2013 Junior Men’s World Championships: Day 2
August 15, 2013 Leave a comment
The match between the main favourites of the tournament, Hungary and Italy, ended in a draw – 10-all. The Italians were leading all the time often with 2-3 goals difference. The host nation managed to come back and level the score in the last seconds of the match. Both teams demonstrated excellent individual and collective skills. However, the Italians looked better most of the time. Perhaps, the ‘host nation’ status and local crowd’s support helped Hungary to avoid defeat and maintain a chance of winning the group stage which will be determined on goal difference after the next matches.
Serbia is clearly the strongest team in this group. However, they did not have it that easy with an enthusiastic Brazilian team fighting well against one of the tournament’s favourites for three quarters starting the fourth with respectable 5:5 score-line but eventually going down 11:5. These two teams are coming first and second after the preliminary rounds with Uzbekistan coming third having beaten South Africa today 9:8.
In a tough encounter the US team came back from behind to win an important match thus improving their chances to be in the contest for a top eight placing. The Americans came back from a two goals difference at half time by winning the last period with the score 5:2 and with it the match, 12:10.
The other two teams from this group are Russia and Spain drew 11-all. As an insider, I can say that neither the Russian coaches nor players were satisfied with the team’s performance today. Too many opportunities were wasted in attack due to technique-tactical inaccuracies whilst some poor defensive actions allowed way too many opportunities to the opposition, eleven of which the Spaniards have used. I am not sure if the Spaniards were as disappointed with the final result as the Russians. After all they achieved a draw having been behind most of the time. But they did show many instances of good quality ingenious water polo with good individual and collective actions.
The next match between Russia and the US will determine these two and the Spanish teams’ placing after the preliminary rounds. The third placed team is likely to meet Australia in a play-off game for the top eight position.
The main match in this group that was eagerly anticipated was between Croatia and Australia. On the eve of this WC these two teams participated in a tournament in which Croatia won with only one goal difference. Today’s game was a different affair in which the Europeans easily disposed of their opponents having won the opening quarter 5:0 and extending their lead to 11:3 in the fourth period to finish the match with a comfortable 11:5 score. The Croats dominated in all aspects of the game to win their group round thus making top eight and ensuring they would have a rest day prior to decisive quarter-final match on 15 August.