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18th FINA World Championships - Gwangju (KOR)17th FINA World ChampionshipWCC

Day 7 Men's Water Polo: Fourth title as Italy upsets Spain

World Championships 2019
Gwangju, South Korea
Match 45, 14:00, GERMANY 6 GREECE 11
Results & Teams

Match 45, 14:00, GERMANY 6 GREECE 11

Classification 7-8

Quarters: 2-1, 2-3, 0-2,2-5

Referees: Stanko Ivanovski (MNE), Nenad Peris (CRO).

Extra man: GER: 2/4. GRE: 4/9.

Penalties: Nil.

Shot conversion: GER: 6/29. GRE: 11/28.


GERMANY: Moritz Schenkel,Ben Riebel, Timo van der Bosch, Julian Real (1), Tobias Preuss, Maurice Jungling, Denis Strelezkij (1), Lukas Gielen, Marko Stamm (2), Mateo Cuk, Marin Restovic (1), Dennis Eidner (1), Kevin Gotz. Head Coach: Hagen Stamm.

GREECE: Emmanouil Zervedas, Konstaninos Genidounias, Dimitrios Skoumpakis, Alexandros Papanastasiou (1),Ioannis Fountoulis (1), Marios Kapotsis (2), Georgios Dervisis (3), Stylianos Argyropoulos (2), Konstantinos Mourikis, Christodoulos Kolomvos, Alexandros Gounas (2), Angelos Vlachopoulos, Konstantinos Galanidis. Head Coach: Theodoros Vlachos.


Greece came through in a blistering second half and the sixth and seventh goals spoke heaps about Greece’s sneakiness and ability to turn a match. Marios Kapotsis drove deep right and when everyone expected him to pass he slithered it into the bottom right. Then on the next attack the counter went right, everyone watched and then the pass whipped across the pool to Georgios Dervisis who was alone on the far post — totally unseen — to score for 8-4. There was more to come when Alexandros Gounas netted his second and Georgios Dervisis needed the VAR to confirm his extra-man goal of what was a six-goal burst. At 10-4 the result was decided. Marin Restovic sent in an easy shot off the left-hand-catch position at 3:04 — nearly 14 minutes since the last German bullet. Marko Stamm, one of the bright lights in Gwangju, counter and teased the goalkeeper, scoring from inside the two-metre line for 10-6. The final score came from Alexandros Papanastasiou, who drove down the left on counter to close the match 0:39. Greece has two bronze medals from 2015 and 2005. The best scorer in Gwangju was Alexandros Gounas with 13. Germany has just the one bronze from World Championships, gained in Guayaquil 1982. The highest goal-scorer was Lukas Gielen with 15 goals, one ahead of Stamm. Gielen made seven of his goals from the penalty line.


Theodoros Vlachos (GRE) — Head Coach

“We finished with a win. It’s something to leave Korea with nice feelings and last images are positive. We are not happy, as we were not in the last four and fighting for the medals. We could do it, but in the critical quarterfinal against Italy we did not win, but we fight until the last minute. The Italians were a little bit better than us. We tried to take the best position. I would like to thank the players. We carried an injury problem into the championships and it followed us to the end. Our target is the European Championships where we plan to qualify for the Olympic Games.”

Ioannis Fountoulis (GRE) — Captain and goal scorer

“It was a nice competition and a beautiful pool. We came here with a target, but it was a very difficult tournament because the teams were so competitive and had very few level differences  between them. Unfortunately, in the crossover match, we didn’t win Italy and we couldn’t get the better result in this tournament. We wanted to win a medal, but just finished seventh.”

Hagen Stamm ((GER) — Head Coach

“Three goals too high, but it was OK. For two and a half quarters we played very well then we made a lot of mistakes. Now the boys have four weeks off after an unbelievable year. It has to do for their health.”

Julian Real (GER) — Captain and goal scorer 

“I think we had a good tournament and made good games in the group. We had very good quarterfinal against South Africa, and we are now in the top eight. Then we had some unlucky games against Croatia, Serbia and Greece. I think the Greek team was best, and at the end we made a good tournament.”

Match 46, 15:30, SERBIA 13 AUSTRALIA 9
Results & Teams

Match 46, 15:30, SERBIA 13 AUSTRALIA 9

Classification 5-6

Quarters: 6-1, 3-2, 1-2, 3-4

Referees: Dion Willis (RSA), Sebastien Dervieux (FRA).

Extra man: SRB: 5/10. AUS: 4/10.

Penalties: SRB: 1/1. AUS: 1/1.

Shot conversion: SRB: 13/30. AUS: 9/35.


SERBIA: Strajo Risticevic, Dusan Mandic (1), Viktor Rasovic (1), Sava Randjelovic (1), Milos Cuk (4), Djordje Lazic (1), Nemanja Vico, Nikola Dedovic, Nikola Jaksic, Radomir Drasovic (1), Ognjen Stojanovic, Strahinja Rasovic (2), Lazar Dobozanov. Coach: Dejan Savic.

AUSTRALIA: Joel Dennerley, Richard Campbell (1), George Ford (1), Joseph Kayes (1), Nathan Power, Lachlan Edwards (1), Aidan Roach, Aaron Younger (2), Andrew Ford (2), Timothy Putt, Rhys Howden, Blake Edwards (1), Anthony Hrysanthos. Coach: Elvis Fatovic.


No team should be able to come back from 6-0 down in a classification match and that proved the case as Serbia played the way it should have done in the quarterfinal with Spain when it lost 12-9. The Aussie Sharks could do nothing to stop the tidal wave of goals being thrown against its defences. The normally reliable Joel Dennerley in goal was not getting team support and Anthony Hrysanthos, who has had limited pool time in Gwangju, was thrown in to help arrest the slide. Veteran Richard Campbell managed the make a dent in the last three seconds of the quarter on extra-man attack. Serbia shot to 9-1; Australia took a timeout and scored the last two goals of the half via Aaron Younger on counter and Lachlan Edwards at centre forward with a backhand. Serbian captain Milos Cuk was the real star of the half with consecutive goals for 3-0 and the eighth with a rocket. Viktor Rasovic claimed the fifth and sixth goals from a penalty and off a fantastic cross pass. Dusan Mandic, who has had to play almost a fatherly role in Gwangju, shot his 14th goal on counter to start the second half.  Andrew Ford converted penalty and then sent one through the arms of the Serbian goalkeeper from deep right on consecutive Aussie attacks for 10-5. That was the story of the third period and Australia won it 2-1. Australia gained its third straight at the top of the fourth when Blake Edwards needed VAR to confirm his extra-man goal. Then brother George Ford converted extra-man attack at 5:08 for 10-7 and then the sniff of a chance beckoned. Cuk doubled his tournament tally for his fourth of the match from the top on extra and the margin was four. It was 13 minutes since its last goal. Australia botched a counter attack and was countered itself with Strahinja Rasovic scoring for 12-7. Joe Kayes had the second-last say for Australia, latching on to a cross pass at two metres for 12-8. Strahinja Rasovic did it again on counter for 13-8 and Younger nailed a second and 11th for the championship with four seconds on the clock. Australia was on top for most of the match, except for the opening quarter. Serbia’s record at this level is phenomenal since it became an independent nation. Winning two gold, a silver and a bronze since 2007 where it finished fourth. As a combined nation with Montenegro it won gold (2005) and bronze (2003). Before that as Yugoslavia there were two golds (1986 and 1991) a silver and three bronzes. Serbia’s best scorer was Strahinja Rasovic with 16 goals, two more than Mandic. Australia is yet to make the podium at this level with a best finish of fourth in Perth 1998. Leading the Aussie Sharks’ scoring was Joe Kayes with 15.


Milos Cuk (SRB) — Captain and four goals

“For us, it was not bad, but we made very big mistakes in the quarterfinal, and that’s why we played for the fifth place, not for the medals. We are a very young team, so I think our team’s future will be better than now. They will have more power and concentration for the next tournament, so I think this team can have a bright future, and I hope next time we will win one of the medals.”


Elvis Fatovic (AUS) — Head Coach

“We didn’t show up for the first quarter and then played well for two and a half quarters. We played super soft and didn’t shoot two or three shots into the cage. We didn’t play well at the start and then played more aggressively while they played less aggressively. I am happy with the tournament except for a few disappointments in the quarterfinal (non-call, which changed the result).”

 Aaron Younger (AUS) — Captain and two goals

“Oh, it’s a bit of disappointing to finish the tournament like this. We started terrible today with 6-1, so against Serbia, you can’t really expect to do this again when we come back.” 

Richard Campbell (AUS) — Goal scorer

“We can’t let them get away with six goals. We started poorly and they killed us in the end. It was a bit of a wake-up call. We certainly prepared for the game, but mentally we were not there. We showed we can put in the effort (9-7 advantage in last three quarters), but we have to do that from the start.”

Match 47, 17:00, CROATIA 10 HUNGARY 7
Results & Teams

Match 47, 17:00, CROATIA 10 HUNGARY 7

Classification 3-4

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

Referees: Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU), Georgios Stavridis (GRE).

Extra man: CRO: 6/14. HUN: 6/17.

Penalties: CRO: 2/2. HUN: 1/1.

Shot conversion: CRO: 10/25. HUN: 7/26.


CROATIA: Marko Bijac, Marco Macan, Loren Fatovic, Luka Loncar (1), Maro Jokovic (6), Hrvoje Benic (1), Ante Vukicevic, Andro Buslje, Lovre Milos (1), Josip Vrlic, Andelo Setka (1), Javier Garcia, Ivan Marcelic. Coach: Ivica Tucak.

HUNGARY: Viktor Nagy, Daniel Angyal (1), Krisztian Manhercz (2), Gergo Zalanki (1), Marton Vamos (1), Tamas Mezei, Tamas Sedlmayer, Szilard Jansik, Zoltan Pohl, Denes Varga, Bence Batori, Balazs Harai (2), Soma Vogel. Coach: Tamas Marcz.


This was a far different match than the play-off for fifth with a low-scoring opening quarter and a tied match in the second.  Maro Jokovic scored in each of the periods against a Hungarian side carrying three injured players from Thursday’s semifinal. Viktor Nagy was back in goal with an injured finger. Daniel Varga, who broke his little finger of the shooting hand, was back in full force and centre forward Balazs Harai, who scored the opening goal with a trademark backhand, is carrying a long-standing back problem. Marton Vamos, who shattered Australia’s quarterfinal dream, sent another from outside for his 13th of the championship and Krisztian Manhercz converted a penalty. Lovre Milos scored from deep right for the 4-3 advantage at the turn. Jokovic scored his 16th with a penalty strike for 5-3 to start the second half. Daniel Angyal was “Johnny on the spot” when an outside shot rebounded down to the two-metre line, so he flicked it for 5-4. Hungary bungled two consecutive extra-man attacks and failed to convert a six on four at a time when a Croatian assistant coach was red-carded. Hungary came good on the next attempt with Manhercz firing in from the left with on second left on the clock — 6-5. Jokovic drilled one from the top on extra and then his fifth from the penalty line. By this time, Szilard Jansik and Zoltan Pohl for Hungary and Marko Macan were out of the match on three major fouls. Harai and Gergo Zalanki responded for Hungary with 3:28 remaining. It looked like it could go to shootout. However Jokovic scored — again — and Hrvoje Benic from nine metres off a free throw sealed the match inside the final two minutes. Croatia was dented somewhat when Andro Buslje left the pool for treatment on a cut over his eye and only competed for seven minutes. As the outgoing champion, Croatia also won in Melbourne 2007 under head coach Ratko Rudic and claimed one silver and four bronzes. Jokovic led the scoring with 19 goals. Hungary is the king of the World Championships — much like the Olympics — is a three-time champion from 2013, 2003 and the inaugural title in 1973 and has lost an incredible seven finals while picking up a lone bronze. Best with the shooting was Gergo Zalanki with 18 goals.


Ivica Tucak (CRO) — Head Coach

“The bronze medal is a big success for Croatia water polo. This moment I am very happy in Korea.”

Maro Jokovic (CRO) — Six goals

“First of all I’m feeling extremely happy with the medal. We had some difficulties after the semifinals — losing to Spain, which was psychologically very hard for us. We were really down and were blue after the game, but we managed to rise up. This was very good improvement for us, so I’m really very joyful to see how we managed to play this game, especially defence. It seemed that every player, every physical contact, every touch with a ball was the high level, and that’s what really cheered me up.”

Tamas Marcz (HUN) — Head Coach

“Very hard-fought by both teams, who both played well. In the second period there were a lot of extra-mans — probably the key of the match. They were concentrating hard in the final quarter and congratulations to them. Also to my players, who made a hard jump in the last two weeks. We had an injury problem, but we made top four and gave maximum performance. Now we go our way.”

Denes Varga (HUN) — Captain 

On injuries affecting him: “It affected us a lot not only because everyone is important in the team, but we had to play like 10 of us, so we had the less number to play. It was pretty bad because I had probably the best season of my life in my club, so I wasn’t in a very good shape, but at the first game, I had this unfortunate injury and I couldn’t really help my team.”

Match 48, 18:30, SPAIN 5 ITALY 10
Results & Teams

Match 48, 18:30, SPAIN 5 ITALY 10

Classification 1-2

Quarters: 2-2, 1-3, 1-3,  1-2

Referees: Boris Margeta (SLO), Michael Goldenberg (USA).

Extra man: ESP: 3/12. ITA: 3/5.

Penalties: ESP: 1/2.

Shot conversion: ESP: 5/29. ITA: 10/32.


SPAIN: Daniel Lopez, Alberto Munarriz (1), Alvaro Granados, Miguel De Toro, Sergi Cabanas, Marc Larumbe, Alberto Barroso, Francisco Fernandez, Roger Tahull, Felipe Perrone (2), Blai Mallarach (2), Alejandro Bustos, Eduardo Lorrio. Coach: David Martin.

ITALY: Marco Del Lungo, Francesco Di Fulvio (1), Stefano Luongo (2), Pietro Figlioli (1), Edoardo Di Somma, Alessandro Velotto, Vincenzo Renzuto (1), Gonzalo Echinique (1), Niccolo Figari, Alexandre Bodegas (1), Matteo Aicardi (1), Vincenzo Dolce (2), Gianmarco Nicosia. Head Coach: Alessandro Campagna.


This was a match for the ages and a battle of wits between two Mediterranean teams playing at the absolute peak of their powers. Italy took the lead from the start and Spain had to play catch-up with skipper Felipe Perrone — playing his ninth FINA World Championships — ramming in twice. Spain had the chance to go ahead, but Alberto Barroso’s penalty attempt blasted straight into the left arm of goalkeeper Marco Del Lungo. Italy shot to a 5-2 advantage through captain Pietro Figlioli from the top, Vincenzo Dolce likewise and Vincenzo Renzuto on extra. Italy’s lower-scoring players were stepping up. It was not until the final minute that Spain replied via a penalty foul earned by Perrone on counter and this time Alberto Munarriz converted inside the final minute. It was more than eight minutes since its last goal. Mateo Aicardi, Dolce and a counter-attacking Francesco Di Fulvio — the championships’ most valuable player — shunted the score to 8-4. The writing was on the wall for Spain. It took Blai Mallarach to bring some sense to Spain’s day, scoring on extra-man attack at 2:19 for 8-4 to finish the third period. Luongo and Mallarach exchanged scores in the fourth and Michael Bodegas scored his most important goal from centre forward at 1:00. The match was over, the fans were screaming and head coach Alessandro Campagna was urging the crowd to cheer even more. Then came the swim for all the Italian staff, while the Spanish stopped to reflect. Italian goalkeeper Marco Del Lungo was in superb touch with 10 saves and was easily one of the best two keepers in the championship. Italy previously won in 2011, 1994 and 1978 with two silvers and two bronzes. The highest scorer was Stefano Luongo with just 11 goals, one ahead of Most Valuable Player of the tournament Francesco Di Fulvio with 11 successes. Spain won in 2001 and 1998 and has now lost four finals. Best shooter was Alvaro Granados and Munarriz with 15 goals apiece.


Alessandro Campagna (ITA) — Head Coach

“Congratulations to my colleagues from Spain and Croatia — David and Ivica — and all the teams who played fantastic water polo. To beat Spain we had to play a perfect game with fantastic quality water polo tactically and play in a passionate way to win. I am happy. I have seen my team grow up day by day, not focusing on the other teams. We played with more confidence from the first three or four games where we learned the style of the referee and the whistle. I trust the IOC, who came to watch, will be happy and stay stable in the Olympics and bring 13 players back to the Olympic Games.”

Pietro Figlioli (ITA) — Captain and Player of the Final

“For me, I’ve been looking forward to this since 2011 — the last time I played in it (and won the world title). It was a little easier with the emotions and the pressure this time in front of a very strong adversary. We have met quite a few times in the past. It’s an unbelievable feeling… blissful.”

Stefano Luongo (ITA) — Two goals

On winning the gold medal: “Of course, it’s a dream of any athlete of any sports. We’ve worked very hard for this, but now we’re very, very happy, so all the hard work has paid off. For now, we’ll enjoy this moment and prepare for the Olympics, because it’s the best competition for us and most important, and we have to continue work hard.”

David Martin (ESP) — Head Coach

“Congratulations to Italy who was the best team in the water, coming out with big energy and intensity. We started very tired after playing a hard match against Croatia in the semifinals. Italy was very tactical, very defensive. We had problems with the break of three goals going up in attack. It was very difficult like the final of the European Championships. This is the beginning of the story for Spain. We will play better and work for the future and the Olympic Games. We will come back and repeat.” On both Spanish teams making the gold-medal finals:  “It’s very important for the Spanish teams, the clubs, the club coaches and everyone.”

Felipe Perrone (ESP) — Captain and two goals

“The last time for me was 2009 when we lost to Serbia on penalty shots. I felt less pressure and enjoyed the water polo.”

Gwangju, South Korea.— Italy beat Spain 10-5 for its fourth FINA World Championship men's water polo crown at the Nambu University Grounds in Gwangju today.


Dressel brings down another Phelps WR, Smith and Chupkov also set new marks

What a day in Gwangju once more, three world records fell in the evening session and all were smashing at its best. Primus inter pares was Caeleb Dressel who could bring down the penultimate Michael Phelps WR standing, the American beat the Great’s 100m fly shiny standard by 0.32sec. Compatriot Regan Smith came next as she shattered the seven year-old 200m back WR by 0.71sec and Russia’s Anton Chupkov was also in record-beating form in the 200m breast, he lowered it by 0.55sec.

World Championships 2019
Gwangju (KOR)