WARNING: Don’t ever take on Canada in a penalty shootout! For the second day in a row, Canada won by shootout. Yesterday, Australia was the victim; today it was Argentina, winning 17-16 in sudden death penalty shootout. In the other two matches, Australia just managed to head off Brazil 10-9 and United States of America downed Colombia 21-8 on the third day of play at the FINA Men’s Water Polo World League Intercontinental Cup in Lima, Peru.
When the chips are down, Canada just needs a shootout
CANADA 17 ARGENTINA 16 IN SUDDEN DEATH PENALTY SHOOTOUT (FT: 9-9. PENS: 8-7)
For Canada, Jeremie Coté slammed in five goals — two from the shootout — and Reuel D’Souza did the same. During the regular time, he also scored two penalty goals, making it four today. Goalkeeper Milan Radenovic made seven saves in the match, the most important being the two in the shootout. For Argentina, Carlos Camnasio scored three vital goals with his equaliser at 9-9 the best, coming from a six-metre foul 3:49 from time. His next two came in the shootout.
Where do we start? The best for Canada was the start, leading 3-0 by two minutes into the second quarter. It turned Argentina’s way with three of the next four goals opening its account. By now Jeremie Coté had his three goals and Matthew Halajian and Reuel D’Souza (pictured below receiving his player-of-the-match award from TWPC Member Ken Kuroda) came to the party for 6-3. Then the biggest swing of the match came as Argentina used four different players to score for a 7-6 advantage to the South Americans. D’Souza dragged it level with a penalty shot into the bottom right. Ramiro Veich became his team’s first multiple scorer to wrest the lead back on extra-man attack just before the final break. Then it swung back to Canada with D’Souza off left-hand catch and Bogdan Djerkovic with a seemingly easy turn at two metres giving Canada the 9-8 lead. Carlos Camnasio drew a six-metre foul and scored for 9-9 at 3:49. In the final minutes, Canada took three shots and lost the ball once. Argentina took four shots, had the ball stolen once and made a bad pass, forcing the match into an inevitable shootout.
Stats don’t lie
The biggest statistic is scoring eight from nine in the penalty shootout. One red card — to an Argentinian assistant coach. Canada took 44 shots and Argentina 34. Canada managed just two from a staggering 17 on extra-man attack and Argentina three from 10. Canada made 11 blocks to Argentina’s 19, but Canada did better in the steals — 7/3, Argentina made four offensives and turned the ball over once more than Canada — 4/3.
Canada has had recent experience in shootouts and relished the opportunity today. Both teams had clean sheets in the initial round and then it restarted the rotation, both scoring twice. Then Justin Coté sent his ball skipping into the just-substituted goalkeeper’s face. Ramiro Veich then pushed the ball into the goalkeeper’s right hand. Aria Soleimanipak made sure of his attempt before Tomas Galimberti bounced his shot into the crossbar, gifting Canada the win. Both teams deserved to win, but Canada has the points on the board, albeit two short as shootout wins are only worth two points in World League where every match finds a winner. Argentina now goes to four points, adding to its victory over Colombia on day two.
USA sends off Colombia in second-half dominance
COLOMBIA 8 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 21
In a day of exciting matches, this encounter offered little to over-enthuse the spectator. The powerful USA unit shot to 6-2 at the first break, withstood a resurgence from Colombia for 11-6 at the long break and won the match in the third period, heading into the last quarter 17-8 up. A shut-out in the final quarter said it all.
Tyler Abramson and Evan Cain, newcomers to the international scene, top-scored with four each with Matt Farmer and Thomas Gruwell netting three apiece. For Colombia, captain Enzo Salinas scored three in the middle periods and Nelson Bejarano nailed Colombia’s first two goals.
USA had the better of the shooting with 34 to 23; stole 13 balls to seven and pressured Colombia into eight turnovers while conceding only one. The extra-man plays favoured Colombia percentage-wise — four from eight compared with six from 11 for USA.
It meant three straight wins for USA with Colombia yet to win a point, despite some solid play.
Aussie Sharks regain lead twice against resilient Brazil
BRAZIL 9 AUSTRALIA 10
After USA’s easy win over Colombia, this had us well and truly on the edge of our seats. A benign first quarter yielded one goal each. Brazil had the better of the opening stages of the second quarter, heading to 4-2, including Rafael Real’s seven-metre skip shot. It swung the Aussie Sharks’ way with Luke Pavillard scoring his second, co-captain Blake Edwards on counter and Charlie Negus with a penalty strike. The most spectacular goal of the match came a second from time when the ball was lobbed to centre forward Italo Vizacre, who scooped it into goal for 5-5. Brazil scored first from the penalty line to start the third period and Australia regained the advantage with four straight goals, Pavillard gaining his third with a six-metre missile. Brazil was not done and Vizacre rifled in a shot from the top on extra, eight seconds from time for 9-7 down. Three minutes into the final period, Real scored a six-metre goal. Both teams used timeouts to set up extra-man goals with Timothy Putt making it 10-8 and Real scoring his third for 10-9 at 1:32. Despite an extra-man play, Brazil could not breach the Aussie defence.
The best statistic for Australia was three points for the win. It took four less shots than Brazil — 27-31 — made 18 blocks to 10. Other statistics were even although Brazil’s three from six on extra-man attack was better than the Sharks’ four from 10.
USA 9, Australia 7, Canada 4, Argentina 4, Brazil 3, Colombia 0.
Argentina takes on unbeaten United States of America, Australia plays Colombia and Canada fronts Brazil.