Water Polo Men, Day 4: USA 6 ESP 10
Spain sent United States of America crashing out of the championship with a 10-6 victory in the quarterfinal qualifiers. Spain had a more balanced team and USA relied heavily on first-team newcomer Janson Wigo, who scored three goals.
Spanish folk do not like their team trailing and when USA veteran and captain Tony Azevedo scored with a lob shot on counter for 2-1, they were unhappy. It took Felipe Perrone with his second Guillermo Molina for 3-2 to get the crowd excited. Molina urged them to stand and cheer, which they did. The crowd was clearly behind Spain.
On double extra, Albert Espanol scored the first of three consecutive Spanish goals to close the period at 4-2.
USA won the next period 2-1, John Mann backhanding in a rebound and Janson Wigo off his left hand as opposed to Espanol’s penalty goal.
Espanol opened the second half with a penalty goal and Molina hammered one in from the top for 7-4.
The only other goal came from the in-form youngster Wigo, a mirror twin, whose right-handed brother Drak has also been on the national squad. They played world juniors and World Student Games together on the USA teams.
He and Drak are half brothers to Wolf Wigo, the former multiple Olympian and USA captain.
Wigo fired in from the top on extra for his third of the match and sixth for the championship.
Azevedo made it 7-6 with a penalty early in the fourth period but a few movements later Alexander Bowen made two errors (bad pass and an exclusion) and Molina scored on the extra-man attack for 8-6. Marc Minguell made the most of a Tony Azevedo turnover when he dragged the ball under the water. Head coach Dejan Udovicic protested and gained a red card, leaving the pool deck, as he had collected a yellow midway through the second period.
Nearly three minutes later it was all over for the USA when Espanol swam in and sent in a skip shot for 10-6 at 1:23, the final scoring of the match.
It was the fourth win in a row for Spain over USA — 2010 World Cup, 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games and today.
Match 28: 13:30, Quarterfinal Qualification, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 6 SPAIN 10
Quarters: 2-4, 2-1, 1-2, 1-3
Referees: Nenad Peris (CRO), Adrian Alexandrescu (ROU).
Extra Man: USA: 2/11. ESP: 2/6.
Pens: ESP: 1/2
USA: Merrill Moses, Janson Wigo (2), Alexander Obert, Alexander Bowen, Matthew De Trane, Chancellor Ramirez, James Krumpholz, Tony Azevedo (2), Shea Buckner, Timothy Hutten, Michael Rosenthal, John Mann (1), Andrew Stevens. Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic.
SPAIN: Inake Aguilar, Alberto Munarrez, Ruben Do Lera, Ricard Alarcon, Guillermo Molina (3), Marc Minguell (1), Balazs Sziranyi, Albert Espanol (4), Xavier Valles, Felipe Perrone (2), Pere Estrany, Xavier Garcia, Daniel Lopez. Head Coach: Rafael Aguilar.
Felipe Perrone (ESP):
“We have had a very good match. During the whole championship the defence has been good and we have failed in the attack but today has worked really well. We came here to win the quarterfinals not just to be here.”
Inaki Aguilar (ESP):
“We needed the spectators in order to win this match and we will need them for the next. We are looking forward to the next match. We are going to give 100 percent against our next opponent.”
Ruben de Lera (ESP):
“We still have a lot to give. We are satisfied to be in the quarterfinals but we have to improve a lot of things from now on, mainly for the match against Italy. The key to beat them is our concentration. We hope the stands are full for that day.”
Guillermo Molina (ESP):
“We have played the way we wanted. We just had to concentrate on our game and we have made it. Against Italy will be much more difficult because their system doesn´t fit us — they are very technical.
After the first three matches we have managed to free ourselves from the pressure and finally became very dynamic. We keep dreaming and hoping for the best. We are just one step away from what we expect.”
Janson Wigo (USA):
“We didn’t play well but we did the best we could, Spain is a very good team. As I see it, for the next championship, our defence must improve. You can´t win a match when your opponent scores 10 goals.”
John Mann (USA):
“Spain is a very strong team. We didn´t execute our game play and that was what made the difference.”
Dejan Udovicic (USA Head Coach):
“We made too many big mistakes and that decided the result. A trainer has to try and protect his team, so naturally when I thought the referees did something unfair I overreacted. Spain are a more experienced team, they have been playing together for seven years whereas we have been together around 50 days. I am proud of the team and of what we have achieved here.”
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