Perth 2012, Day 8 (Men): Hungary men emulate women in reaching gold-medal final

World Youth Water Polo Championships

CRO vs ITA - credit: Anthony PearseDecember 8, 2012 PERTH - Hungary will face Italy in Sunday’s men’s gold-medal final at the FINA World Youth Water Polo Championships at Perth’s Challenge Stadium. Hungary played like champions in getting by far the better of Serbia 9-8, which was more flattering for Serbia. Serbia struggled early and never managed to get on top of Hungary, only once drawing level (4-4). For Hungary it means both its teams will contest the gold-medal finals.

Italy led from the front, stamping authority on the game with a 3-0 start that mesmerised the Croatians and saw them forever playing catch up. Catch up Croatia did but Italy slipped away for victory, setting up an enticing clash Hungary and relegating Croatia to a battle with old foes Serbia. Greece needed extra time to slip into Sunday’s 5th-6th classification match drawing 9-9 draw with Australia and then scoring the winner in the first period of extra time for 10-9. Greece led most of the time but Australia went 9-8 ahead with three minutes remaining and Greece netted the equaliser just inside the final minute.

Romania will play Greece for fifth after beating the United States of America 12-10 after five times leading by three goals. The USA will play Australia for bragging rights as the best nation outside Europe. Brazil gained ninth ranking with a spirited 12-9 margin over a fast-finishing New Zealand, which was 7-3 down early in the third quarter. Canada collected 11th position with an 11-8 victory over Iran. Uzbekistan’s Abbas Sayliev astonishingly scored in the final second for a 6-5 victory over a stunned Egypt in the classification for 13th position. The tournament’s leading scorer, Kirill Rustamov was suspended in the third period but earlier scored twice. In the classification 15-16, Colombia beat Kazakhstan 11-7 after holding a 4-3 halftime advantage.

Day 8 Match Reports


Game 60:  09:00, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 8 SOUTH AFRICA 10
Classification for 17th & 18th
Quarters: 3-2, 2-4, 1-1, 2-3
Referees: Rob Hammond (ZIM), Natalya Rustamova (UZB)
Extra Man: TRI 3/9, RSA 2/6
Pens:  RSA 1/1
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Sebastian Van Reeken, Christian Chee Foon, No # 3, Daniel Tardieu, Johann Callender, Kieron Emmanuel, Russell Ferreira (2), Jonathan Gillette (1), Andrew Chin Lee, Shaquille Mitchell (2), Marc Stauble (1), Justin Bodden, Adrian Hinds (1). Head Coach: Adam Foly.
SOUTH AFRICA: Franco Conversano, Michael Watt-Pringle, Dayne Jagga (1), Murray Howard, Chad Roman (1), Nicholas Downes (1), Kyle Gibson (2), Campbell Gregory, Yasien Meth, Joshua Stubbs (2), Michael Young, Kyle Westman (1), Julian Lewis. Head Coach: Ryan Weideman.

TRI vs RSA - credit: Anthony Pearse

South Africa gained its first victory of the tournament in defeating Trinidad & Tobago 10-8 for the 17th classification. Through a quirk of the draw and the pre-tournament withdrawal of Spain, South Africa eased into the play-off while Trinidad had to beat Peru 13-8 to get to the match.

Trinidad & Tobago held the upper hand in the first quarter with a three-goal burst to lead 3-1, midway through the period. South Africa opened and closed the period’s scoring for the 3-2 margin at the break. Trinidad’s captain Russell Ferreira and Shaquille Mitchell both scored from centre forward while Andrew Chin Lee fired in a missile from 9m.

Trinidad stretched out to 4-2 thanks to an Adrian Hinds extra-man score, before a three-goal surge by South Africa claimed the lead at 5-4 — Kyle Westman from the penalty line and Joshua Stubbs and Nicholas Downes on action. Trinidad levelled via Marc Stauble on man up, but South Africa went to the second half 6-5 ahead when Kyle Gibson scored off a 5m foul. Trinidad had a penchant for the backhand shot, sending three to the cage with just the one success.

The third period had plenty of bluff and shouting but only two goals came, Jonathon Gillette outfoxing South Africa with the a shot off the first pass on attack. Two and a half minutes later Dayne Jagga gave South Africa the edge again, scoring from deep on extra-man attack.

Trinidad ran out of steam in the final quarter, committed silly fouls — including a misconduct foul on Daniel Tardieu —allowing the fitter South Africans a clearer view of the goal. Trinidad opened the quarter through Ferreira, who had to do too much, then Stubbs from 8m; Gibson and Chad Roman on extra had the game at 10-7.

Trinidad had a sniff at narrowing the gap with a timeout ploy at 0:38, however, the shot came too late to have any chance of getting a second. Mitchell scored off a rebounded shot with eight seconds remaining for 10-8.

South African coach Ryan Weideman was relieved his team won, despite looking tired, citing some poor passing on the counter. Weideman was hopeful of the experience afforded to his charges during the tournament in Perth.

“This is the first time they’ve experienced any intense water polo. We have to go back home, analyse our programme, see what we’re doing wrong, maybe get the boys in the water for more hours so they can play at this level for the entire tournament,” Weideman said.

Trinidad & Tobago Head coach Adam Foly said the tournament was a “good eye-opener but disappointing” as he rued the inability to get ejections.

“We deserved a few more ejections. We earned them but did not get the calls. “We’re more talented than the scores have indicated, but we were on the wrong side of the ledger. We were outplayed and couldn’t execute. We’ve got to finish our opportunities. “They finished, putting the ball in the net, we didn’t.”

Game 61: 09:00, COLOMBIA 11 KAZAKHSTAN 7
Classification for 15h & 16th
Quarters: 3-1, 1-2, 4-3, 3-1
Referees: Wilmer Pozo (PER), Dion Willis (RSA)
Extra Man: COL 2/4, KAZ 2/6
Pens: KAZ 0/1
COLOMBIA: Diego Mateus, Simon Suarez, Andres Rua (1), Joyman Camacho (1), Juan Pablo Padilla (4), Omar Correa, William Jaramillo (4), Bryan Avila, Steven Medina (1), Pablo Velasquez, Brian Gutierrez, Sebastian Vargas, Juan Rua. Head Coach: Bladimir Molina.
KAZAKHSTAN: Dmitriy Kuprin, Stanislav Tsoy, Vadim Safiullin, Alexandr Godovanyuk (4), Altay Altaev (1), Rustem Garayev (1), Bolat Turlykhanov, Yegor Berbelyuk (1), Raul Mudrik, Yersainov Makhambet, Miras Aubakirov, Andrey Sukhoparov. Head Coach: Nemanja Knezevic.

COL vs KAZ - credit: Anthony Pearse

Colombia finished 15th overall after defeating Kazakhstan 11-7. Colombia came out firing scoring within the opening minutes of the first term. — Juan Pablo Padilla netting two, giving Colombia an early lead of 3-1 in the opening period. The second quarter saw Kazakhstan’s Yegor Berbelyuk and Rustem Garayev score two consecutive goals leaving Colombia blindsided. However, Colombia managed to respond in the last minutes for a 4-3 lead before the main break.

The teams continued to trade goals in the third period leaving them level at the four-minute mark. A penalty save from Colombian goalie Diego Mateus gave his team a momentum boost while Kazakhstan’s Stanislav Tsoy was excluded from the match leaving it down 8-6 at three-quarter time. In the last quarter, William Jaramillo sealed the match for Colombia, netting two while Kazakhstan was unable to respond.

Colombian Head coach Bladimir Molina is content with his team’s first appearance at a world championship.

“We hope to continue participating in world tournaments giving us more experience and building our skills,” said Molina. “Our boys have a bright future and will we continue to train and work hard.”

Game 62: 10:20, EGYPT 5 UZBEKISTAN 6
Classification for 13th & 14th
Quarters: 1-4, 2-1, 0-0, 1-1
Referees: Ian Melliar (RSA), Anlong Meng (CHN)
Extra Man: EGY 0/5, UZB 1/6
Pens: Nil
EGYPT: Mostafa Mohamed, Omar Atlia (1), Mohamed El Shishtawy, Moataz Ahmed, Amr Hassan, Mostafa Akl, Yehia Mohamed (2), Mahmoud Abdelgawed (1), Abdelrahman Abbas, Thakeb Mahmoud (1), Khaled Sobhi, Basel Abdellatif, (1) Mohamed Mohamed. Head Coach: Mahmoud Eid.
UZBEKISTAN: Stanislav Pashkanov, Timur Razzakov, Miraziz Qosimov, Amir Kurbanbaev, Mirsodik Yodgorov, Aleksey Zaytsev (2), Kirill Rustamov (2), Egor Chumachenko (2), Abbas Sayliev, Semyon Selifontov (1), Artur Kim, Maksim Krakhotin, Radion Khabibullaev. Head Coach: Aleksandr Sokolov.

EGY vs UZB - credit: Anthony Pearse

Abbas Sayliev scored an incredible goal in the final second of the classification 13-14 match to give Uzbekistan a 6-5 victory over a heartbroken Egypt. Egypt scored the first goal of the game after a few minutes via Yehia Mohamed but from then on it was one-way traffic with Egor Chumachenko, Kirill Rustamov (two) and Aleksey Zaytsev all scoring before the end of the term for a 4-1 lead.

Coming into this match Rustamov had amassed a stunning tally of 35 goals – 15 more than the next leading scorer in the tournament, Russell Ferreira, from Trinidad & Tobago. Ironically, Rustamov scored 15 on his own in his side’s 19-16 win over Ferreira’s T & T side on day two. The second quarter belonged to Egypt with goals to Thakeb Mahmoud, Basel Abdellatif and Mahmoud Abdelgawed.

The third term was a stalemate with neither team able to capitalise on a myriad of chances and the score remained 5-4 Uzbekistan’s way with a quarter to play. However, the tide looked as though it had turned Egypt’s way because Rustamov had been red-carded for swinging a fist with 30 seconds left in the third and was consigned to the stands for the rest of the match.

It took Egypt seven minutes of the final quarter to capitalise, though, and when it did courtesy of Yehia Mohamed, it was 5-all with 61 seconds to play. Neither team could score for the next 60 seconds and it appeared the match was headed to extra time until Sayliev sat up with one second left in the game and fired a rocket from wide on the right that skimmed under the Egyptian goalkeeper’s arms for the winner.

After the game Sayliev said he wasn’t sure the shot was good enough as it left his hand. “It was a hard shot and I didn’t think it would go in. I’m very glad it did though. We are very happy.”

Game 63: 11:40, IRAN 8 CANADA 11
Classification for 11th & 12th
Quarters: 1-4, 2-2, 4-3, 1-2
Referees: Jose Cardenas (COL), Joao Cardenuto (BRA)
Extra Man: EGY 0/ 4, 2/5
Pens: Nil
IRAN: Mehran Seyed Bagheri, Masoud Ahmadi, Mahmoud Gholamnejad (3), Malek Khanbanan Hamed (4), Ali Mohammadi Gahroei, Ali Khaledi Tabar (1), Alireza Moghaddam, Nima Jamshidi Orak, Sheikhighalehsardi Reza, Nima Shahbazi , Heydari Mohammadmehdi, Ramtin Osati, Mohammad Salemi. Head Coach: Davood Rezasoltari.
CANADA: Drake Greschner, Ethan Davis, Maxime Gallant, Martin Pelland, Harrison Watt, Oscar Henning, Elias Issa, David Lapins (6), Eric Graham (1), Connor Perry (3), Devon Thumwood (1), Nikola Curcija, Virgile Chabot. Head Coach: Robert Couillard.

IRI vs CAN - credit: Anthony Pearse

Canada finished 11th after defeating a gallant Iran 11-8 in a close classification game. Canada dominated the opening minutes with David Lapins netting three consecutive goals giving the Canadians a 4-1 lead over Iran at the end of the first term. The Canadians continued to extend their lead while Iran failed to capitalise on its shots at goal with impressive saves from Drake Greschner leaving Canada 6-3 up at the main break.

However, the third quarter belonged to Iran, scoring three consecutive goals to Hamed Khanbanan and Gholamnejad, bringing the teams level at 6-6. Canada managed to break away within the last minutes of the third quarter with Connor Perry scoring two, leaving Canada ahead at 9-7 at the end of the third term.

Leading scorers David Lapins (CAN) and Connor Perry (CAN) both scored in the last quarter, sealing Canada’s victory. Both Lapins and Perry were very happy with the team’s win and overall performance and said they were looking forward to the future.

“This is our first world championship so we were a little nervous coming here but also excited. We will use this experience to prepare us for future tournaments,” Perry said.

“We will continue to work hard and hopefully one day we can make the senior team,” Lapins said.

Game 64: 13:00, BRAZIL 12 NEW ZEALAND 9
Classification for 9th & 10th
Quarters: 2-1, 4-2, 2-4, 4-2
Referees: Masoud Rezvani (IRI), Hatem Gaber (EGY)
Extra Man: BRA 2/6, NZL 4/12
Pens: BRA 1/1, NZL 1/1
BRAZIL: Bernardo Campos, Pedro Stellet (1), Leon Psanquevich, Felipe Martins (1), Guilherme Campos, Pedro Real Vergara (3), Andrey Lopes, Henrique Vasconcelo (2), Guilherme Gomes (2), Gabriel Salgado (3), Caio Marques, Lucas Franca, Matheus Sorilha. Head Coach: Angelo Coelho.
NEW ZEALAND: Thomas Kingsmill, Matthew Lewis (2), Mathew Hansen, Daniel John Kayes (2), Cameron Hayes, Tyler Levi, Mitchell Goff (1), Braeden Drennan (1), Rory McJorrow, John McGuiness, Owen Chambers, Anton Sunde (2), Sid Terence Dymond. Head Coach: Jonathon Ware.

BRA vs NZL - credit: Anthony Pearse

Brazil rolled New Zealand 12-9 in an exciting battle for ninth place in the men’s tournament. Brazil was on top in every quarter except the third in which New Zealand went on a four-goal run from 3-7 down to tie the game up. Brazil then scored the next three goals and with it the game. Braeden Drennan (NZL) and Pedro Stellet (BRA) got their respective teams on the scoreboard in the first half of the opening quarter before a sweetly placed lob from a counter attack by Pedro Real Vergara in the dying moments of the term gave Brazil the 2-1 quarter-time lead.

Vergara scored his second on a ball that skimmed under Kiwi custodian Thomas Kingsmill’s arm to make it 3-1. The goal followed immediately after New Zealand was denied what looked like a certain 5m penalty at the other end for what was effectively a two-goal turnaround. But the New Zealanders didn’t panic and on the next possession Daniel Kayes scored on extra-man attack. Kayes scored another from 9m following a foul a minute later and it was 3-all.

Kayes is the brother of Joe Kayes, New Zealand’s only professional water polo player in Europe who has made a name for himself at Szeged Beton in the elite Hungarian competition. That was the end of the New Zealand resurgence though, and after four straight Brazilian goals, including Vergara’s third, it was 6-3 at halftime.
Brazil scored first in the third before big New Zealand centre forward Jack McGuiness created two goals by working over the Brazilian centre backs – one a 5m for Matthew Lewis and the second an extra-man strike for Mitchell Goff. Anton Sunde and Lewis then added to the tally to complete the comeback to 7-all.

The quarter’s final goal went to Brazil in the extra man with less than three seconds to go and the South Americans went into the last break 8-7 up. The final quarter was 4-2 to Brazil with Henrique Vasconcelo snaring a double to put the game away. Brazilian coach Angelo Coelho said he was pleased with ninth place.

“Ninth is very good for Brazil and we are happy with that,” Coelho said. “But the group games and the (second-round) game against the USA was very hard for us. “We have four really good players and a great team all together.”

Game 65: 14:20, AUSTRALIA 9 GREECE 10 in extra time (FT: 9-9)
Round 5-8 semifinal
Quarters: 4-4, 0-0, 3-3, 2-2, 0-1, 0-0
Referees: Balasz Fekete (HUN), Nenad Golijanin (SRB)
Extra Man: AUS 0/6, GRE 2/7
Pens: AUS 2/2, GRE 2/2
AUSTRALIA: Anthony Hrysanthos, Blake Buckley (1), Davis Verboon, William Mackay, Luke Pavillard (1), Matthew Perrott (1), Matthew Skinner, (1) Lachlan Edwards, Gordon Marshall (1), Justin Trabinger, Reed Cotterill (3), Ciaran Wolohan (1), Sam Cocokios. Head Coach: Chris Wybrow.
GREECE: Nikitas Paraskevopoulos, Michail Kazazis, Spyridon Fotopoulos, Emmanouil Prekas, Chrysovalantis Chrysospathis (4), Konstantinos Gouvis (1), Georgios Dervisis (3), Evangelos Potamianos, Marios Chatzigoulas (1), Nikolaos Alvertis, Panteleimon Kalogerakos, Emmanouil Solanakis (1), Alexandros Koumis. Athanasios Kechagias.

Greece defeated a brave Australia 10-9 in extra time to clinch a shot at fifth place on Sunday. The scores were locked at 9-9 on the buzzer before Greece was able to hold its nerve to fire home the decisive goal in the first period of extra time.

It was a frantic opening term with Greece and Australia exchanging blows. The Greeks went ahead through centre forward Emmanouil Solanakis, before fellow centre forward Gordon Marshall equalised for the Aussies 20 seconds later. The pattern continued with Konstantinos Gouvis converting a 5m penalty earned by Chrysovalantis Chrysospathis, only for Matthew Skinner to strike from eight metres.

Greece once again edged ahead to eventually establish a 3-2 lead, before Ciaran Wolohan and Luke Pavillard unleashed their powerful shots to hand the locals a 4-3 lead. Georgios Dervisis then opened his account to make it 4-4 at the first break. It was a lot tighter in the second quarter with both teams adopting a more rigid defensive structure.

Both keepers were brilliant as they deflected anything that came their way, with Aussie shot-stopper Sam Cocokios particularly impressive, making two saves in a row at the two-minute mark. The half ended at 4-4 with neither team able to penetrate. Greece turned on the afterburners in the third period, jumping out to a two-goal advantage within the first 90 seconds.

Chrysospathis powered home two as Greece threatened to streak away. To its credit, Australia maintained its exposure, showing good strength to block a bombardment of Greek shots. The Aussies’ bravery paid dividends as Gordon Marshall drew an exclusion foul, allowing Reed Cotterill to convert a 5m penalty, before the pair teamed up again with Marshall streaking away only to be double fouled by Emmanouil Prekas. Cotterill scored to take the score to 6-6.

Chrysospathis and Australian captain Matthew Perrot then traded goals – with Perrott claiming his left-hand strike in front of the vocal home crowd – to take the scores to 7-7 at three-quarter time. Australia maintained momentum in the last with Cotterill converting from a hopeful lob, with Blake Buckley doing likewise — his shot more controlled — from a similar position. Greece fought back through Chrysospathis and Dervisis to level at 9-9 with 58 seconds remaining.

Australia blundered its chance to go ahead, leaving Greece 30 seconds to find the winner, but Cocokios stood tall in the goals. Coach Wybrow then called timeout with four seconds left – and Justin Trabinger’s set attempt was blocked by Nikitas Paraskevopoulos to send the contest into extra time.

Evangelos Potamianos put the Europeans ahead with a wonder strike from 10 metres to give Greece a 10-9 lead in the first period of extra. Australia had one final chance to score the equaliser but fell short, as the pass to Cotterill on left was intercepted and Greece held on for the victory.

Chrysospathis, who proved the difference in the end with four goals, said he expected Australia to come out hard in the match and credited them for playing well. “They had the crowd and they had nothing to lose and wanted the win. We expected they would play good,” Chrysospathis said.

“The task is not yet done,” he added. “Our goal was to win a medal here at these championships. But after our defeat against Serbia we have to keep fighting. We said that our goal is to take fifth place and we should do that. “Today was the first step and tomorrow is another until we complete our target.”

Australian centre backs Matthew Skinner and Justin Trabinger, who contributed to Greek skipper and centre forward Solanakis scoring just one goal and drawing two exclusions, said it was disappointing to fall short but was proud of the effort the team put in.

“We stuck it to them and it was only a matter of time. We really got unlucky at the end and that was the most shattering part of it,” Skinner said.

“If we had been able to string four quarters together I think we could have defeated any team here, but just a few lapses cost us but overall it’s been amazing to play in front of friends and family and the crowd was awesome today,” Trabinger said.

Round 5-8 semifinal
Quarters: 2-3, 2-4, 2-2, 4-3
Referees: Emanuel Taylan (TUR), Michael Brooks (NZL)
Extra Man: USA 4/11, ROU 3/9
Pens: USA 1/2, ROU 1/1
USA: Garrett Danner, Adam Abdilhamid, Reid Chase, Matthew Farmer, Patrick Fellner, Kent Inoue, Max Irving, Chandler Jarrels Stickney (2), Chancellor Ramirez (2), Ryder Roberts (3), Connor Stapleton, Alec Zwaneveld (1), Kevin Levine. Head Coach: Jason Lynch.
ROMANIA: Marius Tic, Mihnea Gheorghe (3), Andrei Prioteasa, Robert Gergelyfi, Catalin Alexa, Alexandru Sfarle, Vlad Dragomirescu (2), Cristian Calin, Bogdan Paleacu (1), Andrei Laza (4), Levente Vancsik, Tudor Neagu (2), David Sacui. Head Coach: Viorel Rus.

USA vs ROU - credit: Anthony Pearse

Romania held sway over United States of America, finding all the answers in a 12-10 win to progress to the 5th place playoff on Sunday where they will meet Greece. Andrei Laza banged home a pair of goals to assert Romania into the match after Ryder Roberts opened the scoring for United States. Bogdan Paleacu finished off from extra man to give Romania a 3-2 advantage after the first quarter.

Romania threatened to pull away, controlling large portions of second quarter action. Laza, in particular, continued to be the go-to man for Romania. United States had chances to sneak up to their opponents but had trouble impacting the resolute Romanians. When Vlad Dragomirescu (ROU) snuck under the United States’ guard in the shadows of half-time, his side lead 7-4.

The Romanians, stoic in defence throughout the week, started to finally show signs of wear and tear. United States found a path to goal with Chancellor Ramirez and Chase Reid becoming multiple goal scorers. Romania goalkeeper Marius Tic saved a penalty shot from Adam Abdilhamid (USA) with the ball spending the majority of the third quarter in the United States’ half. Tellingly late in the term, Tudor Neagu (ROU) and Laza with his fourth, cancelled out USA’s earlier strikes to save their three goal lead.

United States mounted a death or glory charge in the final term after Romania opened the scoring. USA pegged the margin back to one with three consecutive goals, before a centre forward goal from Mihnea Gheorghe saw Romania home.

Despite giving up just their first double figure goal tally for the tournament in the win, Tic heralded Romania’s defence and felt the spirit of the team, emphasised by the team dancing with the national flag and singing on the referee podium immediately after the triumph, gave them an added boost at the World Championships.

“We have been working on defence and that leads to the attack. The best attack comes from defence. We try to play zone defence as we are the team with the most exclusions here. We try to help each other as much as we can. The key to our game is we never argue, no matter what happens,” Tic said.

USA Coach Jason Lynch was disappointed with his side’s discipline but gave credit to his players for a better showing in the second half. “I thought we started out fine but we had some foolish ejections early out on the perimeter. We adjusted, we did a better job in the second half with that, till the very end, again, taking some stupid exclusions and that was probably the difference in the end,” Lynch said.

Lynch hoped for greater teamwork in the match against Australia to decide 7th place on Sunday.

Romanian goalkeeper Marius Tic praised his team: “We played a really good match. We have one game left and hope to finish the way we started, with a win. We play Greece (on Sunday) and hope to win.”

On his team’s excellent defence all week: “We have been working on defence and that leads to the attack. The best attack comes from defence. We try to play zone defence as we are the team with the most exclusions here. We try to help each other as much as we can.”

Speaking of the strong spirit within the team as emphasised by the team dancing with the national flag and singing on the referee podium immediately after the match: “The key to our game is we never argue, no matter what happens.”

Game 67: 18:30, HUNGARY 9 SERBIA 8
Round 1-4 semifinal
Quarters: 2-0, 2-3, 3-2, 2-3
Referees: Axel Bender (GER), Joseph Peila (USA)
Extra Man: HUN 3/9, SRB 4/11
Pens: HUN 1/1
HUNGARY: Mihaly Peterfy, Daniel Santa, Szilard Jansik (2), Tamas Sedlmayer (2), Jozsef Berta (1), Krisztian Manhercz (1), Gergo Zalanki, Tamas Gyarfas, Balint Lorincz (1), Bendeguz Szabo, Andras Telegdy, Toni Nemet (2), David Gyorgy. Head Coach: Gyorgy Horkai.
SERBIA: Milan Vitorovic, Mateja Asanovic, Milos Maksimovic (1), Drasko Gogov, Nikola Radulovic, Stefan Ilic, Dusan Mandic (1), Marko Manojlovic, Dimitrije Obradovic, Dorde Tanaskovic (2), Ognjen Stojanovic (3), Nikola Jaksic (1), Lazar Dobozanov. Head Coach: Dejan Savic.

Hungary’s youngsters were never headed and played like Olympic champions of the future in overcoming Serbia 9-8 in the first medal semifinal.
The ability of Hungary to set the plays, move the ball, feed the centre forwards and earn ejections proved too much for a Serbian side that was unsettled and hesitant at both ends of the pool.

Hungary switched its attacking and defensive styles, not letting the Serbians close in the first half but allowing them into the attacking zone the next. Hungary emerged strongly while Serbia’s shooting went high and wide. At the end of the period when on extra-man attack, Serbia failed to shoot when a goal looked a strong possibility. It was just one of a series of basic errors that in their entirety, proved fatal.

Hungary oozed confidence, playing with panache and taking awkward chances. The first goal came from a blistering shot off the arm of Tamas Sedlmayer, 7m from goal. The second was not until six minutes later when Szilard Jansik screamed a shot into the crossbar from the far right, rebounding wide left for Sedlmayer to claim and score his second.

Serbia had the better of the second quarter, but still could not settle in front of goal while learning a valuable lesson to press defend the Hungarians as far out as possible. Ognjen Stojanovic on extra man after the restart, Dusan Mandic from deep right and Dorde Tanaskovic with a turning movement that ended in a lob from in front of goal lifted the Serbs. Tanaskovic urged the crowd to cheer him and his team along after what was pure showmanship.

However, Hungary’s Balint Lorincz from outside on extra and Szilard Jansik with a penalty goal, kept Hungary ahead 4-3 at halftime. Serbia set up a stronger attack and was more of a threat in the third period but Hungary was too dynamic and playing at a higher level that Serbia could only hope to emulate, but not here in Perth.

Stojanovic book-ended the third-quarter scoring but the Hungarians scored three in the middle stages for a 7-5 lead at the final break. Jansik on counter, dragging back a superb Sedlmayer pass; Jozsef Berta with an opportunistic skip from the deep left and the daunting presence of Toni Nemet on an extra-man he had engineered at two metres pushed the lead to 7-4.

Stojanovic kept his team in the hunt inside the final minute but while he was focused, his team-mates were still not in in a quandary. Nemet erupted at centre forward again to start the final quarter and goals were traded until 9-7 when Tanaskovic scored his second from nearer halfway that the 5m line.

Both teams called a timeout with little reward. Sedlmayer, so enthusiastic all game, was ejected and vented his frustration with a punch of the water only to be red-carded, but at 1:35 the game was seemingly over.

Milos Maksimovic drew Serbia to within striking distance on extra-man attack at 0:34 but Hungary was too wily a team not to control the ball to give Serbia only a breath of time to try and score, which it could not.

Hungary’s Nemet said it was a really tough match. “We’re really happy and we’re glad to give the same performance as we did yesterday and hopefully we can take it into the final tomorrow.”

“The way we played was our primary goal and we talked about having our structure and each player sticking to his job and that worked.”

Stojanovic (SRB) found it hard to reconcile the loss, despite his personal contribution to the Serbian cause. "It's a sad game, a hard game. I don't know what to say. I don't think about that (my effort), it's hard because I'm sad," Stojanovic said.

Game 68: 20:00, CROATIA 9 ITALY 10

Round 1-4 semifinal
Quarters: 2-4, 2-2, 2-3, 3-1
Referees: Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU), Michail Birakis (GRE)
Extra Man: CRO 6/18, ITA 1/15
Pens: CRO 0/1, ITA 3/3
CROATIA: Ivan Marcelic, Luka Bukic (3), Lovre Milos (2), Andro Gagulic, Slavko Calic, Marino Cagalj, Luka Lozina, Antonio Buha, Antun Goreta (2), Marino Divkovic, Andrija Basic, Ivan Zivkovic (1), Deni Saric (1). Head Coach: Hrvoje Hrestak.
ITALY: Leonardo Cavo, Umberto Espositio (1), Gianluigi Foglio (1), Federico Foti (1), Andrea Fondelli (4), Jacopo Alesiani, Vincenzo Dolce (2), Lorenzo Bruni, Allessandro Velotto (1), Tommaso Busilacchi, Luca Cupido (1), Nicola Cuccovillo, Fabio Viola. Head Coach: Amedeo Pomilio.

CRO vs ITA - credit: Anthony Pearse

Italy will play Hungary for the gold medal after defeating Croatia 10-9 in a rough and tumble semi final that saw 37 major fouls and two red cards shared between the combatants. Before the game many pundits poolside considered Croatia and Italy the best two teams of the tournament with Croatia’s ten-goal quarterfinal mauling of the USA and Italy’s 10-4 demolition of Italy in the group stage the two best performances of the week.

Only last year Croatia had beaten Italy 8-7 in an enthralling final at the European 17 and under championships. Italy came out with all guns blazing in the first quarter, creating turnovers at the defensive end and scoring the game’s first three goals inside five minutes courtesy of Vincenzo Dolce, Andrea Fondelli (18th goal of the tournament) and Luca Cupido.

Lovre Milos ensured Croatia stayed in the quarter though, scoring twice in 51 seconds in extra man, before Dolce got his second for Italy to end a blazing first term up 4-2. Fondelli got his second halfway through the second quarter with a well-taken penalty that he had effectively created with a crafty pass into centre forward Federico Foti. Cupido then earned himself a penalty but his own attempt sailed over the crossbar untouched.

It was a costly miss because on the next possession Cupido was ejected at the other end and Ivan Zivkovic scored for Croatia in extra. Less than a minute later the Croats were at it again with Luka Bukic threading a shot through the defence in extraman to make it 6-4, Italy, as the clock reached halftime.

Both sides were incurring plenty of major fouls in transition as the pace and physicality of the game took its toll. Things got tougher for Croatia in the third too when they were forced to defend three shot clocks, two shots and two almost simultaneous exclusions in a monumental 90 second defensive effort to start the quarter.

They couldn’t hold on forever though and Fondelli converted a penalty after three minutes before Antun Goreta (CRO) drilled a six on five chance 20 seconds later to get it back to a two goal game. When Luka Lozina was given his third major foul with three minutes to go Croatia had totalled 13 against them as a team and were paying. Despite that they scored the next to Andrija Basic to get within one, only to see Fondelli convert another penalty and Foti get his first to push it out to 9-6 at the final intermission.

Bukic, whose father Perica Bukic won Olympic gold for Yugoslavia at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, scored the first two goals of the last quarter – both from the left in extraman – to start the Croatian comeback. In between his two strikes Basic (CRO) and Tommaso Busilacchi (ITA) were both red carded for fighting, such was the mounting tension in the game. Italy ended up with 19 major fouls and Croatia 18.

Goreta tied the game up at 9-all with 2:16 remaining before Velotto got his second and Italy’s tenth 45 seconds later to regain the lead. Croatia earned another kick-out with 32 seconds on the clock and coach Hrvoje Hrestak immediately called a timeout but the Italian’s defence was stifling and Croatia couldn’t even get a shot off, leaving the final score at 10-9.

Italian star Andrea Fondelli, who netted four goals, said the win had got an enormous monkey off Italy’s back.

"It was a very hard game against Croatia and this is the best Italy has performed against Croatia in this age group as we lost to them at the European Championships," Fondelli said.

The gold medal match shapes as another thriller between two teams that, according to Fondelli, know each other well.

"It will be a big game against Hungary in the final,” he said. “We trained against them before the championships and we know them very well so who ever is the best on the day will win the gold."

Croatia will play for bronze against Serbia.