Hungary makes it title #3 with a heart-stopper over Montenegro
Marton Szivos and Viktor Nagy delivered when needed as Hungary won a third men’s Water Polo World Championship by beating Montenegro in a heart-stopping 8-7 on the final day at the Bernat Picornell Pool.
Hungary just loves winning in Barcelona, collecting the crown in 2003 and the title 30 years earlier in 1973. It was also the 10th medal won at these championships, more than any pother nation.
Nagy was the hero with 12 massive saves, including the last hammer blow from Drasko Brguljan at the death, which started the celebrations. It came a day after the Hungarian women collected a bronze medal.
Szivos posted his second goal, and 12th of the championship, deep into an extra-man play after a timeout. At 1:39 it broke a short deadlock started with an Aleksandra Ivovic equaliser at 2:04. It was Ivovic’s 20th goal and lifted him level with Croatia’s Sandro Sukno as the leading scorers in Barcelona.
Denes Varga, who opened the scoring and was so instrumental in getting Hungary to the final in a hectic fortnight of competition, was rightly named Most Valuable Player of the Championship.
The bronze-medal match was a rerun of last year’s Olympic final, which Croatia won 8-6. Croatia came up trumps again in a foul-ridden match 10-8. There were six Croatian players who did not see out the match as well as three Italians. Three-goal hero Sandro Sukno was one of the three red-carded players while a Croatian assistant coach also saw red. Sukno finished his team’s highest scorer with 20 goals. Alex Giorgetti was the best for Italy with 13 after his three-goal effort.
Spaniard Xavier Valles said farewell to international water polo after Spain beat Greece 10-8 in the play-off for fifth and sixth, conducted immediately before the gold-medal match. Valles has been a fixture on the national team for more than a decade and he was honoured by his team with the captaincy for the night with regular skipper Felipe Perrone stepping down. He scored his final goal for the go-ahead 4-3 score and was lauded by his team after the match. Teammate Albert Espanol was the star of the match with five goals.
In the classification for seventh and eighth, Serbia trod untouched earth with a 12-7 victory over Australia, repeating the win of the first day (10-7) when they played in the same group. Filip Filipovic netted five goals from six attempts for a championship tally of 16. It was the first time Serbia played outside the top four.
9. United States of America
15. South Africa
16. New Zealand
Awards (as selected by media representatives):
Most Valuable Player: Denes Varga (HUN)
Best Goalkeeper: Viktor Nagy (HUN)
Highest goal-scorer: Sandro Sukno (CRO) — 25 goals
Aleksandar Ivovic (MNE) — 25 goals
Media All Star Team:
Goalkeeper: Viktor Nagy (HUN)
Centre Forward: Dusko Pijetlovic (SRB)
Field Players: Pietro Figlioli (ITA)
Aleksandar Ivovic (MNE)
Mladan Janovic (MNE)
Sandro Sukno (CRO)
Denes Varga (HUN)