Perth 2012, Day 1 (Men): Croatia upstages Australia on opening day of World Youth Championships

World Youth Water Polo Championships

CRO vs AUSDecember 1, 2012 PERTH - Class play from some of the best 18 and under men’s water polo teams in the world was on display at Perth’s Challenge Stadium on Saturday. It was the opening day of what is billed as the 1st FINA World Youth Water Polo Championships and the young men started the tournament with women following on Sunday.

It is the second time this age group has contested world championships following the 2009 events in Croatia and Russia and won by the host nations in what were declared as World Junior Championships, due to an age group change. These championships continue the long tradition of Challenge Stadium hosting FINA events with the FINA Championships of 1991 and 1998 paramount. It has also hosted two junior women’s world championships (2001 and 2005), a women’s World Cup (2003), the FINA Masters’ Worlds (2008) and the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament for men in 1988 soon after the venue opened.

Croatia impressed in a day of excellent action, defeating host nation Australia 8-6 in a spirited game before more than 700 people. Australia led early against the team that recently won the Comen Cup in Belgrade, but by halftime Croatia was 4-3 up and extended the lead to 6-3 before Australia narrowed the margin to 6-5 at the final break. This became 6-6 halfway through the final period but several Australia mistakes were pounced on by the Croatians who scored twice in 20 seconds to seal the match.

In the other Group B match, Colombia sent off South Africa 11-4 with 4-0 and 5-1 final periods. In the only Group A match, Hungary dusted off the cobwebs with a 20-6 victory over Canada, with powerful second and fourth quarters. Group C had two close matches with Greece missing three penalty attempts and a handful of close-in shots before downing Romania 8-5. Iran was pushed all the way by global newcomer Trinidad & Tobago 9-7. Trinidad was without Kieron Emmanuel after a brutality foul but shared the scoring at 1-1 in the suspension time after a successful penalty shot. It was a superb debut for the Caribbeans.

Group D had another world championship debutant in Peru and the initiation couldn’t have been better with Serbia, one of the medal favourites under the tutorship of Serbian legend Dejan Savic, putting on a scoring display for a 26-2 win. Peru will remember the day and will take heart from the solid showing against a team far beyond its realm. Medal hopeful Italy was too strong for Kazakhstan, winning 26-5, with swift counter-attacks, snappy passing and stronger defence.

Day 1 Match Reports


Game 1: 9:00, Group A, HUNGARY 20 CANADA 6
Quarters: 4-1, 7-2, 3-2, 6-1
Referees: Matan Schwarts (ISR), Daniel Bartels (AUS)
Extra Man: HUN  6/10, CAN  1/5
Pens:  HUN 1/1
HUNGARY: Mihaly Peterfy, Daniel Santa (2), Szilard Jansik (1), Tamas Sedlmayer (5), Jozsef Berta (2), Krisztian Manhercz (1), Gergo Zalanki (2), Tamas Gyarfas (3), Balint Lorincz, Bendeguz Szabo, Andras Telegdy (1), Toni Nemet (3), David Gyorgy. Head Coach: Gyorgy Horkai.
CANADA: Drake Greschner, Ethan Davis, Maxime Gallant, Martin Pelland, Harrison Watt (1), Oscar Henning, Elias Issa, David Lapins (2), Eric Graham (1), Connor Perry, Devon Thumwood (1), Nikola Curcija (1), Virgile Chabot. Head Coach: Robert Couillard.

HUN vs CAN - credit: Anthony Pearse

Potential finalist Hungary opened the championships with a handsome 20-6 Group A men’s victory over Canada on day one at Challenge Stadium. Hungary took some time to settle after some poor options while Canada needed to concentrate more on defence than attack, where it managed to get away only three shots in the first quarter.

Canada came alive in the second quarter with two goals, one a Nikola Curcija 10m lob and a Devon Thumwood score off a rebound, while Hungary netted three counter-attack opportunities in stretching its margin to 11-3.

The third period was squared at 2-2 with Canada converting a timeout, extra-man play for 13-5 going into the final break. In the fourth quarter, Tamas Sedlmayer scored his fifth goal for Hungary as Toni Nemet (HUN) dominated centre forward with two goals to start the period for a match tally of three. The goal of the match went to Canadian two-metre man David Lapins with an aerial backhander.

Andras Telegdy (HUN) said: “Canada were a good team and we scored from their mistakes. We feel great. Who doesn’t after a win?”

Canadian Head coach Brian Parillo said: “Hungary is one of the best teams in the world and we had a hard start. In learning from our mistakes from this game for the next game (Egypt), which we have been preparing for, is very important for us.” Devon Thumwood (CAN) said his team went into the match a little nervous. “Hungary was a tough team.”

Game 2: 10:20, Group B, COLOMBIA 11 SOUTH AFRICA 4
Quarters: 1-1, 1-2, 4-0, 5-1
Referees: Diego Garibaldi (ARG), Ahmad Farman (KUW)
Extra Man: COL 3/6, RSA 2/3
Pens:  RSA 1/1
COLOMBIA: Diego Mateus, Simon Suarez (2), Andres Rua (1), Joyman Camacho (2), Juan Pablo Padilla (2), Omar Correa, William Jaramillo (2), Bryan Avila, Steven Medina (1), Pablo Velasquez, Brian Gutierrez, Sebastian Vargas, Juan Rua. Head Coach: Bladimir Molina.
SOUTH AFRICA: Franco Conversano, Michael Watt-Pringle, Dayne Jagga, Murray Howard (1), Chad Roman, Nicholas Downes (2), Kyle Gibson, Campbell Gregory, Yasien Meth, Joshua Stubbs, Michael Young (1), Kyle Westman, Julian Lewis. Head Coach: Ryan Weideman.

COL vs RSA - credit: Anthony Pearse

Colombia defeated South Africa 11-4 in their opening Group B men’s game following a withering third-quarter burst that saw it net four unanswered goals. In what was a willing opening quarter, both sides created several opportunities but could only score one goal apiece as respective goalkeepers Franco Conversano (RSA) and Juan Rua (COL) made a number of crucial saves.

The second quarter was almost a carbon copy of the first with both teams only able to score once until South Africa’s Murray Howard put his team ahead 3-2 in the final minute of the half.

Midway through the third period, Colombia’s Steven Medina on the counter attack and Andres Rua via extra-man got their team back into the lead before a pair of Simon Suarez strikes made it four goals in three and a half minutes for the South Americans to take a 6-3 lead into the final break. From there Colombia grew another leg and notched five more goals in the last term to South Africa’s one, leaving the final score at 11-4.

Colombian star Suarez said his centre-forward goals were what he does best.“I just threw the goals, making goals for the team.”

Omar Correa (COL) said of the third-quarter turnaround:

“Our coach said to us  (at halftime) ‘What are you doing?’ He told us to go and do the things that we know and train. We just started doing the things we do at practice. South Africa are a really good team but we were getting better and better and are taking each quarter as a step to our enemy, New Zealand (Sunday).”

South African Assistant Coach Bradly Rowe said his team was “over-awed” by the occasion. “The team is not as fit as it should be. A lot of the players are the best players at their schools but they were unable to play as a team. We don’t get to play this level so the opener was a surprise. Some of our kids are only 15.”

Colombia now plays New Zealand, while the South Africans take on the might of the Croatians.

Game 4: 11:40, Group C, ROMANIA 5 GREECE 8
Quarters: 2-2, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3
Referees: Axel Bender (GER), Balasz Fekete (HUN)
Extra Man: ROU 0/3, GRE 0/9
Pens: GRE 0/3
ROMANIA: Marius Tic, Mihnea Gheorghe (1), Andrei Prioteasa, Robert Gergelyfi, Catalin Alexa, Alexandru Sfarle (1), Vlad Dragomirescu, Cristian Calin, Bogdan Paleacu, Andrei Laza, (2) Levente Vancsik, Tudor Neagu (1), David Sacui. Head Coach: Viorel Rus.
GREECE: Nikitas Paraskevopoulos, Michail Kazazis, Spyridon Fotopoulos, Emmanouil Prekas, Chrysovalantis Chrysospathis (1), Konstantinos Gouvis (1), Georgios Dervisis (4), Evangelos Potamianos, Marios Chatzigoulas (2), Nikolaos Alvertis, Panteleimon Kalogerakos, Emmanouil Solanakis, Alexandros Koumis. Head Coach: Athanasios Kechagias.

GRE vs ROU - credit: Anthony Pearse

In a heated contest where the Romanian coach was sent from the pool and the Greek coach was issued a yellow card, the powerful Greece outfit has defeated Romania 8-5 in their opening Group C men’s game at Challenge Stadium. Greece dominated the early exchanges but they were unable to convert on the scoreboard. Georgios Dervisis scored the opener before he missed two penalties to leave his team on the backfoot.

Romania capitalised on their opponent’s poor conversion rate to level the game at 2-2 at the first break. Romania’s goalkeeper Marius Tic was sensational for his team, thwarting numerous Greek attacks to set up blistering counter attacks.

Andrei Laza scored early in the second term to give Romania a 3-2 lead, before Greece replied courtesy of a close-range conversion from Marios Chatzigoulas.

Greece jumped ahead early in the third period through a strike from Chrys Chrysospathis. Romania responded with a second from Laza, before Greece Dervisis landed a crucial goal on the buzzer. At that point Romanian coach Viorel Rus received a red card, leaving assistant coach Gabriel Cismaru to take over the reins.

Romania never recovered as Greece went on to score three goals to one, with Dervisis landing his fourth for the game.

Greece Head coach Athanasios Kechagias was happy with the three-goal win, saying: “It was the first game with a little bit of stress. You never know the result even though we were the favourite. We played well but lost a lot of possible goals with three missed penalties and three or four easy shots from two metres. It was a good game for us.”

Romanian Assistant coach Gabriel Cismaru said it was not unusual for him to step into the head coach role after a red card to his boss, Viorel Rus.

“It was the same at the European championships and again it was against Greece!”

Game 5: 13:00, Group C, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 7 IRAN 9
Quarters:  3-4, 1-2, 2-2, 1-1
Referees:  Hatem Gaber (EGY), Anlong Meng (CHN)
Extra Man: TRI 4/10, IRI 0/5
Pens:  IRI 1/1
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Sebastian Van Reeken, Christian Chee Foon, Daniel Tardieu, Johann Callender, Kieron Emmanuel (1), Russell Ferreira (2), Jonathan Gillette (1), Andrew Chin Lee, Shaquille Mitchell, Marc Stauble (3), Justin Bodden, Adrian Hinds. Head Coach: Adam Foly.
IRAN: Mehran Seyed Bagheri, Masoud Ahmadi (1), Mahmoud Gholamnejad (1), Hamed Khanbanan (4), Ali Mohammadi Gahroei (1), Ali Khaledi Tabar, Alireza Moghaddam, Nima Jamshidi Orak, Sheikhighalehsardi Reza , Nima Shahbazi , Heydari Mohammadmehdi, Ramtin Osati (2), Mohammad Salemi. Head Coach: Davood Rezasoltari.

TRI vs IRI - credit: Anthony Pearse

Iran won an engrossing Group C men’s encounter 9-7 thanks to better control at the crucial moments against Trinidad & Tobago who was playing its first match at the world level of any team in the country’s history. Trinidad proved a talented combination with plenty of aggression and the will to shoot at every opportunity.

The game started with plenty of zest and vitality with three goals coming in the first minute and Iran finished the opening period 4-3 ahead. The second period tightened considerably with the debutante Trinidad & Tobago keeping the halftime score to a two-goal deficit.

The game saw a rare brutality foul called against Trinidad’s Kieron Emmanuel being sent from the pool for kicking his opponent in the face. Iran’s No 4 Hamed Khanbanan converted the penalty for his third goal of the match but Trinidad struck back through Russell Fereira and only gave up one more goal in the four-minute suspension period. Upon the re-entry of the seventh person, Trinidad scored through Adrian Hinds  for 6-8 at the final break.

Trinidad narrowed the deficit to one at the start of the fourth quarter and nearly levelled when on extra-man attack inside the final three minutes. The outside shot was saved and Iran’s Khanbanan netted his fourth goal on the ensuing counter attack for 9-7, which proved to be the final score.

Iranian Head Coach Davood Rezasoltani said: “Our first game, I thought we fought really well, but I think we were a little confused. Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of international preparation. I didn’t expect my team to perform at their best because of nerves and inexperience, but we are happy with the win.”

Trinidad & Tobago Head coach Adam Foly commented on the feeling of playing for the first time at a world championship: “We were excited to be here, but right now we’re really disappointed. My team fought proudly through adversity. We thought we had a chance so were obviously gonna be disappointed.” On playing with a man down after the brutality foul, he said: “We thought we did pretty well. We fought well with one man down and we had momentum on our side. I thought we outplayed them.”

Game 6: 14:20, Group D, SERBIA 26 PERU 2
Quarters: 9-0, 7-0, 6-1, 4-1
Referees: Risto Damcevski (FYROM), Masoud Rezvani (IRI).
Extra Man: SRB 4/6, PER 0/1
Pens:  Nil
SERBIA: Milan Vitorovic, Mateja Asanovic (2), Milos Maksimovic (4), Drasko Gogov (4), Nikola Radulovic (1), Stefan Ilic (2), Dusan Mandic (2), Marko Manojlovic (2), Dimitrije Obradovic (2), Dorde Tanaskovic (2), Ognjen Stojanovic (3), Nikola Jaksic (2), Lazar Dobozanov. Head Coach: Dejan Savic.
PERU: Luis Vidal, Nick Pizarro, Aldo Rodriguez (1), Rodrigo Recabarrew, Eduardo Grandes, Victor Giordano Castillo, Gerson Rolawdo, Piero Padno, Nicolas Rodruquez, Diego Villar (1), Agusto Otero, Sebastian Morales, Jesus Angulo.Head Coach: Jose Antonio Luque.

SRB vs PER - credit: Anthony Pearse

The highly fancied Serbian men’s team has begun its campaign with an emphatic 26-2 victory over Peru. For the second consecutive match the tournament saw a new addition to the elite world level, with Peru making its debut appearance at a world championship. The skill and power of the Serbians showed from the outset with London Olympic bronze medallist Dusan Mandic leading the way.

After a slow start Serbia netted nine first-quarter goals before adding another seven to lead 16-0 at halftime. Drasko Gogov scored four goals while Ognjen Stojanovic netted three. Peru got on the board early in the third term courtesy of a second post conversion from Aldo Rodriquez. Diego Villar followed with his nation’s second goal halfway through the last term, before Serbia powered home four more goals to seal the victory.

The 18-year-old Mandic (SRB) said he was very excited to be in Australia and was pleased with his team’s opening game.

"I feel very excited, but we always knew we'd win that game." I think this is enough, it's enough if we do our best, we’re very excited to be here and excited to win, hopefully we can get in the top three or four."

Peru’s Augusto Otero was upbeat by his team’s performance and said it was very excited to improve throughout the two weeks. “We tried our best for our first world championship but it’s a different level than what we’re used to. We think we played well as a whole but we think against teams like Brazil we will have a better result. We’ll keep working hard.”

Game 8: 18:30, Group B, CROATIA 8 AUSTRALIA 6
Quarters: 1-2, 3-1, 2-2, 2-1
Referees: Emanuel Taylan (TUR), Joseph Peila (USA).
Extra Man: CRO 4/11, AUS 4/12
CROATIA: Ivan Marcelic, Luka Bukic (2), Lovre Milos, Andro Gagulic, Slavko Calic, Marino Cagalj (1), Luka Lozina (1), Antonio Buha, Antun Goreta (2), Marino Divkovic, Deni Saric, Ivan Zivkovic, Andrija Basic (2). Head Coach: Hrvoje Hrestak.
AUSTRALIA: Anthony Hrysanthos, Blake Buckley, Davis Verboon (1), William Mackay (1), Luke Pavillard (1), Matthew Perrott, Matthew Skinner (1), Lachlan Edwards (1), Gordon Marshall, Justin Trabinger (1), Reed Cotterill, Ciaran Wolohan, Sam Cocokios. Head Coach: Chris Wybrow.

CRO vs AUS - credit: Anthony Pearse

Hometown hero Australia pushed tournament favourite Croatia to within two goals in their opening Group B game on day one at Challenge Stadium. Croatia produced a strong second half to overpower the Australians 8-6 and start their championships in style.

Australia began strongly, taking the game to the more fancied Croatians. Matt Skinner opened the scoring with a fine strike from the right hand side. Croatia scored courtesy of a goal to Luka Bukic, before Lachlan Edwards put the home team ahead with an extra-man goal just seconds later.

The second term started evenly with both teams defending strongly. Croatian coach Mate Zeljak received a yellow card after Croatia conceded an exclusion. It was able to defend that situation and in its very next attack converted from eight metres through Andrija Basic. Australia replied with an outside shot from Justin Trabinger, before Basic and Antun Goreta found the back of the net to give Croatia a 4-3 lead at halftime.

Croatia jumped out of the gates in the third term, establishing a quick three-goal advantage, before local Perth stars Davis Verboon and Luke Pavillard reduced the margin to one. The early exchanges of the fourth period were tight with Australia keeper Anthony Hrysanthos holding firm in a brilliant display all game.

The young Australians continued to build the momentum and with 4:16 remaining on the clock, fellow Perth local William Mackay levelled the scores. Croatia struck back immediately through Marino Cagalj and re-established their one-goal lead before Bukic scored his second goal to hand his team an unassailable lead.

Croatian coach Zeljak was happy with the result and praised Australia for producing such a tough contest.

“The boys are really excited about the beginning of the championship. There was a lot of pressure from the home team. We respect the Australian team and we know they play a really great game,” Zeljak said.

“I think this game was crucial for us. The other teams in our group aren’t as strong as Australia and Croatia, so I’m expecting another three wins, and first place. It gives us a rest day, because we won’t have to play preliminaries.”

Hrysanthos, who was voted Australia’s best player with his 14 saves, said it was a fantastic experience to play in front of a large home crowd. “I was happy to play well today and it was great to do it in front of so many family and friends,” he said.

Game 3: 20:00, Group D, ITALY 26 KAZAKHSTAN 5
Quarters: 7-1, 5-3, 5-1, 9-0
Referees: Andrej Franulovic (CRO), John Waldow (NZL).
Extra Man: ITA 5/5 , KAZ 2/4
Pens:  ITA 1/2
ITALY: Leonardo Cavo, Umberto Esposito (3), Gianluigi Foglio (2), Federico Foti (3), Andrea Fondelli (3), Jacopo Alesiani (1), Vincenzo Dolce (2), Lorenzo Bruni (2), Allessandro Velotto (3), Tommaso Busilacchi (1), Luca Cupido (4), Nicola Cuccovillo (1), Fabio Viola. Head Coach: Amedeo Pomilio.
KAZAKHSTAN: Dmitriy Kuprin, Stanislav Tsoy, Vadim Safiullin, Alexandr Godovanyuk (2), Altay Altaev, Rustem Garayev (1), Bolat Turlykhanov (1), Yegor Berbelyuk, Raul Mudrik, Makhambet Yersainov (1), Miras Aubakirov, Andrey Sukhoparov. Head Coach: Nemanja Knezevic.

ITA vs KAZ - credit: Anthony Pearse

Italy gave a water polo lesson to Kazakhstan with a comfortable 26-5 Group D opening-day victory over Kazakhstan at Challenge Stadium. The quarter scores tell the story of a championship contender versus a team that was slower and less skilled than the Italians. The strongest resistance following a 7-1 opening quarter was when Kazakhstan sent in three goals for 10-4 before the halftime margin read 12-4.
One of those goals was a gift for Kazakhstan as the Italians sent back a ball needlessly to the goalkeeper only to be intercepted by Rustem Garayev for the score. The third period was a procession as Italy maintained its momentum and Kazakhstan was slower on the transition. Counter-attack goals became the norm.

With a 17-5 margin at the last break, Italy was keen to utilise the full “training” period ahead of what should be a tough tournament and finished 26-5 ahead. Both teams had a good day on extra-man attack with five from five for Italy and Kazakhstan with a competent 50 percent.

Italian great, coach Amedeo Pomilio, made sure each of his field players scored goals with only Luca Cupido scoring four goals. Four others netted three each.

On playing their first game, Italian coach Amedeo Pomilio said: “The first game is always difficult. We need to get the feel of the pool, the new water polo arena. We played a good match. Tomorrow we have a hard game against Brazil.”

Kazakhstan’s Yegor Berrelyuk said: “It was a bad game, bad score. We need to play better tomorrow.”