FINA Media Committee Member Russell McKinnon

Gold Coast, Australia, April 26.— Japan had a sensational 5-1 final quarter to force a draw and a penalty shootout against host Australia on the second day of the men’s water polo FINA World League Intercontinental Tournament at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre today.

In the final match of the day, however, the shootout went the way of Australia 4-2 for a 13-11 victory.

In earlier matches, China beat New Zealand 9-7 after a tight encounter that blew out in the dying minutes and the United States of America collected a second victory in downing Kazakhstan 15-10.

Match Reports:

Match 4. 15.30, CHINA 9 NEW ZEALAND 7

Quarters: 2-2, 1-1, 2-3, 4-1

Referees: Voijin Putnikovic (SRB), Damir Temyrkhanov (KAZ)

Penalties: CHN: 1/1. NZL: 0/1.

Extra Man: CHN:  4/7. NZL: 3/5.


CHINA: Zhi Wei Liang, Cheng Hao Chu (2), Jia Hao Peng, De Ming Li, Zhong Xian Chen (1), Ze Kai Xie, Wen Hui Lu (3), Yi Min Chen (2), Ge Lin Zhu, Yu Liu (1), Yun Ji Wang, Xiang Fu, Lin Feng Li. Head Coach: Ling Yun Mao.

NEW ZEALAND: Sid Dymond, Matthew Lewis (2), Matthew Morris, Ryan Pike (1), Callum Maxwell, Matthew Small (1), Anton Sunde (2), Liam Paterson (1), Sean Bryant, Matthew Bryant, Jerome McGuinness, Sean Newcombe, Bae Fountain. Head Coach: Goran Sablic.


China, a shock 6-7 loser to Kazakhstan on day one after being 6-5 up with a minute remaining, was looking for a better performance today. While on day one it led and lost, today it rattled off a 4-1 final period to overcome a spirited New Zealand. There was nothing in the opening two quarters as the Kiwis asserted themselves against China, showing excellent defence. The bulwark of the team was goalkeeper Sid Dymond, who sparkled with his abundant saves, some on extra-man defence. While Dymond was at the cutting edge, his team-mates were gaining in confidence, although finishing at the other end was a little erratic. China was dominant in steals, but Dymond’s brilliance was so potent that China was second-guessing itself with the final execution. China started the better in the third period, scoring twice  — with a second to Yi Min Chen — but more importantly, goalkeeper Zhi Wei Liang blocked an Anton Sunde penalty shot when 5-3. Then the tide turned. Sunde made amends with a lob off the far post on the next attack at 2:10. Dymond by now was well into double figures on saves. On one save the ball went upfield and Ryan Pike converted the counter for 5-5 at 0:29. Then China had a player ejected and the Kiwis went to a timeout. The subsequent play led to a Mathew Lewis missile with less than a half second remaining and a 6-5 lead heading into the fourth period. Kiwi captain Matthew Small took his team to 7-5 on extra and China responded quickly with a drag bounce shot from Wen Hui Li. Matthew Bryant collected his third major foul and China took a timeout, gifting Li consecutive goals for 7-7 at 3:19. He nailed a third, also on extra, at 1:30 for China’s fourth lead of the match. A controversial penalty call meant China sealed the match at 0:51 through Zhong Xian Chen. New Zealand came into the match having lost to host Australia 18-3 in the Anzac Day clash on Tuesday so today’s showing was incredible by comparison, especially with nine players having their second internationals.

Flash quotes:

Ling Yun Mao (CHN) — Head Coach

"So happy with the win. Yesterday was no good, but today the first three quarters were no good, but the last quarter was good; we were able to get up and it was exciting. We have such young players and after our national games last week they were feeling a little tired. Hopefully we can keep winning our games." 

Goran Sablic (NZL) — Head Coach

“China is physically better prepared and deserved the win. We must learn to play 32 minutes, not 25. We must work harder and play more games. (goalkeeper) Dymond was excellent today. We were out of fuel. You can’t prepare on just two practices a week.”

Picture: McKinnon Media


Quarters: 6-4, 4-4, 2-1, 3-1

Referees: Daniel Flahive (AUS), Yosuke Kajiwara (JPN)

Penalties: USA:

Extra Man: USA:  10/15. KAZ: 2/6.


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Alexander Wolf, Nolan McConnell (1), Hannes Daube, Alexander Obert (3), Matthew De Trane (2), Johnathan Hooper (2), Maxwell Irving, Nicholas Carniglia (2), Jacob Ehrhardt (1), Ashworth Malthen, Alex Roelse, Marko Vavic (3), Zackery Rhodes. Head Coach: Dejan Udovicic.

KAZAKHSTAN: Madikhan Makhmetov, Yevgeniy Medvedev (1), Egor Berbelyuk (1), Roman Pilipenko, Miras Aubakirov (1), Alexey Shmider (2), Murat Shakenov (5), Yulian Verdesh, Altay Altayev, Bolat Turlykhanov, Ravil Manafov, Stanislav Shvedov, Valeriy Shlemov. Head Coach: Nemanja Knezevic.


USA is maturing more as a team and making combinations count. The best aspect of its game is extra-man attack where it was perfect in the first half with eight from eight. USA built on that effort in a dour second half for the victory. The first quarter caused a rush of the senses when the players went crazy, scoring 10 goals. Murat Shakenov, who scored three goals on Tuesday, scored all four of Kazakhstan’s goals in the opening quarter and added to his tally in the second. When USA took the score to 9-5 at 4:09 in the second quarter, it proved to be USA’s seventh extra-man goal from a staggering seven attempts. On the sixth, Shakenov picked up his second major foul, a huge concern for Kazakhstan. USA captain Alexander Obert converted his team’s eighth extra-man goal for 10-5. Kazakhstan hit back through Alexey Shmider, Miras Aubakirov and Shmider again — all from outside — for 10-8 in just 90 seconds. An amazing play in the last eight seconds after a timeout had the ball rifled to Shakenov at the side of the pool near the two-metre line, but even he couldn’t perform a miracle as most people thought. The third period was the complete opposite of the first two with the first goal not coming until 2:34, through Johnathan Hooper. Egor Berbelyuk narrowed it to two from deep left at 0:29 and the match was still running hot. Boiling point came in the last three seconds when Nicholas Carniglia claimed his second by swimming in and shooting — Kazakhstan thought it was his free throw. There were just three goals in the period after 18 in the first half. USA stayed on track for the final period, stretching the lead to five before Kazakhstan captain Yevgeniy Medvedev fired one in from the top. Hannes Daube netted for USA to close the scoring. On day one, USA upset the more experienced Japan 10-8 while Kazakhstan scored its 7-6 winning goal against China with 30 seconds remaining.

Flash quotes:

Dejan Udovicic (USA) — Head Coach

“This team was only picked before we came here. Every game is a huge experience for everyone. We have not started our summer preparation but I am pleased we have got energy, motivation. The young guys are showing courage. We have three players (born) 99 and two 2000 so there is potential for the future. I am pleased. We will be up and down but that is natural. We will continue to fight.”

Marko Vavic (USA) — Three goals

"We were pretty excited to get another second big game in after the win against Japan. It was pretty close, a little bit closer than we wanted it to be. We were a little bit sloppy in the beginning, but we managed to fix that towards the end. After yesterday we really wanted to push our counter-attack. Coach Dejan really stressed that we counter the other team, swim them up so they get tired towards to the end. I think we did that.”

Nemanja Knezevic (KAZ) — Head Coach

“There were a lot of goals and it was experience for my team. USA is USA and better than us in this tournament. OK, we lose. It came down to individual tactics. There were a lot of exclusions We only defended about 15 percent (on man-down defence) and score two from four for 50 percent. Our positional attack was very good and the goals were good for the public. Ten goals against USA is progress. We will now look to beat New Zealand and we can go to Moscow (Ruza for the Super Final).”

Picture: McKinnon Media

Match 6, 18:10, AUSTRALIA 13 JAPAN 11 in penalty shootout (FT: 9-9) Pens: 4-2

Quarters: 2-3, 3-0, 3-1, 1-5

Referees: Dragan Stampalija (CRO), Anlong Meng (CHN)

Penalties: AUS: 1/1. JPN: 1/1.

Extra Man: AUS: 2/3. JPN: 2/8.


AUSTRALIA: Ed Slade, Luke Pavillard (1), Tim Putt, Joe Kayes (5), Nathan Power (2), Andrew Ford (1), Jarrod Gilchrist (3), Rhys Holden, James Fannon, Lachlan Hollis, Nicholas Brooks (1), Anthony Hrysanthos. Head Coach: Elvis Fatovic.

JAPAN: Katsuyuki Tanamura, Seiya Adachi (3), Shuma Kawamoto, Mitsuaki Shiga (4), Takuma Yoshida (2), Atsuto Jida, Yusuke Shimizu, Mitsura Takata, Atsushi Arai, Kohei Inaba, Keigo Okawa (2), Kenta Araki, Tomoyoshi Fukushima. Head Coach: Yogi Omato.


Australia needed a penalty shootout to shrug off a relentless Japan who won the final quarter 5-1. Japan started quickly, racing to two goals before Australia called a timeout to sort out the problem. The chat worked and the Aussie Sharks settled somewhat, trailing 3-1 before hitting the quarter break at 3-2 behind. Jarrod Gilchrist scored from the penalty lien and captain Joe Kayes scored a helicopter backhand. Three separate players scored for the speedy Japanese. It was all Australia in the second quarter with two more Gilchrist goals. Kayes lifted the team to 6-3 at the start of the third with a swift 5m shot. Seiya Adachi, the opening scorer, netted his second from deep left, breaking the nearly 13-minute drought for 6-4. Power at centre forward and Kayes with a hammering shot from four metres closed the period at 8-4. Mitsuaki Shiga scored either side of a Kayes centre-forward lob for 9-6 at 3:51. Shiga showed his class a minute later from the deep right when heavily guarded he scored his fourth and narrowed the match to two. Gilchrist was ejected on his third major, but Japan could not convert, sending the shot off the right-hand post. Atsuto Ida was ejected and the Japanese coach gained a yellow card. The Sharks went to a timeout but could not score. Japan then did the unthinkable (for the Aussies) and scored twice through Keigo Okawa, firstly on penalty at 1:16 and on action at 0:16, forcing the penalty shootout. Australia shot first and both teams scored twice. Both then missed, Andrew Ford converted for 12-11 and Kohei Inaba hit the left post. Luke Pavillard netted to win the match at 13-11 and Australia had a second win, albeit in a shootout. Australia trounced New Zealand 18-3 on day one and Japan went down to Kazakhstan 6-7, giving up two goals inside the final minute.

Flash quotes:

Elvis Fatovic (AUS) — Head Coach

The result was good because coming in to the tournament we probably all thought Japan has the best team because they have the majority of their players from the Olympic Games. I can say that I am satisfied with three quarters of our game — I wasn't satisfied with the first few minutes and the last five minutes; the rest of the game we played really well in defence. What you want to play against them is to avoid the counter-attack because they are deadly and also when we can set up the game six on six we know we are a better team than them. For many of our players this was their first experience against a team that plays an unusual style and probably good experience for them. This is a great opportunity for our younger players because this is the chance to prove to us and themselves that they deserve to be on the team.”

Nathan Power (AUS) — Two goals

For three quarters we played a really good style, we played how we wanted to play and slowed the game down. We played six on six in attack and defence... OK towards the end of the game we did lose control and they had a very good quarter and last few minutes. But that's the experience this team needs. We are a new group together so to get experience like that (under pressure) it's going to be good for us moving forward, for goals we have for the World League Super Final and World Championships later this year. One of those things you need to reset your mind (heading into a penalty shootout). It's a matter of trying to take a deep breath, slow yourself down and reset yourself mentally.” 

Katsuyuki Tanamura (JPN) — Goalkeeper

“Earlier we couldn’t get the goals, then in the fourth we did. Their defence was dangerous. We have to make more opportunities. We are a young team and we have to get more experience before Tokyo (Olympics). We have to become stronger. It will be good experience for us. In the shootout I felt 50 percent good, 50 percent bad.”


Picture: McKinnon Media