Group Standings
Group A: Hungary 6, Croatia 4, Kazakhstan 4, Uzbekistan 2, Kuwait 0.
Group B: Greece 6, Netherlands 4, Australia 4, Brazil 2, Turkey 0.
Group C: Serbia 4, Italy 3, USA 1, New Zealand 0.
Group D: Montenegro 4, Spain 4, South Africa 0, Canada 0.

Group A

Photos courtesy of Sandic Photography

Hungary came through the most critical match of the group rounds, determining who would finish top, should they both have victories over the bottom-ranked teams on Monday. Hungary looked the more controlled team and had the better of shooting options. It never looked flustered and played within itself. Croatia was dejected after the match, knowing the uphill battle is to come and the prospect of a possibly tough cross-over match. Hungary went two up, closed the quarter at 3-1 with a penalty goal, stretched the margin to 6-3 at halftime and 8-3 at the final break. It was not as easy as it sounds as the 8-3 score came on extra-man attack at 5:53 of the third and the 8-4 goal did not come until 5:57 of the fourth, such was the defence of both teams. Similarly, the 9-4 score off a neat pass to centre forward, which caught the two defenders unaware, closed the match scoring at 4:26.

Match heroes
Viktor Gyapjas made 12 saves in goal for Hungary and was named player of the match.  Akos Nagy and Peter Szalai scored three each for Hungary while there were four different scorers for Croatia. Hungary may have been the winner, but Croatia was better on extra-man attack with four from nine. Hungary converted one from four. Hungary also shot only 24 times to Croatia’s 28, but the 36.5 and 14.3 per cent conversions said it all.

Kazakhstan claimed its second victory in Belgrade and lifted to third in the group, thanks to a six-from-eight extra-man count while blocking four from five. It made two more steals and 15 goalkeeper saves, but gave up two converted penalties. For the rest of the match, it was fairly even and the closeness was indicative by the way Uzbekistan kept coming back at Kazakhstan. However, the effort could not be sustained and the dying minutes of the third period and the fourth was where Kazakhstan pulled away. It was only 1-1 at the quarter-time break and was 2-2 in the second until Kazakhstan shot out to 6-3 by the turn. A six-metre, free-throw goal and a penalty strike brought it to 6-5 and then 7-6 and 8-7 by 1:24, closing in on the final break. Two quick goals to Kazakhstan had the third-quarter-break score at 10-7. A 3-0 final period consigned Uzbekistan to a second loss.

Match heroes
Alexandr Yeremin was named man of the match with his four goals from eight attempts. Shakhzod Turgunov was less economical, but crucial, for Uzbekistan with three from 14. He now has 11 goals for the week. There were only 17 other shots from his team.

Group B

Greece produced a master class in extra-man attacking and Australia was unlucky enough to be on the receiving end. The stats show there were 13 goals from 18 attempts — a huge figure that other teams have to be aware of. Greece might have missed five, but it makes for a valuable weapon in the arsenal. Australia managed two from five and had to work for its goals. Greece also missed two of three penalty attempts. Greece held a 6-2 quarter-time advantage, went to 10-4 at halftime and 15-5 by the final break, winning the last 4-3.

Match heroes
Anastasios Myrilos was the undoubted star with six goals, four on extra-man attack, all from the centre-forward position. The first came from the right-post position and his fourth with an aggressive two-metre strike. He took just nine shots. Surprisingly, it was the first time he made the scoresheet in Belgrade. Andreas Bitsakos claimed four goals, lifting his Belgrade tally to nine. For Australia, the only multi-scorer was Samuel McKenzie with two.

In a match where Netherlands shot twice as much as Brazil, the result was in no doubt. The Dutch fired 38 shots and Brazil 17, showing how good the Dutch defence was. Netherlands was stronger in many departments and the 4-2 quarter-time lead belied what was to come. The 7-2 goal came at 2:38 and it was two minutes into the third that Netherlands started its run to 11-4 by the final break and onwards to victory.

Match heroes
Lars Ten Broek slammed in six goals to go third equal on the scoring ladder with 11 goals. Three came from extra-man attacks, one from a penalty and another on counter as he took out the match award. Brazil’s best was Paulo De Oliviera with three for 10 in Belgrade. Netherlands converted seven from 10 on extra-man attack and Brazil only one from nine. The Dutch converted three from three on penalty, including two of the last three and Brazil one from one.