Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Belgrade, Serbia August 5.— Host Serbia started strongly on the first day of the FINA Junior Men’s World Water Polo Championships at Belgrade’s Sports Centre Milan Gale Muskatirovic today.

Four Serbian players scored four times — Nikola Lukic, Dorde Vucinic, Filip Radojevic and Nikola Radonjic — as Serbia ripped through Argentina 25-6 in the feature match of the day, coming after the 43C heat during the previous Group C match where Australia opened its account with a 4-0 first quarter and controlled China for a 14-4 win. Australian captain Rhys Holden nabbed four goals, three in the second quarter.   

In Group A, Greece and Russia had big victories and used full benches to whet the appetite for the later matches. Greece opened the championship with a 26-1 margin over Puerto Rico, pouring in 10 goals in the final quarter. Russia followed suit with a 13-0 first quarter against Iran, then took the foot off the accelerator and allowed Iran to play in calm waters before finishing off 19-2.

In Group B, Spain and Japan played an interesting match until halftime before Spain brought in the big guns and started firing volley after volley for a handsome 20-11 finish. Alvaro Granadas helped himself to six goals and Budapest 2017 centre-forward sensation Roger Tahull, netted five from nine attempts. Croatia, looking to emulate its senior men's team after winning gold in Budapest last weekend, turned a 5-4 halftime lead into a 9-6 three-quarter lead. Both teams shut up shop in the final quarter, leaving Croatia with a healthy three-goal advantage.

Group D completed the day's programme after the temperature had topped 43C in the early evening. Canada downed Egypt 11-7 in a match where Canada had to work until the end, especially after Egypt made a comeback to 7-5 early in the fourth period. Hungary swam over South Africa 26-2 with some strong, consistent periods. Kristian Manhercz, who had such a great senior tournament in Budapest, snapped in six goals.

Progress points:
Group A: Greece 2, Russia 2, Iran 0, Puerto Rico 0, USA -.
Group B: Spain 2, Croatia 2, Montenegro 0, Japan 0, Netherlands -.
Group C: Serbia 2, Australia 2, China 0 , Argentina 0, New Zealand -.
Group D: Hungary 2, Canada 2, Egypt 0, South Africa 0, Italy -.

Match Schedule:

Match 1. 09:00, Group A, GREECE 26 PUERTO RICO 1

Match 2, 10:20, Group A, RUSSIA 19 IRAN 2

Match 3, 11:40, Group B, SPAIN 20 JAPAN 11 

Match 4. 13:00, Group B, MONTENEGRO 6 CROATIA 9

Match 6, 16:40, Group C, AUSTRALIA 14 CHINA 4

Match 5. 18:00, Group C, ARGENTINA 6 SERBIA 25

Match 7. 19:40, Group D, EGYPT 7 CANADA 11

Match 8. 21:00, Group D, HUNGARY 26 SOUTH AFRICA 2

For full match statistics —