net 20 at the end.

Quotes

Ivica Tucak, head coach, Croatia:

“The team played exactly the way I asked. The players were really focused in defence, effective in attack and even though we didn’t know beforehand what to expect from Kazakhstan, they reacted well and stayed concentrated till the end. However, we are pretty much aware that the real start for us is tomorrow (against Serbia).”

Dejan Stanojevic, head coach, Kazakhstan:

“I expected much more than this. If you ask what we missed today, I can tell you: everything. We have to sit down and talk through what happened today.”

Group A: Hungary v Canada 9-10
Results & Teams

Game 2, 15.45 – Group A: Hungary v Canada 9-10

Quarters: 1-3, 3-2, 3-4, 2-1

Referees: Viktor Putnikovic (SRB), Viktor Salnichenko (KAZ)

HUNGARY

Istvan Kardos (11/21, 52.4%), David Bisztritsanyi (GK, n. e.) – Miklos Gor-Nagy (0/1), Mark Kallay (3/5), Tamas Gyarfas (1/3), Matyas Pasztor (2/5), Toni Nemet (1/1), David Jansik (0/0), Gergo Kovacs (0/1), Balazs Erdelyi (0/4), Bence Batori (2/9), Krisztian Bedo 0(1), Adam Nagy (0/0). Coach: Tamas Marcz

CANADA

Dusan Aleksic (12/21, 57.1%), Milan Radenovic (GK, n. e.) – Gaelan Patterson (2/5), Bogdan Djerkovic (0/0), Nicolas Constantin-Bicari (1/8), Matthew Halajian (1/1), Geogios Torakis (2/3), Mark Spooner (0/0), Jeremie Cote (0/1), Aleksa Gardijan (1/3), Arie Soleimanipak (0/1), Jeremie Blanchard (0/0), Reuel D’Souza (3/8). 

Coach: Pino Porzio

Shots:

HUN: 9/31, 29.%

CAN: 10/30, 33.3%

Extramen:

HUN: 7 for 17

CAN: 5 for 11

Penalties:

HUN: 0 for 2

CAN: 1 for 1

MPV of the game:

Dusan Aleksic (CAN)

Report

Hungary had a plan to come to Belgrade without its top players – to rest them for the World Championships to avoid a similar humiliation they went through last summer at the Europeans where they finished 8th – and still try to make the semis. At least Canada and Japan seemed to be beatable by this line-up, then, in the top four anything can happen.

Though the plan looked deliverable, in the middle of the second period Hungarian head coach Tamas Marcz might have had thought of having at least one of its top guys on board as Hungary lacked a real leader to overcome its problems. Those were mounting as Canada took a 1-5 lead through finely converted man-ups and two nice shots from the distance while the Magyars were struggling in all parts of the field. After surviving a man-down which would have put the Canadians five goals up, the Hungarians started to gain their momentum and netted three connecting goals in 110 seconds. Leftie Mark Kallay, debuting at 33, netted two quickly, he was really in-play as he just won the Champions League title with his club some ten days ago.

It stood 4-5 at halftime so it seemed order – paper form – might be restored soon. Instead, with the some luck, the Canadians netted a 6 on 5 at the beginning of the third and added one more to quickly reset the three-goal gap. Kallay netted his third but soon Bence Batori, perhaps the most skilled shooter in the current team, missed an easy 3 on 2 and on the other end Nicolas Constantin-Bicari netter a great goal, so instead 6-7, it stood 5-8.

Matyas Pasztor convered a 6 on 4, then the Magyars killed a Canadian man-up after a time-out and Batori finally netted one 48 seconds before the last break to 7-8. The Magyars had a steal, could launch a counter but pushed for the counter too much, and from the turnover foul the Canadians could hit back 11 seconds from time for 7-9.

The Europa Cup winners – though only a handful of players were entered to this tournament from that team – pulled one back early in the fourth then Istvan Kardos came up with a huge save so Hungary had the chance bring the score to level. And they had all chances in the world to go even but missed a man-up and soon a penalty as well (note, if the VAR system would have been in force, the Magyars could have equalised from that man-up as the camera showed that the ball had crossed the line but the goal-line technology is not tested only to be ready for the World Championships).

However, the Canadians seemed to have run out of gas and when Pasztor netted a man-up with 1:59 to go, at 9-9 the Magyars seemed to be set to win after the struggles. But the Canadians earned a man-up and mobilising their last reserves, Matthew Halajlan put it away to retake the lead for 9-10, with 1:30 before the end. From the next possession Hungary got another penalty but it became the symbol of the entire match: Batori’s shot was stopped by Dusan Aleksic. Batori finished the game with 2/9, Hungary missed two penalties in the fourth period, while Canada could even earn a second possession through a corner at the end while the Magyars last attack was anything but dangerous.

Quotes

Tamas Marcz, coach, Hungary:

“At the beginning the players were too tense, they made a series of wrong decisions, didn’t shoot the ball when there was a chance and shot the ball when there wasn’t. Missed the blocks in the first half as we were not aggressive enough in defence. After that, things got a bit better, we had our chances but still lacked the necessary edge. Of course, this team is not the one which won the Europa Cup, still, we should have done better and no doubt, this is a sad day. Congratulations to Canada, they made most of their chances and deserved this win.”

Pino Porzio, coach, Canada:

“Well, this is something we can be proud as the guys played really well. Even though we know that the Hungarians missed their greatest stars but the funny thing is that we came here after we had been defeated by the Hungarians in our last joint practice match and we also lost three experienced players in the last week. But the youngsters we brought in did a really good job today. Actually, it’s a good push for us, though our big target is to find the path to the Olympics at the Pan American Games. It’s a good team which can achieve that though it’s going to be really strong in the next Olympic cycle.”

Group A: Japan v Spain 10-18
Results & Teams

Game 3, 19.15 – Group A: Japan v Spain 10-18

Quarters: 3-3, 3-6, 1-5, 3-4

Referees: Arkadiy Voevodin (RUS), Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU)

JAPAN

Katsuyuki Tanamura (9/27, 33.3%), Tomoyoshi Fukushima (GK, n. e.) – Kiyomu Date (0/1), Haruki Koppu (0/1), Mitsuaki Shiga (0/3), Takuma Yoshida (0/2), Shogo Kageta (0/2), Yusuke Shimizu (0/1), Mitsuru Takata (1/3), Atsushi Arai (3/7), Yusuke Inaba (4/10), Keigo Okawa (2/3), Kenta Araki (0/0). Coach: Yoji Omoto

SPAIN

Daniel Lopez (12/20, 60.0%, 0/1), Eduardo Lorrio (2/4, 50%) – Alberto Munarriz (0/1), Alvaro Granados (4/4), Miguel De Toro (2/6), Sergi Cabanas (1/1), Bernat Sanahuja (0/1), Alberto Barroso (2/3), Francisco Fernandez (0/1), Roger Tahull (4/4), Felipe Perrone (4/7), Blai Mallarach (1/4), Guillem Garcia (0/0). Coach: David Martin

Shots:

JPN: 10/33, 30.3%

ESP: 18/33, 54.5%

Extramen:

JPN: 2 for 9

ESP: 6 for 9

Penalties:

JPN: 3 for 3

ESP: 1 for 2

MVP of the game:

Alberto Granados (ESP)

Report

Japan has managed to cause some stir with its unique style both in defence and in offence. Being definitely lighter-weighted than most of their rivals, they opt to vibrant defensive moves, buzzing around the bigger boys, then launching fast counters or trying to swim a lot while attacking the opponents’ goal. 

This evening two problems emerged in Belgrade: 1. Rivals are no longer really surprised by this approach and seemed to be prepared for it. 2. Spain is one of the fastest moving teams thus can turn Japan’s best weapons against them, and the top of it they field better skilled individuals.

It took eight minutes for the European side to settle for this kind of battle, until then the Japanese could hold on for 3-3. But once the Spaniards gained momentum, there was no way back for Japan. It happened after 4-5, when three action goals arrived in quick succession in a span of 72 seconds. Especially Alvaro Granados’ brilliant individual action deserved a big applause, it was the young man’s third in the game, so Spain was 6-9 up at the middle break.

The third saw an even bigger difference between the sides, four more connecting goals from the Spaniards in 2:22 minutes expanded the gap to seven. From that point the Europeans switched back a gear or two but they could even expand their lead and challenge the Croatian’s scoring record of the first game though missing the bar by two at the end.

Quotes

Yoji Omoto, coach, Japan:

“Our first and second period were acceptable but the third was really bad. Spain’s shooters were much better today.” 

David Martin, coach, Spain:

“It’s never easy to play the first match of a tournament especially when you meet a team like Japan. But my players did really well so we can now prepare in good mood for Hungary. In fact, Japan has its own style but our team also swims a lot and last year, in the Super Final in Budapest we learnt what is the best way to play against them, though it wasn’t that easy what the score might suggest.”

Group B: Australia v Serbia 8-12
Results & Teams

Game 4, 21.00 – Group B: Australia v Serbia 8-12

Quarters: 5-4, 0-3, 3-4, 0-1

Referees: Jaume Teixido (ESP), Georgios Stavridis (GRE)

AUSTRALIA

Joel Dennerley (8/20, 40.0%), Anthony Hrysanthos (GK, n. e.) – Richard Campbell (2/6), George Ford (1/2), Joseph Kayes (0/3), Nathan Power (2/3), Edwards Lachlan (0/1), Aidan Roach (0/4), Aaron Younger (1/3), Nicholas Brooks (0/0), Timothy Putt (0/0), Rhys Howden (2/3), Blake Edwards (0/1). Coach: Elvis Fatovic

SERBIA

Branislav Mitrovic (6/14, 42.9%), Gojko Pijetlovic (4/4, 100.0%) – Dusan Mandic (1/5), Strahinja Rasovic (1/2), Sava Randjelovic (0/0), Milos Cuk (1/2), Dusko Pijetlovic (0/0), Nemanja Vico (1/2), Milan Aleksic (1/4), Nikola Jaksic (0/1), Filip Filipovic (2/5), Andrija Prlainovic (3/5), Stefan Mitrovic (2/3). Coach: Dejan Savic

Shots:

AUS: 8/26, 30.8%

SRB: 12/30, 40.0%

Extramen:

AUS: 5 for 12

SRB: 4 for 8

Penalties:

AUS: 1 for 1

SRB: 1 for 2

MVP of the game:

Andrija Prlainovic (SRB)

Report

The teams were ready to march in when torrential rain hit the world famous Tasmajdan complex – however, as the FINA slogan goes, ‘Water is our world’, so even it came from the skies, players lined up for the anthems and jumped in to play.

The Aussies adjusted better to the circumstances and stormed to a 3-0 lead to stun the soaked members of the public. Filip Filipovic’s penalty was pushed over the bar by Joel Dennerley, but the Serbian captain showed his true character and sent the ball home from the distance soon after the corner. Later it was 3-2 so Serbia also appeared on the stage. The Aussies kept on going, though, at 4-2 they had a 6 on 4 but the block saved the hosts. At the other end Filipovic stepped up once more, took the penalty shot and this time he converted for 4-3, while the not so distant rumbles of another closing thunderstorm began to be more and more frightening.

The Serbs missed their next man-up and the chance to go even, instead Nathan Power buried an extra but Dusan Mandic’s action goal halved the gap (4-5) with 2 seconds remaining from the action packed opening period. By then lightning also struck nearby and that forced the officials to suspend the game for half an hour.

It took more, almost 45 minutes, when at least the lightning had gone and the match could resume while there was still raining.

From tennis we know that rain breaks could change the course of a game – and this is what happened in Belgrade too. The biggest game-changer was Branislav Mitrovic: the Serbian goalie barely touched the ball in the first period, in the second he shut out the Aussies. In numbers: he was 0 on 5 in the first period – after the break he came back to have 5 stops on 5 shots in the second. At the same time the local cannons didn’t stop firing in the rain, buried two extras in one minute and added an action goal 53 seconds before the middle break to go 5-7 up.

The Serbs rolled on in the third, Stefan Mitrovic scored from a counter, then finally Aaron Younger broke the Aussie silence after 11:10 minutes. Milan Aleksic replied from a 6 on 5 and Andrija Prlainovic was also on target twice in 67 seconds to give the Serbs a 6-11 lead. At this point the Serbs were on a 1-7 run since the restart and seemed to have a firm grip on this match. Rhys Howden and Richard Campbell brought back some hope, however, netting back-to-back 6 on 5s late in the third but Australia still trailed by three before the last period (8-11).

They could have come closer in the fourth but missed two extras and a fine chance in a counter while the Serbs were less sharp in offence in this phase. However, when they had their first real chance, Prlainovic didn’t miss it, put away their 6 on 5, so instead of coming back to two, the gap grew to four (8-12) with 3:32 to go. And that was the last notable action of the match, besides another one: the rain ceased as the game came to an end.

Quotes

Elvis Fatovic, coach, Australia:

“It was two match and preferred the first one much more. We knew that the Serbs would start gearing up anyway, so it wasn’t just the rain which turned this match. We committed too many mistakes, gave away easy goals, this is not the way you can beat them. Still, I’m not unhappy with what I saw today.”

Dejan Savic, coach, Serbia:

“I think in the first period we just played softly. I joked with the Serbian press that the storm saved us, but for sure, we had to work with the team during the break. It helped now but for tomorrow we had to improve, especially in man-downs. That was too weak today, against Croatia we have to do it much better.”

Branislav Mitrovic, goalkeeper, Serbia:

“During the break I tried to refocus, speed up myself. But also the defence got much tighter, we didn’t leave that much room for the shots, and that helped me a lot to closed down the angles.”

Canada stunned the Hungarians on the opening day of the FINA World League Super Final in Belgrade. Though the Magyars rest their biggest stars, still, this defeat counts as an upset against the determined North Americans. In the opening match Croatia netted 20 goals to down Kazakhstan, later Spain downed Japan with ease too. The last match was extended well into the night as a thunderstorm hit the venue and the play had to be suspended in the game between host Serbia and Australia.

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18Jun2019

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Link
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