Barcelona 2013

Water Polo Men: Day 1: HUN 13 CHN 5

BCN2013 - Water Polo

HUN vs CHNHungary’s new breed of international stars displayed composure and brilliance, coupled with speed, guile and power against China, who failed to fold under the onslaught. Hungary seems to have it all with the young group that has replaced the old guard. Could this be the start of a new generation of gold medallists?

Maybe this competition is too early but the repertoire shown today left many in awe. The only point of concern for Hungary was the red-carding of Denes Varga at 4:21 in the final quarter.

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Water Polo Men: Day 1: SRB 10 AUS 7

BCN2013 - Water Polo

SRB vs AUSWorld No 3 Serbia gained the two points as expected, although Australia played encouragingly enough to deserve a better result. Serbia would have remembered being three goals behind at the London Olympic Games before winning going away. It was the third encounter between the two nations at this level with Serbia now having two wins and a draw.

When it comes to man-up situations, Serbia is king and seven goals from nine attempts proved fatal for Australia. Serbia had Dusko Pijetlovic and captain Vanja Udovicic in fine form, as was the team all over the pool.

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Water Polo Men: Day 1: CAN 17 RSA 11

BCN2013 - Water Polo

CAN vs RSAIn the battle of the Commonwealth nations, Canada emerged the victor after a stirring tussle with South Africa. Canada looked like the better team and with centre forward Nicolas Constantin-Bicari in outstanding form, held out for the victory. South Africa lacked the finesse on passing, especially, but still produced some excellent shots.

South Africa lost star shooter Ryan Bell early in the third period to three major fouls after a three-goal effort and when the score was 8-6 against. The real action came in the third period where a staggering 11 goals kept the secretary busy. The frenetic torrent of goals lifted the score from 6-5 at halftime to 13-9.

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Water Polo Men, Day 1: CRO 9 USA 7

BCN2013 - Water Polo

CRO vs USACroatia repulsed a determined United States of America in the second men’s water polo match, but not before USA caused a ripple in the pool with a 3-2 advantage late in the second quarter. Croatia regained momentum with a four-goal burst in the middle stages that left USA grappling for goals.

There was nothing between the teams in the first half, as the score suggests, but Croatia was unlucky not to have the lead with a last-gasp shot hitting the crossbar and seemingly crossing the line on the halftime buzzer. It was an enthralling period with Sandro Sukno opening the scoring on the first attack from point-blank range. USA equalised four minutes later.

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Water Polo Men, Day 1: GRE 6 MNE 4

BCN2013 - Water Polo

GRE vs MNEGreece caused the first upset of the men’s water polo championship in the opening match with a stunning 6-4 victory over Montenegro, a team it lost to by seven goals in a four-nation tournament a fortnight ago (July 12).

This was not the Montenegro of old or even recent. This was a team completely shut out in the first half and would have been without the efforts of superstar Aleksandar Ivovic who scored both of his team’s goals — one from the penalty line.

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Greece starts title defence with loss to Olympic champion USA

BCN2013 - Water Polo

ITA vs KAZWorld champion Greece tasted defeat on the opening day of its title defence of the FINA Women’s Water Polo World Championship at the Bernat Picornell Pool. Who better to inflict the defeat than Olympic and World Cup champion United States of America with what was a flattering 12-8 margin after a brilliant final quarter. In the other Group C encounter, Canada and Great Britain played a spirited match before Canada prevailed 14-9.

In Group A action, the marquee match of the day, Spain took until midway through the second quarter to gain the lead, which it never relinquished in what was the most thrilling match of the day. Russia opened the championship with a 22-6 victory over Uzbekistan.

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Water Polo Women, Day 1: ESP 14 NED 12

BCN2013 - Water Polo

ESP vs NEDOlympic silver medallist Spain overcame the persistent Netherlands in a stirring match that had the large crowd on the edge of its seat. The win was largely due to the 5-1 second quarter and the brilliance of Anna Espar and Pilar Pena, who scored three goals apiece.

With Dutch head coach Mauro Maugeri sitting out the match on suspension for a red card gained in the 2013 FINA World League, his assistant Arno Havenga took the reins. It looked a good move as the Dutch, Olympic champions five years ago, sprang to a three-goal lead. This was trimmed to 4-2 at the first break.

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Water Polo Women, Day 1: ITA 9 KAZ 7

BCN2013 - Water Polo

ITA vs KAZThere was no way Italy was not going to win this match, but spare a thought for the scriptwriters who started their screenplay with the wrong scorers! Kazakhstan sent in one goal at 4:39, a second at 1:48 and a third at 0:52. It was 3-0 in favour of the team that was supposed to finish second.

What would Italy do to get back into the game? Score a penalty goal through captain Tania Di Mario, one of the heroes of Italy’s gold-medal win at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, that’s what.

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Water Polo Women, Day 1: HUN 20 BRA 6

BCN2013 - Water Polo

HUN vs BRAHungary was always going to swim away with this match, despite the defiance of Brazil in what was a period too late — the fourth. With crowds building for the evening session and the sun starting to cause problems at one end, Rita Keszthelyi was on fire like the great orb above. She scored three of Hungary’s first four goals for 4-1 with not four minutes into the game.

Luciane Maia scored on extra for 4-2 but there the Brazilian dream of victory died. Hungary rattled in four goals in the second period and had the game in its hand at 9-2 by the long break. Keszthelyi worried the match secretaries further with another two goals to start the second half and Hungary showed total dominance as it moved to 12-2 by the final break.

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Water Polo Women, Day 1: CAN 14 GBR 9

BCN2013 - Water Polo

CAN vs GBRCanada may have missed competing at the last two Olympic Games while Great Britain competed in London last year for eighth place, but it was the Maple Leafs who shone through today. The match certainly had the large British supporter base enthralled. Goals were traded to 2-2 and Canada went two up with goals either side of the first break, but Britain was not to be denied.

Three stirring goals lifted Britain equal then one past Canada with just over two minutes remaining in the half. The score shone appealing light on the British. However, three Canadian goals in 77 seconds caught Britain unawares and the halftime score was 7-5 in favour of the North American team.

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