Men's Water Polo World Cup 2010, Day 4: Serbia, USA, Spain & Croatia win and go through for the podium

Water Polo World Cup

The outcome of today’s four games was easily predictable, except for Romania vs. USA, a match that had lifted many expectations among the local fans and that was broadcast live by the Romanian national television (as all Romania’s games); following their request, today’s game of Romania was started at 5 p.m. instead of 3:30pm (the same time for Romania’s game has been agreed for tomorrow and after tomorrow). The home team managed to bravely stay in the game for three quarters: at the end of the 3rd period the score was on tie, 9-9. The hopes of the Romanians faded away in the last period when the Americans managed to convert into goals some extra-man opportunities. The Australians too fought bravely against the Serbians, and lost narrowly to them, but in this case the outcome of the game was never in doubt. Against Spain, China confirmed their progressive improvements while Iran could only limit the damage against Croatia.

15:30 -GAME 14/ Australia (AUS) - Serbia (SRB): 9-12 (2-3, 2-4; 2-3, 3-2)

AUSTRALIA: 1. James Stanton 2. Richard Campbell (1) 3. Mitchell Baird 4. Nicholas O’Halloran (1) 5. Robert Maitland (1) 6. Anthony Martin 7. Aaron Younger (2) 8. Sam McGregor (1)  9. Joel Swift 10. Rhys Howden (1) 11. John Cotterill 12. William Miller (1) 13. Joel Dennerley. Coach: John Fox; Assistant Coach: Paul Oberman.

SERBIA: 1. Slobodan Soro 2. Marko Avramovic 3. Zivko Gocic (1) 4. Vanja Udovicic (2) 5. Boris Vapenski 6. Dusko Pijetovic (1) 7. Slobodan Nikic (1) 8. Milan Aleksic (3) 9. Milos Milicic 10. Filip Filipovic (2) 11. Andrija Prlainovic (2) 12. Stefan Mitrovic 13. Gojko Pijetlovic. Coach: Dejan Udovicic; Assistant Coaches: Vladimir Pavlovic, Dejan Stanojevic.

Referees: Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU), Roberto Cabral (BRA).   
FINA Delegates: Khosrow Amini (IRI), Nicolae Firoiu (GER).                                                     

A good game well played by both sides. However, the final outcome was never in doubt although the Aussies did their best to make life a little bit harder for their opponents. The first quarter was tight, with the two sides trading a pair of goals in the first part; then Serbia scored the last one of the period, to win it 3-2. In the second period Australia scored first and equalised (3-3); then Serbia took command and scored four consecutive times, before Australia could score the second goal in the period. Serbia won also the 3rd but lost the 4th period: the two quarters ended 3-2, respectively for Serbia and Australia. Alecksic top scored the game with three goals.
Game scorers and other highlights:
1st Q.: 5:03 Aleksic (S), from outside; 4:36 Howden (A); 4:13 Filipovic (S) also from outside; 3:07 O’Halloran (A) scored a controversial goal on a breakaway; 1:22 Prlainovic (S) on man-up (2-3).
2nd Q.: 6:45 Campbell (A) on action; 6:25 and 5:19 Udovicic (S) twice, first on action and then on x-man; 4:37 Pijetlovic (S) on action; 3:21 Gocic (S) on action; 1:40 Maitland (A) on man-up (4-7).
3rd Q. : Aleksic (S) from two metres on man-up; 6:05 McGregor (A) scored an action goal, also from two metres; 3:53 Miller (A) missed an enormous opportunity from two metres, alone in front of Soro, after a swift counterattack; 3:34 Filipovic (S) shoot a missile from the distance and scored again for Serbia (on action); 0:51 Aleksic (S) on man-up (6-10).
4th Q.: 6:26 Younger (A) from the distance; 5:24 Prlainovic on a counter-attack; 4:24 Nikic on a man-up; 2:21 Miller (A) from two metres; 0:53 Younger (A) scored the last goal of the game from two metres on a solitary counter-attack (9-13).

17:00 -GAME 13/ Romania (ROU) - USA: 12-14 (1-1, 4-4; 4-4; 3-5)

ROMANIA: 1. Dragos Stoenescu 2. Cosmin Radu (1) 3. Tiberiu Negrean (4) 4. Nicolae Diaconu  5. Andrei Iosep (4) 6. Andrei Busila 7. Mihnea Chiovenau (1) 8. Alexandru Matei 9. Dimitri Goanta 10. Ramiro Georgescu (1) 11. Andrei Cretu (1) 12. Kalman Kadar 13. Mihai Dragusin. Coach: Istvan Kovacs; Assistant Coach: Ladislau Balanov.

USA: 1. Merrill Moses 2. Peter Varellas (1) 3. Mike Sharf (1) 4. Jeff Powers (1) 5. Adam Wright (1) 6. Jeff Tyrell 7. Thomas Hopkins 8 Tony Azevedo (3) 9. Ryan Bailey (4) 10. Tim Hutten (3) 11. Jesse Smith 12. Tommy Corcoran 13. Andy Stevens. Coach: Terry Schroeder; Assistant Coaches: Ryan Brown, Robert Lynn.

Referees: Jaime Moliner (ESP), Andrey Shaydakov (RUS).
FINA Delegates: G.O. Martin (HUN), Jorge Roberto Pagura (BRA).

In spite of their different Olympic rankings, the two sides faced today showing equal strength and gave life to the most exciting game of the tournament so far. This was clear from the first period when the only two goals, one per side, were scored on penalty shots. Both the second and the third period ended also on a tie, with both team trading four goals per quarter. In the last fraction the United States managed to bring home victory thanks to their ability to convert into goals some extra-man opportunities.
Romania’s Negrean and Iosep and USA’s Bailey were the top scorers, with 4 goals each.
Game scorers and highlights:
1st Q.: 5:01 Bailey (US) on penalty; the goal was allowed with some hesitation by the referees (but for the Romanians the ball did not enter the goal); 3.29 Georgescu (R ), also on penalty (1-1).
2nd Q.: 6:56 Bailey (US) scored his second goal on x-man; 5:24 Hutten (US), action goal from two metres; 4:49 Negrean (R) from outside on x-man; 4:00 Sharf (US) on x-man; 3:28 Iosep  (R) two men-up; 2:07 Negrean scored his second, also on x-man and equalised (4-4); Romania’s #8, Matei, was excluded from the rest of the game with substitution as there were eight players in the water at the same time for Romania and penalty shot was allowed to the USA: Azevedo converted (4-5); at 20 seconds to the end Chiovenau shoot a missile form the distance and scored a great goal, resetting the tie (5-5).
3rd Q.: 6:16 Bailey (US) pushes his team up once more scoring his third on action (5-6); 5:12 Azevedo (US) scored his second from outside (5-7); then a fantastic lob shot from the distance from Negrean (R), who also completed a hat-trick, gave more hopes to the home team; 3.34 Negrean scored his fourth, on expiration of the superiority time, tying at 7-7; 0:48 Varellas (US) on extra-man put his team again the lead (7-8); then, with 32 seconds to the end, a penalty is allowed to Romania: Iosep  scored his second converted tying once more (8-8); but with just 7 seconds to the end Bailey (US) scored also his fourth goal (8-9); with less than a second to the end (0.6 seconds) a clear penalty was allowed to Romania: Iosep converted again (3rd goal for him) and Romania catch a new tie, at 9-9.
4th Q.: 6:58 Hutten (US) netted his second goal on superiority; 6:15 Azevedo (US) scored his third on a lob shot centrally from outside, putting the USA two goals ahead; 5:58 Radu (R) lessened the gap with a goal in superiority (10-11); 5.11 Powers (US) , on expiration of superiority (10-12); new superiority and new goal for the USA, with Wright at 4:02 (10-13); 3:11 Josep scored his 4th on extra-man (11-13); 2:30 Hutten scored his third on superiority (11-14), game over; 1:16 Cretu (R) scored the last goal of the game on extra-man (12-14) . The crowd applauded his team and, unhappy with the game directors, heavily booed the referees.

18:30 – GAME 15 / Spain (ESP) – China (CHN): 11-5 (1-2, 5-1; 2-0, 3-2)

SPAIN: 1. Inaki Aguilar 2. Mario Garcia 3. David Martin 4. Balazs Sziranyi (2) 5. Guillermo Molina (2) 6. Marc Minguell 7. Ivan Gallego 8. Albert Espanol (1) 9. Javier Valles (3) 10. Felipe Perrone 11. Blai Mallarach (1) 12. Javier Garcia (2) 13. Daniel Lopez. Coach: Rafael Aguilar; Assistant Coaches: Antonio Aparicio; Joaquin Colet.

CHINA: 1. Weiqing Ge 2. Feihu Tan (1) 3. Zhongxing Liang (1) 4. Lijun Yu  Guo  5. Junliang Guo 6. Ning Pan (1) 7. Yang Wang  (1) 8. Junmin Xie 9. Bin Li  10. Beiming Wang 11. Zhidong Han (1) 12. Bin Jiang 13. Jilong Chen. Coach: Tianxiong Cai; Assistant Coaches: Lyngyun Mao, Jung Den.

Referees: Hooshang Hafezi (IRI), Michael Hart (AUS)  
FINA Delegate: Andrey Kryukov (KAZ).

In a surprising scenario China managed to win the first quarter (2-1) against the higher ranked Spanish side. However, with 5 goals (to just one of the Chinese on penalty) the Spaniards restored the ranks already in the second quarter. The score at halftime was 6-3 for Spain. The gap between the two teams widened in the second half of the game.
1st Q.: 6:45 Valles (E); 6:17 Liang (C); 0:20 Wang (C) (1-2).
2nd  Q: 6:09 and 5:26 Spain scored twice on action with Mallarach and Sziranyi; 2:52 easy goal from Molina (E) on a team counter attack; 1:54 Espanol (E) on superiority; 0:58 Valles (E); 0:41 Tan on penalty (6-3).
3rd Q.: 6:00 Liang missed a penalty (Lopez saved); 3:58 Molina (E) scored on superiority; 0:42 Valles (E) scored his third goal on action (8-3).
4th Q.: 6:48 Sziranyi (E); 4:16 Pan (C); 3:23 Han (C); 2:42 and 2:04 Javier Garcia (E) scored twice, the second goal on penalty (11-5).

20:00 - GAME 16 / Iran (IRI) – Croatia (CRO): 2-23 (0-6, 1-8; 0-5, 1-4)

IRAN: 1. Alireza Sahhidipour 2. Arsalan Mardani Chardah Cheriki  3. Seyed Mohamed Mirmahdi (I) 4. Sasan Kouhi () 5. Reza Hagh Goo 6. Mahdi  Karamizarandi 7. Ali Piroozkhah 8. Meisam Jafary 9. Mohsen Salili 10. Yashar Soltani (1) 11. Alireza Hormouzi 12. Amir Hossein Khani Ghahjavarestani 13. Sadjad Abdihanyany. Coach: Stanislav Pivovarov; Assistant Coach: Sirous Taherian.

CROATIA: 1. Ivo Brzica 2. Damir Buric (3) 3. Miho Boskovic (4) 4. Niksa Dobud 5. Maro Jokovic (1) 6. Frano Karac (1) 7. Petar Muslim (3) 8. Andro Buslje (2) 9. Sandro Sukno (4) 10. Samir Barac (2) 11. Igor Hinic (1) 12. Ivan Buljubasic (2) 13. Josip Pavic. Coach: Ratko Rudic; Assistant Coaches: Ivica Tucak, Dean Kontic.

Referees: Jianguo He (CHN), Mark Koganov (AZE).
FINA Delegate: Mohie Wahie Farid (EGY), Boukezouha Badreddine.

Croatia Iran inflicting them “just” 23 goals (instead of 26 of each of the previous three games). Sukno and Boskovic were the top scorers with 4 goals each.
Game’ scorers:
1st Q.: 7:05 Jokovic; 6:38 Boskovic; 5:41 Sukno; 2:59 Barac; 2:12 Sukno; 0:15 Buslje (0-6).
2nd Q.: 7:32 Sukno; 6:43 Muslim; 6:09 Buslje; 5:12 Muslim on penalty; 4:39 Buric; 3:01 Mirmahdi (I); 1:50 Buljubasic; 0:56 Boskovic; 0:25 Buric (1-14).
3rd Q.: 6:31 Buric; 5:27 Buljubasic; 4:53 Hinic; 3:10 Karac; 2:13 Muslim (1-19).
4th Q.: 6:53 Boskovic; 4:01 Soltani (I) on penalty; 2:58 Barac; 1:06 Boskovic; 0:35 Sukno (2-23).