Montenegro is about to claim the top spot in Group A, while Russia is set to finish first in Group B as both sides won its respective clash against their strongest rivals.
GROUP B: CROATIA - RUSSIA
Croatia looked to be a sure winner at least twice in the highlighted match of Group B, once when they led 9-5 but then the Russians came back – then the Croats geared up once more and went 13-9 ahead late in the third period. But they fell into the same trap once more – only this time the Russians not only equalised but managed to take over the lead with a 0-5 rush and keep it till the end. Though a controversial call annulled the Croatian equaliser 18 seconds from time – a tie would have been enough for them to stay atop – but instead of lamenting on it the big question to be answered would sound like this: how came that they scored 13 goals in 22 minutes, and none in the last 10?
We are really happy to win such a difficult match against one of the best teams in the world. At the end of the third period we saw we played on equal level with them, we just felt we had a chance and prepared to do our best
GROUP A: GREECE - MONTENEGRO
In the other big game of the day Montenegro beat Greece with ease, thanks to a terrific start as they jumped to a 0-4 lead right in the first period. The Greeks could never really recover from the shock, the Montenegrin defence worked extremely well and held their rivals on a single goal in each period – also took revenge for their 7-12 defeat in the final at the World League European Qualifiers five weeks ago.
GROUP A: GEORGIA - BRAZIL
Georgia confirmed its rising status by adding a convincing win over Brazil which put them to the third place in the group – though after today’s happenings they may face Croatia in the quarters, not the Russians.
GROUP B: ROMANIA - GERMANY
Besides the favourites, the other teams were busy to secure their spots in the quarters, at least to have a shot to challenge the ‘big boys’. Romania claimed its first win here by joining the surprisingly wide circle of teams which could beat Germany here, though unlike in the previous matches they downed them in the second half.
It was a tough game but here all games are similar and you have to be ready every day. In a tournament like this the best is to have short memories: forget what happened in a given match immediately and be ready to go to the next one. It’s really important as you have ups and downs, but you need to be up to the next task. Yesterday we lost to the Netherlands but we reacted well and won today and that’s really satisfying
GROUP B: NETHERLANDS - FRANCE
In the last game France was dominating right from the beginning and seemed to be a sure bet after three periods as they led 9-5 against the Netherlands. Then came the astonishing closing quarter where the Dutch went wild and managed to equalise for 9-9.
The French weren't done though, they retook the lead twice, but the hosts had the proper replies – after France scored for 10-11 with 18 seconds remaining, the Dutch went for a 7 on 6 and netted a last-grasp goal once again, 2.8sec from time. Yesterday it earned them two points against Romania, now it meant a precious draw, which already secured them the third place. For the French, the knockout-phase will begin a day earlier as their last match against Romania is a live-or-die encounter.