Gergely Csurka, FINA Media Committee

Iran and Saudi Arabia both claimed three triumphs in as many matches to finish atop in the respective groups. Iran managed to earn a big win over host Malta, scoring seven connecting goals after 4-4, while the Saudis soundly beat Austria.

Saudi Arabia secured its top spot in Group B with ease as they destroyed the Austrians after a balanced first period. The Europeans even took the lead but soon their young team started fading. The Saudis produced a 4-0 rush in the second, their attacks were sharp and well organised just as their defence: they were faster, tougher, let no space, breath, movement to their rivals. It’s demonstrated by the score-line: 2-3 after the first eight minutes, 10-1 in the remaining twenty-four.

It was Saudi Arabia all the way (pictured: Mohammed Gamal - white cap, scored 4 goals - and Ian Sommer)

The Austrians finally ended up in the second place despite of this this heavy defeat as three-way tie-breaking rule favoured them ahead of Peru. The Latin Americans had won a scoring festival against Singapore but fell one goal short of going higher in the ranks. Singapore sailed ahead in the first quarter and built a two-goal gap deep into the second period at 4-6 and 5-7 but the Peruvians equalised before the middle break (7-7). They took the lead soon but towards the end of the third the Singaporeans needed 52 second to pass them once more (9-10). Still, 14 seconds from time Grandez’s grand goal levelled the score again (10-10). Then in the fourth Peru began flying: they netted three goals in a span of 1:54 minutes and this whirlwind blew their rivals away. Rodrigo Rojas and Diego Villar were amazing, scoring 11 between them, Rojas had 6 (three he hit in the fourth period), contributing a lot to Peru’s fine victory.

In the other group Iran came up big against host Malta. After a balanced opening period the Persians started dominating: after 4-4 they simply rushed away. Scored two before the middle break, added three more in the third, jumping to a 4-9 lead before the last eight minutes. They netted a couple of really spectacular goals, fitting to any big tournament, not just among the developing nations. All in all, Iran staged a 0-7 rush, shutting out the hosts for 17:27 minutes – in fact, they managed to ‘switch off’ Malta’s scoring machine, Steve Camilleri who had 7 goals apiece in the first two matches but this evening he was held on zero. The locals’ next goal came deep into the fourth period, at 4-11, after that they netted a couple of more as a consolation but Iran’s performance was very convincing and a clear sign that they were the favourites to win this tournament.


 

A scene from the match between Tunisia and Uruguay (pictured: Pablo Brugnini and Nadhem Essaied)

Uruguay and Tunisia clashed for the third place in the group and to earn the first win here. The Latin Americans managed to achieve that thanks to a great spell in the second period. They scored three in 108 seconds, added one more before the middle break for a 2-6 lead as Santiago San Martin netted a couple of outstanding goals. The Tunisians recovered from the shock, though, they climbed back before the last period with three unanswered goals (5-6). But Uruguay didn’t run out from gunpowder either, they scored first in the fourth, from a 6 on 5, which gave them the psychological edge and Ramiro Garcia’s fantastic blast 54 seconds later extended the gap to three (5-8) and that proved to be decisive. Uruguay went on collecting the two points, leaving Tunisia the only side in the tourney without a win so far.

 

Results, Day 3

Game 9, 15.30 – Group B: Saudi Arabia v Austria 12-4

Quarters: 2-3, 4-0, 3-1, 3-0

Referees: Peter Balzan (MLT), Felipe Montagne (URU)

Scorers

Saudi Arabia: Gamal 4, Alhabri 2, Alhelal 2, Alzahrani, Olayan, Aldaughter, Alnefaiei

Austria: Celebic 2, Gratzl, Lukas

 

Game 10, 16.50 – Group A: Tunisia v Uruguay 7-9

Quarters: 2-2, 0-4, 3-0, 2-3

Referees: Andrey Korolev (AUT), Jeremy Cheng (SGP)

Scorers

Tunisia: Chouikha 3, Ferjani, Essaied, Ben Hajkhlifa

Uruguay: San Martin 3, Garcia 2, Brugnini, Canepa, Quieipo, Falco

 

Game 11, 18.10 – Group B: Peru v Singapore 15-12

Quarters: 4-5, 3-2, 3-3, 5-2

Referees: Ulrich Spiegel (GER), Mourad Jenhani (TUN)

Scorers

Peru: Villar 6, Rojas 5, Pastor 2, Grandez, Morales

Singapore: Chiam 4, Yee 2, Ong 2, Chow, Ang, Yu, Teo

 

Game 12, 19.30 – Group A: Malta v Iran 8-12

Quarters: 3-3, 1-3, 0-3, 4-3

Referees: Michiel Zwart (NED), Nestor Guerra (PER)

Scorers

Malta: J. Camilleri 2, Cousin 2, D. Zammit 2, Galea, Mizzi

Iran: Yazdankhah 4, Almasi 3, Khaledytabar 2, Rahbarjedi, Malak, Abbasi

 

Rankings

 

Group A

1., Iran 6, 2. Malta 4, 3. Uruguay 2, 4. Tunisia 0

 

Group B

1. Saudi Arabia 6, 2. Austria 2, 3. Peru 2, 4. Singapore 2

 

Quarter-finals:

15.30 Uruguay v Austria

16.50 Iran v Singapore

18.10 Tunisia v Saudi Arabia

19.30 Malta v Peru