Day 5 Programme:
Classification 15-16
09.00 Match 31 Turkey-South Africa
Classification 13-14
10.30 Match 32 Japan-Serbia
Classification 9-12 Semifinals
12.00 Match 33 Uzbekistan-Croatia
13.30 Match 34 Kazakhstan Canada
Classification 1-8 Quarter-finals
16.00 Match 35 Hungary-Australia
17.30 Match 36 Greece-New Zealand
19.00 Match 37 Netherlands-Italy
20.30 Match 38 Spain-United States of America

Classification 1-12 Second Round

Photos courtesy of Sandic Photography

A five-goal burst in the third period made a huge difference to the complexion of this match as Italy moved from a 7-4 advantage to 12-4 in an effort to shake off the Uzbeks who were playing wonderful water polo. At 14-6, Kazakhstan struck back with a lob, a centre forward rebound and another from two metres. This was at a time that Uzbek goalkeeper Valeriya Konovalova — who has already scored twice this tournament — came up into the attacking zone five times. She shot twice to no effect, but her presence made it tough to defend and goals came from the ploy. However, it became unstuck twice — as it has before — when an Italian plucked the ball from the water and launched a missile to the far end, bouncing and then drifting into goal for 15-9. The 17-9 goal came from halfway as Konovalova was scrambling back to goal. The last two Italian goals were scored off counter inside the last minute. It was probably Uzbekistan’s best match, besides the win over Japan, and for Italy, there are questions to be answered despite its excellent extra-man attacks.

Match heroes
Marta Misiti was named best in water, scoring four goals from her four attempts while Morena Leone was the highest scorer with five and is the co-leading scorer with 17 in Belgrade. Uzbekistan’s Ulyana Umurzakova nailed four goals to lift her tournament tally to nine. Italy converted four from five on extra-man attack and Uzbekistan two from six.

What thjey said
Marta Misiti (ITA) — Player of the Match
It was a good game. We did not have a remarkable start, but as the game progressed, we managed to improve our play. The main ingredient in our recipe for the win is our swim capacity, which includes rapid movements and reactions.”
Aziza Azizov (UZB) — Goalkeeper
“This has been an exhausting game for our team, but we gave our best. Although there are several discrepancies, we do our best in order to rectify them.”

USA was all go and wanting to put the past behind it, which included the one-goal loss to Greece in group play. There was daylight between the two teams, USA going 6-0 and 11-0 up at the first two breaks. It was not until 4:18 in the third period that Kazakhstan made the scoring sheet with centre forward Yuliya Druzhinina turning her opponent and lobbing the goalkeeper. USA went to the final quarter 16-1 up and then 17-1 before giving up a penalty goal and a goal when a man down to close at 17-3.  

Match heroes
For the first time since the player-of-the-match awards were instituted, two players won the same award with the kudos going to the two USA goalkeepers — Christine Carpenter and Lauren Steele, who shared the duties. Jenna Flynn top-scored with five goals, boosting her tally to 16, and Darya Pochinok scored two from eight for Kazakhstan. In the extra-man stats, USA converted an excellent six from seven and Kazakhstan one from five.

What they said
Christine Carpenter (USA) and Lauren Steele (USA) – Players of the Match
“It is pretty awesome that both of us were able to get the Player of the game. We feel inspired for the quarter-finals. I think that this game was full of great defences, thanks to which we managed to block many attacks. We are excited for the upcoming game with Spain tomorrow.”

Australia came through a nail-biting encounter, putting itself into a position it need not have, especially after controlling the match for the first three quarters and even having a five-goal advantage at quarter time. That period was frantic with the score reading 8-3. There was still a 10-6 advantage at halftime, but that was trimmed to 12-9 at the final break. Croatia was like a terrier, improving with every match and this was the chance to get into the top eight. It converted counter to start the final period, took a timeout and scored from the top on extra-man attack for 12-11. Then a last-gasp, eight-metre lob from Jelena Butic secured the draw at 2:02. Both teams tried hard to break the deadlock, but it was not until 0:26 that Alexandra Nassar stood up at the left-hand-catch position to drill the ball cross cage for the winner. Croatia had a last chance when its long shot was tipped into the crossbar by goalkeeper Victoria Kininmonth, giving Australia the win and passage to the quarter-finals, where it will meet group winner Hungary. Croatia will play Uzbekistan for the right to make the seven-eight play-off. Australia was all confidence for most of the match and then second-guessed itself when a string of shots failed to make the goal. Croatia was buoyed by this and made the most of every opportunity.

Match heroes
Iva Rozic, with her five goals that kept Croatia alive in the match, was named best in pool. She now has 11 for the week. Australia’s best shooters were Nassar and Magali Ogg with three apiece. Croatia was excellent at both ends of the extra-man situations, converting five from 11 and defending seven of eight Aussie attempts.

What they said
Lulu Elliot (AUS) – Player
“We are really excited. Over the course of the week, we’ve been putting together performances that we weren’t exactly happy with. We were really positive heading into this game, and we think this has been our best performance, so we are really satisfied. The crowd was marvellous; we have received so much support from our families, who have travelled thousands of kilometres to come here and give us the power we need. We even got the support from those who are still in Australia, through the live stream, and knowing that so many people are with us is truly amazing.”
Elena Crnicki (CRO) — Player
“It was really difficult, but we are satisfied with our performance. Despite the non-remarkable start with the result 8-3, we managed to end the game with the score 13-12. We are not satisfied with the outcome, but we are proud of the fight we managed to put on. In the Croatian Cup and in the other championships, we have learned not to give up no matter what the circumstances are. This is applicable to every game our team plays.” 

It is not often that you win a match with seven minutes still on the clock, but that’s what New Zealand did against Canada. Canada had the 3-2 quarter-time lead and confidently strode to 6-4 by halftime. New Zealand went on counter to pull one back, but Canada was equal to the task and scored on extra-man attack with a lob shot from the right by Ella Cowan for 7-5 at 4:18 in the third period. That was the last time Canada would score. Gabrielle Doyle scored on extra-man at 0:55 and Holly Roberts moved left, accepted a cross pass and scored from point blank for 7-7 at 0:20. The news was worse for Canada at the start of the fourth period when Millie Quin, converted her second penalty goal for three in the match and equal top of the table with 17 in Belgrade. The final chance for Canada came with 13 seconds left when Ashley Ferguson had her shot blocked by goalkeeper Islay Martin-Hill on extra-man attack. Canada deserved more, but the Kiwis were determined and can be proud of a top-eight berth.

Match heroes
Quin took out the award, but it was a team effort with five different scorers. Katherine Featherstone scored three for Canada while scoring star Serena Browne was restricted to one goal from her seven attempts. In the extra-man count, New Zealand was two from six and Canada three from seven.

What they said
Agatha Weston (NZL) – Player
“Best game of my life! It’s such an honour that we were just down there and it’s insane and I can’t comprehend it. New Zealand haven’t been to the Youth Championships, let alone get top eight. I’m lost for words.”
Katherine Featherstone (CAN) – Player
“I think we put a lot of fight into the match, and I think we really did give it our all. We worked together really well as a team and I think from the first game that we’ve had at the tournament we’ve really progressed. And you can see that we’re starting to notice when our team-mates are open and I think that played a really big role in how we played today. I think there’s a lot of good games for us to come at this tournament still and I’m very excited."

Classification 13-16 Semifinals

Japan made its way to the play-off for 13th with a huge win over Turkey. It was a match in two parts for Japan, firstly winning the opening quarter 7-1, but losing the second 5-3. Secondly, the resurgence came in the third with a 5-1 score and then an eclipse of Turkey with a 9-2 final quarter. Turkey’s performance  to come back from 7-1 down was admirable, scoring four straight, coming from an extra-man play, a penalty goal a deep-left rebound and then a centre-forward backhand shot for 9-6. However, Japan stepped up and made sure of a big win. For Turkey, who scored a total of seven goals before today, it was an excellent outing and a sound preparation for the last match of the tournament against South Africa. Japan, came into the match with 24 goals and no win, so this was redemption, of sorts, and doubled its goal haul. It will take on host Serbia for 13th position.

Match heroes
Haru Yamamoto was best in pool with six goals from 10 attempts, while the rest of the Japanese field players all scored, including four goals to Shoka Fukuda. For Turkey, Duru Kaleagasi netted four from seven. On the extra-man plays, Japan fired in eight from 11 and Turkey two from eight.

What they said
Haru Yamamoto (JPN) – Player of the Match
I think we did really well. It’s an amazing experience and it’s just fun to play and participate with others. I am a little shocked (about the MVP award). I focused on our offence, so I believe that helped us a lot.”
Zeynep Cil (TUR) — Player
I think we made some mistakes, which affected our play. Although the opponent was strong, we tried to maintain their pace and do our best.”

SOUTH AFRICA 17 SERBIA 18 in sudden-death penalty shootout (FT:9-9. Pens 3-3. SD pens: 5-6)
South Africa came from two goals down to force a penalty shootout that lasted an incredibly agonising 24 shots to find out that Serbia will progress to the play-off for 13th position. On the first day when shootouts would be required, it came in the second match. Serbia held sway at 2-1 at the end of eight minutes, grabbed a late goal for 5-4 at halftime and maintained the one-goal advantage at the final break. At 9-7 on extra-man attack at 4:34, it looked like Serbia was going to hold out for the win. Then South African Kendell De Beer sent in a pair of goals from well outside at 4:06 and 1:01 to level the encounter. Serbia had a Jovana Radonjic six-metre shot go left and an extra-man attempt from Madison Haworth (RSA) was saved, sending the match to the five-metre line. Both teams missed twice in the 10-goal rotation, sending the match to sudden death shootout. Both missed their seventh attempts; the next nine went in and the final South African shot was saved. Serbia was through.

Match heroes
Tijana Lukic was named best player with six goals from a whopping 15 attempts. Jana Lujic sent in five more. De Beer was the highest score for South Africa with five goals, also from 15 attempts. Catherine Williamson netted four from four. On extra-man attack, Serbia was slightly better with six from 10 to South Africa’s five from 10.

What they said
Tijana Lukic (SRB) — Player of the Match
On if there was a bit of a tension in the last moments of the game? “Yes, definitely. It was a huge game for us and I am so happy that we won. But even so, the pressure was present.”
Masibonge Namba (RSA) — Team Leader
“It is not nice to lose in penalties, but I think both teams really played their hearts out. We capitalised on their mistakes; so did they on ours. It was fairly equal game, but we obviously wished that outcome was different. I believe our defence can be a bit better, as well as our communication. I think those our two things we need to work on.”