Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Gwangju, South Korea.— Montenegro and Serbia battled out to a 10-10 draw on the opening day of the FINA World Championship men's water polo tournament at the Nambu University Grounds in Gwangju.

It was the first match of the day and threw Group A open from the very start. This was followed by Greece beating host Korea 26-3 in a match attended by more than 2000 fans.

Group B began with United States of America beating Kazakhstan 16-7 with four USA players scoring three goals. Croatia made its intention of retaining its crown with a huge 14-4 victory over Australia. They finished second and third respectively at this year's World League Super Final and it was Ante Vukicevic who did the most damage with six goals.

In Group C, Spain ran over South Africa 23-3 with Blai Mallarach heading all scorers with five goals. In the second encounter Hungary blew the wind from Australia's sails with a 24-4 margin that could become important when it comes to deciding the group winner.

Group D provided plenty of action with Italy downing a new-look Brazil 14-5 in a match marred by the first-quarter ejection of Gonzalo Echenique for brutality. In the final match of the opening day for men, Germany levelled with four seconds remaining for 9-9 — the second draw of the day. Germany led for most of the match, but Japan took the lead twice in the last two quarters and looked set for the win until Germany struck back on extra-man attack four seconds from time.

The sad part of the draw for Germany was the loss of star player Marko Stamm — who scored three goals — for the rest of the tournament. He drove for goal in the final minute and connected with someone, breaking a bone in a foot.

Progress points:

Group A: Greece 2, Montenegro 1, Serbia 1, Korea 0.

Group B: Croatia 2, USA 2, Kazakhstan 0, Australia 0.

Group C: Hungary 2, Spain 2, New Zealand 0, South Africa 0.

Group D: Italy 2, Germany 1, Japan 1, Brazil 0.

Monday Schedule:

Match 1, 08:30, Group A, SERBIA 10 MONTENEGRO 10

Match 2, 9.50, Group A, KOREA 3 GREECE 26


Match 4, 12:30, Group B, CROATIA 14 AUSTRALIA 4

Match 5, 16:30, Group C, SOUTH AFRICA 3 SPAIN 23

Match 6 17:50, Group C, NEW ZEALAND 4 HUNGARY 24

Match 7, 19:10, Group D, BRAZIL 5 ITALY 14

Match 8, 20:30, Group D, GERMANY 9 JAPAN 9