Barcelona 2013

Water Polo Men: Day 2: GRE 24 NZL 4

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NZL vs GREGreece went on a scoring spree against New Zealand in Group A, winning 24-4 to go with the two-goal victory over Montenegro on day one. New Zealand has now conceded more than 500 goals at World Championships — 518 to be precise — an unenviable record. The only other time the two teams have met at this level was in 1991 when Greece prevailed 14-2.

It was all about major fouls and New Zealand’s inability to either read the referees or get proper body position, proving fatal. The Kiwis gave up nine major fouls in the first half to Greece’s none and the Europeans punished them. Two players failed to see the end of the match and of the 14 New Zealand majors, Greece converted seven.

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Water Polo Men: Day ITA 10 GER 8

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ITA vs GERItaly rightfully secured a second victory in Group D with a solid effort that saw Germany reduce the deficit in the final quarter for a 10-8 decision. Italy built the victory on a 5-1 start and proved that while it has won the last three World Championship matches against Germany — having lost the previous two in 1982 and 1991 — it desperately wanted to extend the record to four.

That early lead was extended to 8-2, two minutes into the third period. When Valentino Gallo had his penalty shot blocked by Moritz Schenkel three minutes into the third period, the magic seemed to die in Italy’s ranks.

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Water Polo Men: Day 2: KAZ 7 ROU 4

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KAZ vs ROUKazakhstan wiped out bad memories of past World Championships when it beat Romania 7-4 in a Group D encounter at Bernat Picornell Pool. The two have met only once before and that was a 19-2 loss for Kazakhstan at the Olympic Qualification Tournament in 2008 in Oradea, Romania. Kazakhstan's biggest World Championship defeat was also by a 17-goal margin — 20-3 against Serbia in 2009 in Rome, Italy.

Kazakhstan started strongly with Alexey Shmider scoring twice either side of the first break. Kazakhstan went 3-1 up and turned at 3-2. Tiberiu Negrean levelled with a Romanian strike early in the third period but goals were hard to come by from then on as Kazakhstan, urged on by its head coach, triple Asian Games champion Sergey Drozdov, scored four goals before the final interval. At 7-3 the match looked sewn up.

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Water Polo Men: Day 2: SRB 13 HUN 10

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SRB vs HUNWhat a way for Serbia’s Filip Filipovic to celebrate the birth of his first son — with a spectacular 13-10 Group C victory over Hungary. Filipovic Junior arrived into the world while the match was being played and maybe could emulate his famous father who was named most valuable player of the Shanghai FINA World Championships as well as FINA’s Water Polo Athlete of the Year in 2011.

Filipovic’s team all jumped into the pool to celebrate with him after the match and cradled their arms in a swaying motion. He was on the phone immediately after the match, no doubt talking to his wife about the momentous occasion.


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Water Polo Men: Day 2: AUS 9 CHN 7

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CHN vs AUSAustralia recorded a 10th consecutive victory over China at FINA level, winning the Group C match 9-7. The Aussie Sharks led 9-3 just 30 seconds into the final quarter and then China woke up, scored three goals in 60 seconds for 9-6 at 5:17. The match was on. Both teams took a timeout for no success.

The match was narrowed to two goal when Zhang Chufeng scored eight seconds from time. It was an enthralling match with Australia controlling throughout and forcing China to take longer-range shots, many of which never made it to the goalkeeper.

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Water Polo Men: Day 2: CRO 13 CAN 8

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CRO vs CANCroatia inflicted a record 54th loss on Canada at FINA World Championship level in winning a Group B match 13-8. The spirit in which Canada played and resistance given after a poor start was more than commendable and spectators were treated to an excellent effort.

While Petar Muslim was helping the Croatian surge, the Olympic champion at times wondered what to do against the Canadians and head coach Ivica Tucak looked frustrated.

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Water Polo Men: Day 2: USA 16 RSA 3

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USA vs RSAUnited States gained its first victory with a 16-3 Group B win over South Africa. It was well off the USA’s record score at FINA World Championships — 20-3 — also against South Africa, in 2011. The teams have now met three times with the USA victor on each occasion.

The best part for the spectators was the tremendous centre-forward display by John Mann, a player who has progressed so much since last year’s Olympic Games. His physical presence is one thing but what he brings to the team is a true replacement for some of the great two-metre men in USA history. His ability to turn the man and then decide on what shot to take is his main attribute.

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World League champion China rumbled by Australia

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AUS vs CHNAs Olympic bronze medallist it might be said that Australia would never cause an upset, but this is what transpired in day-two action at the FINA Women’s Water Polo World Championships at the Bernat Picornell Pool.

Australia came back from 5-4 down to thrash recently crowned FINA World League champion China 14-5 in what was a display of pressure defence, power shooting and general aggression.

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Water Polo Women: Day 2: RUS 7 ESP 6

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RUS vs ESPRussia stretched its recent record against Spain to seven matches at the major competitions and European Championships with a 7-6 Group A victory. It was Russia’s second win and the first defeat for Olympic silver medallist Spain, making Thursday’s final round match-ups rather tantalising. Spain won the final period 3-2 with two of those goals coming in the final minute, a touch too late.

The huge crowd witnessed a classy match that promised many goals after Russia’s opening score at 7:10 through captain Evgeniya Ivanova, but the defence of both teams was exceptional as no more goals came in the period.

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Water Polo Women: Day 2: NED 30 UZB 3

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UZB vs NEDThe Netherlands is longing for a return to the glory years of the 1970s-80s and especially to 2008 when it became Olympic champion. By rolling Uzbekistan by a world record 30-3 in a Group A match in day-two action, it might not have been the stepping stone back to those halcyon days, but it was a step, sadly for the younger, more inexperienced Uzbeks.

The score beat the two records held by Australia, who beat Puerto Rico 26-1 in 2007 and then Uzbekistan 27-2 in 2011.

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