Montenegro was flying in the last two minutes against Croatia – and they just brought their great momentum over and used it during the entire match against the world champion Italians to win the first semi-final and book their spot in the Super Final with a commanding 14-10 win. The second semi was more balanced and even more entertaining as both Greece and Spain came up with some brilliant plays. The game never stopped thrilling those watching it, Spain kept coming back till the end but a fantastic shot 6 seconds from time sent Greece to the final here – and to the Super Final too. Serbia struggled a bit before sinking France to meet Hungary for the 5th place as the Magyars came back from 9-11 down against Croatia, staging an astonishing 4-0 rush in the last three minutes.
Montenegro made the almost impossible and came back from 8-10 against Croatia in the last two minutes. This time they didn’t need any of those miracles – though it was a kind of wonder how they demolished Italy in three periods. Gaining a 6-goal lead against the world champions is a great feat, the Montenegrins demolished their rivals’ defence, netted 4 in the first two periods apiece and added five in the third.
For a while the Italian defence tried to withstand the pressure but the Montenegrins demolished them in three periods - Photos: Istvan Derencsenyi
The second semi also ended in an upset as Greece managed to overcome Spain, the team which reached three grand finals in a row in the previous three seasons (2019 Worlds, 2018 and 2020 Europeans). Though Spain was in control in the first two periods, the Greeks enjoyed a brilliant spell in the third and a 3-0 rush gave them the edge for the rest of the game. Spain fought hard, came back from 7-9 and from 9-11 but the Greeks had the last laugh as Stylianos Argyropoulos' stylish 6m shot decided the game 6 seconds before the end. It means that Greece will face Montenegro in the final here – whatever the outcome will be, these two already booked their respective spots in the Super Final, while Italy and Spain, finalists in Gwangju 2019, faces off the last available berth in the bronze medal game.
Georgios Dervisis netted a couple of crucial goals for the Greeks
In the opening game of the day Serbia needed almost three periods to down France as the Olympic champions’ concentration level was somewhere deep down, in the negative range… Their head coach Dejan Savic’s address on an elevated voice-level reached its purpose as after standing 4-4 after two periods, they won the second half 6-2.
In the other match for the 5-8th places, Croatia seemed to have the game in hand against Hungary, just like they had done a day earlier in the QF against Montenegro as they led 9-11 with little more than 3 minutes remaining. But they blew it again, the hosts produced an amazing finish, netted four unanswered goals to set up a great final day showdown with their old foe Serbia.
Keep on eye on this 19 year-old rookie: Vendel Vigvari came up big with three goals – and he hopes that his mentor, the late legend Tibor Benedek watches him proudly from above