Gergely Csurka, FINA Media Committee Member

The two semi finals brought tremendous excitements – and altogether 18 goals in regular time. The defences did a magnificent job and it was the goalkeepers who made the difference. Hungary’s Soma Vogel came up with an unbelievable saving percentage (82%) which was the key of the Magyars’ 5-3 win over Russia. In the other semis the Spaniards upset the Serbs, after finishing 5-5 in 32 minutes they won in the penalty shootout which saw their goalie, Miquel Linares catching the last two Serbian attempts. This means that Hungary and Spain will play for the gold medal on Sunday – it’s going to be huge as they already clashed in the prelims and finished 6-6.

Game 59, 10.00, for places 19-20: Peru vs. New Zealand 8-17
Quarters: 1-3, 2-5, 3-4, 2-5

Referees: El Shamy (EGY), Garibaldi (ARG)

PERU: Jefferson Pinedo, Nick Pizarro, Javier Chueca 1, Santiago Nunez 1, Gabriel Noriega, Rodrigo Gonzales, Eduardo Angulo, Piero Padro, Sebastian Morales, Diego Villar 4, Augusto Otero 2, Sebastian Dancourt, Sebastian Bravo. Head coach: Jose Luque Garcia.
NEW ZEALAND: Matthew Taylor, Lachlan Watson 1, Mathew Hansen 1, Tomati Harris 2, Cameron Hayes, Daniel Marsden 4, Jack Ross, Christopher Cormack 3, James McLean, Anton Sunde 4, Phillip Hargraves 1, Callum Lane 1, Denzel Njuelua. Head coach: Andrew Skora.

Peru: 3 for 10
New Zealand: 6 for 9

Peru: 1 for 1
New Zealand: –

For teams having less trainings than the top sides the last days of a tournament are always demanding: playing 6-7 games in 8 days is a real challenge for teenage boys. For instance, the Peruvians could hold on only until the middle of the second period this time: they came back from 0-3 to 3-4 but that burnt all their reserves. The New Zealanders went 3-8 up in four minutes, managed to score goals with 6 seconds from time both at the end of the second and third period and they won with ease, stopping at 17 goals.

Game 60, 11.30, for places 17-18: South Africa vs. Iran 8-9
Quarters: 2-4, 0-2, 3-1, 3-2

Referees: O’Brien (IRL), Bartels (AUS)

SOUTH AFRICA: Andy Durning, Wyatt Edwards 1, Dayne Jagger, Michael Brakspear 1, Paul Du Plessis, Nicholas Downes 1, Jason Evezard 3, Jordan Rumbelow 1, Kinon Haralambous 1, Luke Schoeling, Liam Neill, David Ron, Zubairi Cassiem. Head coach: Brad Rone.
IRAN: Hamed Karimi, Masoud Ahmadi 4, Amirhossein Raharjedi, Arshia Almasi, Amirhossen Kehany, Erfan Lashgari, Mohammadmahoi Heydari 2, Seyedsajjad Saviz, Shoel Rostamian 1, Mohammad Rasoul Feizabhaee, Hamidreza Moghaddam 1, Amin Ghavidelhajagha 1. Head coach: Lutzbernd Muller.

South Africa: 2 for 5
Iran: 3 for 5

South Africa: 0 for 1
Iran: 0 for 2

The Iranians made the game more exciting for themselves by missing two penalties in key moments. For most of the time they kept the encounter under control, while leading 2-4 they killed three South African 6 on 5s in a row and gained a 2-6 lead by the middle break. It could have been more, but there came the first missed penalty. A bit later, early in the third they still went 2-7 up but their rivals had a fine spell and scored three consecutive goals. The second penalty miss at the beginning of the fourth would have cost more but the Iranians could score from more difficult situations and that saved them. The South Africans also wasted a penalty and even though they netted two after being 6-9 down, the second came 16 seconds from time so they didn’t have any real chance to force the shootout.

Game 61, 13.00, for places 15-16: Argentina vs. Egypt 16-17 (after penalty)
Quarters: 2-3, 4-2, 1-5, 5-2 – penalties: 4-5

Referees: Shiosaki (JPN), Randall (RSA)

ARGENTINA: Lucas Cattarozzi, Agustin Jewerowicz, Augustin Gonzalez, Guido Martino 2, Felipe Alfonso, Augusto Rey 4, Franco Chinellato, Guido Roggi 2, Carlos Camnasio, 3 Tomas Manocchio, Augustun Villoria 1, Augustin Capriotti, Juan Sanz. Head coach: Federico Longas.
EGYPT: Ayman Mohemed, Omar Elhadidi 1, Aly Abdelaziz, Ahmed Abdelaal, Walid Essameldin 1, Hassan Haroun, Ahmed Abdelghaftar 4, Andrew Bekheet 2, Abdelrahman Ahmed, Omar Zaki, Ahmed Roshdi 4, Ahmed Sayed, Karim Rizk. Head coach: Aly Warda.

Argentina: 1 for 5
Egypt: 2 for 6

Argentina: –
Egypt: 1 for 1

Egypt won their second shootout in three days – it was a kind of consolation after they had blown the win in the regular time. It was a fine battle, Egypt led 2-3 after the first period but the Argentinians scored three straight goals in 70 seconds at the beginning of the second and led at half-time as well (6-5). The third saw something totally different, the Egyptians started to roll, netted four unanswered goals in 3:28 minutes and led with three before the final period (7-10). With 2:16 to go they were still 9-12 up, but the Argentinians produced an amazing finish and scored three goals in 52 seconds! Seems a bit unbelievable but it happened, the equaliser found the back of the net 17 seconds from time, so next came the penalties. And as it happened for a couple of times in this tournament, one miss – again right at the beginning – decided the outcome: Villoria couldn't score, the next nine attempts were all sent home securing Egypt’s win.

Game 62, 9.00, for places 13-14: Kazakhstan vs. Brazil 7-21
Quarters: 1-5, 1-5, 4-4, 1-7

Referees: Schlunz (GER), Dae Taghi (IRI)

KAZAKHSTAN: Alexandr Lopatkin, Stanislav Shvedov 1, Temirlan Myrzakhmet, Stanislav Savin, Miras Aubakirov 1, Sergey Bogomolov 1, Iliyas Shamshat, Egor Berbelyuk, Altay Altayev 2, Azat Bolatov, Alexey Rogalev, Nikita Prokhin 2, Vladislav Kolesnik. Head coach: Dmitry Khodzinskiy.
BRAZIL: Bernardo Oliveira, Pedro Stellet, Psanquevich William 1, Rafael Real 1, Roberto Freitas 1, Eduardo Wainberg, Lucas Pinto 1, Henrique Vasconcelos 1, Guilherme Gomes 7, Caio Pereira 4, Pedro Real 1, Wisricardo da Silva 4, Leonardo da Silva. Head coach: Angelo Coelho.

Kazakhstan: 0 for 3
Brazil: 6 for 7

Kazakhstan: 1 for 3
Brazil: 4 for 4

Brazil did a fine job in a game which saw unusually high number of penalties (7 altogether), credit to the South Americans that they converted all four they earned. The Kazakhs’ downhill slide started with a missed attempt early in the first at 0-2 – when they blew the second one it happened at 2-9, towards the end of the second period. By then the game was virtually over as the Brazilians outplayed them in all fields. The third brought a bit more balanced play but Brazil thrashed their rivals in the fourth, while Gomes enjoyed an exceptional day as he scored seven goals.

Game 63, 10.20, for places 11-12: Japan vs. USA 11-12 (after penalty)
Quarters: 2-1, 3-2, 2-3, 1-2 – penalties: 3-4

Referees: Uz (TUR), Brooks (NZL)

JAPAN: Kazuki Hashimoto, Miki Sato, Shu Hamada 3, Kohei Inaba 2, Shingo Ishiyama, Kazuki Omoto, Shotaro Yamada 1, Suguru Kabasawa 2, Yushi Miyazawa, Yuki Shimizu, Taichi Yamada, Kiyomu Date. Head coach: Takamitsu Nakashima.
USA: Alexander Wolf, Thomas Dunstan, Bryce Hoerman, Kent Inoue 3, Warren Snyder 1, David Kessler, Marco Stanchi 2, Nicholas Carniglia, Matthew Maier, Timothy Simenc, Nicholas Bisconti 2, Bennett Williams, Conrad Gordon. Head coach: Alex Rodriguez.

Japan: 1 for 5
USA: 1 for 9

Japan: 1 for 1
USA: –

Japan lost by a single goal twice in the previous two knockout games (against Turkey in the quarter final, then to Canada, both times in the last seconds) and now they had another bitter day after falling to USA in the shootout. They could have finished in the top six with some luck – instead they had to settle for the 12th place. The Japanese built a three-goal advantage in the second period (5-2), but the Americans came back strong in the fourth and trailed only 7-6 before the last period. With a couple of goals scored in 40 seconds they even took the lead but the Japanese managed to force the shootout. Still, the U.S. team prevailed as the Japanese missed the third and the fifth attempts while the Americans put away all of theirs.

Game 64, 11.40, for places 9-10: Canada vs. Australia 6-10
Quarters: 1-0, 2-2, 1-5, 2-3

Referees: Ivanovski (MNE), Dester (BRA)

CANADA: Liam Duncan, Evan Scoffield 2, Pavle Kotarac 1, Gaetan Patterson, Aleksa Gardijan, Paul Bucheff, Sever Topan 1, Sean Spooner 1, Jeremie Blanchard, Aria Soleimanipak, Bilel Talah 1, Giordano Marconato, Samuel Reiher. Head coach: Nikola Maric.
AUSTRALIA: Joshua Zekulich, Timothy Reeves, Kieran Mulcahy 2, Christopher Perrott 2, Luke Pavillard 2, James Smith, Angus Lambie, Rhys Holden, Alex Bogunovich, Lachlan Pethick 1, Mitchell Marsden 3, Keenan Marsden, Jack Bell. Head coach: Andrew Yanitsas.

Canada: 4 for 12
Australia: 5 for 8

Australia’s strong second half was too much for the Canadians: they had some fine spells, especially in the second period and went even 4-2 up early in the third but by the end of this period they were 4-7 down. These five straight goals sealed the Aussies’ victory: the Canadians pulled one back from their first attack in the fourth but two Australian hits in a span of 44 seconds for 5-9 proved to be decisive.

Game 65, 13.00, for places 5-8: Turkey vs. Croatia 8-5
Quarters: 1-0, 3-1, 2-2, 2-2

Referees: Putnikovic (SRB), Mackay (CAN)

TURKEY: Emirham Ozdemir, Engin Ege Colak 2, Yordan Yordanoglu, Atamer Albayrak, Safak Simsek, Anil Yaman, Davud Sutcuoglu, Atakan Destici 3, Kaan Baskaya, Sertan Gectan, Cemil Bahadir Ozbakis 3, Kaan Ozden Yildiz, Burak Banda. Head coach: Mehmet Alp Olcaytu.
CROATIA: Fran Cubranic, Rino Buric, Ivan Domagoj Zovic, Marko Buconic, Nikola Pavlicevic 1, Marin Dajic, Antonio Duzevic 1, Dario Rakovac, Marin Delic 1, Loren Fatovic 1, Domagoj Jajcinovic 1, Mislav Vrlic, Marin Sparada. Head coach: Jakta Buljan.

Turkey: 5 for 9
Croatia: 4 for 9

The result seems a bit shocking if we consider the usual power ranks in the senior field – but these are the youth Worlds so nothing can be taken granted. While the Turks recovered from the defeat against Hungary in the quarter final, the Croats seemed to still feel the pain after losing to Russia in a penalty shootout. They were not ready mentally and that took its toll: the Turks simply wanted this win more and they achieved it. The way the Croats started this match tells their part: they missed four straight 6 on 5s in the first eight minutes. The hosts were more focused and built a 4-1 lead by the middle break. The Croatians started to regroup themselves after falling further behind in the third (5-1) but after scoring two goals they couldn’t convert another man-up at 5-3 while Destic scored in the last seconds for 6-3. When the home side netted a fine action goal for 7-3 with 5:26 to go, the Croats were broken and didn’t have any real chance to come much closer.

Game 66, 16.00, for places 5-8: Montenegro vs. Italy 13-12
Quarters: 3-3, 4-2, 2-3, 4-4

Referees: Kun (HUN), Vasenin (RUS)

MONTENEGRO: Milos Konatar, Marko Konatar 2, Bogdan Durdic 2, Petar Cetkovic, Vlado Popadic, Stefan Pjesivac 3, Aleksa Ukropina 2, Janko Krivokrapic, Dimitrije Krijestorac 1, Danilo Adzic, Nikola Moskov 2, Nicolas Saveljic 1, Arsenije Stanovic. Head coach: Mirko Vicevic.
ITALY: Massimiliano Cicali, Giacomo Bannella 2, Christian Gandini 1, Nicolo Rocchi, Gaetano Baviera, Filippo Gavazzi 1, Emilio Caivavina 2, Eduardo Campopiano 3, Jacopo Alesiani 1, Mario Guidi, Biagio Borrelli 2, Gabriele Bassani, Fabio Viola. Head coach: Ferdinando Pesci.

Montenegro: 5 for 10
Italy: 2 for 11

Montenegro: –
Italy: 1 for 1

It was a brilliant encounter with amazing twists quarter by quarter. Italy had the better start and took a 1-3 lead but the Montenegrins hit back with a double in 49 seconds and had a great second period which saw them going 7-5 ahead. But the Italians came back strong in the third, scored three straight goals for 7-8 – however, another double from Montenegrins, this time netted in 54 seconds, gave them back the lead before the last eight minutes (9-8). The fourth produced the same scenario: in 1:42 minutes Italy hit three times for 9-11, but their lead disappeared again, this time Montenegro needed 27 seconds to level the score. With 3:12 to go they were ahead again (12-11), still, the Italians replied a minute later. However, their opponents had the last laugh, Durdic scored an action goal with 13 seconds remaining which won the match for Montenegro.

Game 67, 17.20, Semi Final: Hungary vs. Russia 5-3
Quarters: 0-1, 3-1, 1-0, 1-1

Referees: Radicevic (CRO), Zambrano (VEN)

HUNGARY: Soma Vogel, Viktor Vadovics 2, Kristof Szejf Kiss, Kristof Szatmari 1, Frank Pellei, Oliver Hornyak, Adam Nagy, Erik Csacsovszky, Krisztian Manhercz 2, Simon Vogel, Kristof Toth, Peter Lovas, Benedek Molnar. Head coach: Gyorgy Horkai.
RUSSIA: Vitaly Statsenko, Vladislav Zaytsev, Vasily Egorov 1, Daniil Merkulov 2, Vladimir Zaikin, Ivan Gusarov, Vladislav Egorov, Denis Kolbenov, Arsian Zahirov, Konstantin Kharkov, Adel Giniatov, Andrei Balakirev, Iurii Poliukov. Head coach: Vladimir Fedorin.

Hungary: 2 for 8
Russia: 0 for 7

Hungary: 1 for 1
Russia: –

It wasn’t a spectacular match for the public but the experts found the positives watching the teams’ outstanding work in defending. Especially the Hungarians did a tremendous job: they fell 0-2 behind early in the second but allowed a single goal for the Russians in the remaining 21:09 minutes. That was the key of their victory: they killed all 7 Russian 6 on 5s – their goalie, Soma Vogel produced an unbelievable 82% saving percentage by stopping 14 shots on 17 attempts. The Magyars weren’t too effective in front either, still, they turned the cards in the second (3-2), scored the third period’s lonely goal in the last minute from a penalty and even though the Russians pulled one back early in the fourth, Vidovics could net a rare man-up goal with 4:24 to go. The Russians had desperate attempts to come closer but Vogel blocked all incoming roads, sending the Hungarians to the final.

Game 68, 18.40, Semi Final: Spain vs. Serbia 9-8 (after penalty)
Quarters: 2-2, 0-2, 2-0, 1-1 – penalties: 4-3

Referees: Severo (ITA), Stankovich (USA)

SPAIN: Miquel Linares, Sergi Cabanas 1, Bruno Navajas, Marc Corbalan, Xavier Serra, Agusti Perilas, Borja Fenoy 1, Miquel Gasulla 1, Roger Tahull 2, Pol Barbena, Guillem Garcia, Alejandro Bustos, David Allon. Head coach: David Martin.
SERBIA: Alen Osmanovic, Aleksa Petrovski, Filip Jankovic, Filip Radojevic, Nebojsa Toholj 1, Ivan Gvozdanovic, Radomir Draskovic 1, Aleksandar Andrejevic, Nemanja Bakic, Marko Manojlovic 2, Ognjen Stojanovic 1, Borislav Jovanovic, Radoslav Filipovic. Head coach: Vladimir Vujasinovic.

Spain: 0 for 5
Serbia: 0 for 6

It was a tremendous battle with plenty of physical contacts but a bit surprisingly the Spanish could withstand the Serbs’ pressure and were on equal terms in all fields. In fact, the Spaniards jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Serbs quickly equalised, it took 44 seconds, still in the opening period. The second quarter saw only Serbian goals, Manojlovic scored twice, the latter one came with 9 seconds from time. The Spanish were fast to halt their ‘silence’ – it lasted 12:28 minutes – and soon it was tied again at 4-4. Both sides showed exceptional skills while defending, all 11 man-ups were denied in the match, for example. One always had the feeling that they couldn’t decide the outcome in 32 minutes – and that is exactly what happened: Toholj put the Serbs ahead once more but Tahull scored at the other end with 2:24 to go. The Spaniards had two more extras but couldn’t convert them so a shootout ensued. The Spanish missed the first one, the Serbs led 3-2 after three rounds but much to their horror, their last two shooters, Jankovic and Bakic couldn’t score while Garcia and Bustos buried their respective attempts, sending the Spaniards to the World Youth Championships final.