Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Gwangju, South Korea.— Hungary, Italy, Olympic champion Serbia and world champion Croatia have qualified for the quarterfinals of the FINA World Championship men's water polo tournament at the Nambu University Grounds in Gwangju.

Hungary became the first team through to the quarterfinals with a big 23-5 Group C win against South Africa with the African nation needing to keep Hungary under 20 goals if it was to progress to the top 12 at the expense of New Zealand on goal differential after they drew 8-8 two days earlier. This it did with two goals in the final quarter. Spain secured second rank with a 23-3 win over New Zealand. Alberto Barrosso (ESP) was in standout form with six goals from six attempts.

In Group D, Japan saw its 8-3 lead against Brazil whittled to 9-6 before surviving to win 11-9 with a last-minute goal sealing the deal. Italy had to come from behind in the last quarter to defeat Germany 8-7 with the winner coming from Michael Bodegas. Italy just needed a draw while Germany had to win to secure the group.

In Group A, Serbia raced to the quarterfinals with an emphatic 9-3 statement over Greece. Greece scored its third goal early in the second quarter and was kept out of the match until the end.

Group B finalised the round stages with United States of America fending off Australia all match, thanks to a 4-1 start. The Aussie Sharks levelled six times, but could make up for the earlier lapses. This gave USA second spot in the cross-overs and Australia third. Croatia went through as the best in group with a thunderous 21-5 win over Kazakhstan.

Final points:

Group A: Serbia 5, Montenegro 4, Greece 3, Korea 0.

Group B: Croatia 6, USA 4, Australia 2, Kazakhstan 0.

Group C: Hungary 6, Spain 4, South Africa 1, New Zealand 1.

Group D: Italy 6, Germany 3, Japan 3, Brazil 0.

Friday schedule:

Match 17, 08:30, Group A, SOUTH AFRICA 5 HUNGARY 23

Match 18, 9.50, Group A, NEW ZEALAND 3 SPAIN 23

Match 19, 11:10, Group B, BRAZIL 9 JAPAN 11

Match 20, 12:30, Group B, GERMANY 7 ITALY 8

Match 21, 16:30, Group C, SERBIA 9 GREECE 3

Match 22, 17:50, Group C, KOREA 6 MONTENEGRO 24

Match 23, 19:10, Group D, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 12 AUSTRALIA 11

Match 24, 20:30, Group D, CROATIA 21 KAZAKHSTAN 5 

Saturday women’s schedule:

Match 25, 10:30, SOUTH AFRICA KOREA

Match 26, 12:00, CUBA JAPAN

Match 27, 14:00, NETHERLANDS CANADA

Match 28, 15:30, NEW ZEALAND HUNGARY

Match 29, 17:00, GREECE CHINA

Match 30, 18:30, KAZAKHSTAN AUSTRALIA