2012 Youth world championships impressions: semi-finals
December 9, 2012 2 Comments
Men’s semi-final matches:
AUSTRALIA 9 : 10 GREECE
It was a second match for Australia against a strong team in which the hosts showed that they can be a force to be reckoned with. The other was the match against Croatia on the first day of the tournament which the Ozzies lost 6 : 8. There were good instances of both individual skills and collective actions by the Australians, however some defensive mistakes prevented them from achieving a better score-lines in these games.
The subject game was an even affair finishing in a draw in regular time. Greece won in extra time to finish in the top six position and will be playing for fifth place against Romania.
Australia will be playing against the US team – who lost the previous encounter to Romania – for 7th placing. It promises to be an interesting game of principle as both nations aspire to be the leaders in world water polo beyond Europe. The top six positions at this world championships are taken by the teams from the ‘Old’ continent. From what I have seen so far, in my opinion, Australia has a better chance to win in this match.
USA 10 : 12 ROMANIA
After starting the tournament on a promising note having displayed good performance against the finalist of this world championships, Hungary, the US team failed to build on that momentum. In their subsequent matches against strong European nations they could not match their opponents either in skills or fitness levels. The Romanians on the other hand have been playing progressively better with each match and deservedly won to ensure at least sixth placing. Their match for 5th position against Greece promises to be an interesting one.
HUNGARY 9 : 8 SERBIA
CROATIA 9 : 10 ITALY
The finalists of the 2012 youth world championships are the teams of Hungary and Italy. Both teams have played the most exciting and entertaining brand of water polo having beaten in semi-final clashes the representatives of the Yugoslav water polo school. With no disrespect to Croatia and Serbia, it is a welcome outcome as, in my opinion, it is good for the game that a more ‘romantic’, spectacular and seemingly spontaneous way of playing prevailed over a strict and pragmatic and yes, skilful and successful, but somewhat boring and schematic display where everything is ‘checked and measured with a ruler’ that is typical for the Balkan teams.
Hungary and Italy did look better throughout the matches having lead most of the time. However, it is in the blood of their opponents to never give up and the Serbians and Croatians managed to catch up by the end of the matches ensuring exciting finishing of both semi-finals.
The gold medal match promises to be a very good display of fast skilful entertaining water polo that does have strict class but at the same time plenty of flair and elegance. The Bronze medal match will be as interesting as both teams play a similar style of water polo with the same approaches and philosophy. It is also going to be a match of principle due to the additional dimension that the encounters between these two nations bring in the period after the disintegration of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In any event it is going to be very good water polo.