© Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee


Russia and Greece battled to a thrilling 10-10 draw in Group A action at the FINA Junior Men’s World Championships. Greece led 6-4 at halftime and star Daniil Merkulov, who played for Russia in Budapest at the FINA World Championships, was red-carded before halftime. Konstantin Kharkov scored three of his four goals in teh second half with the go-ahead 10th goal for a 10-8 advantage. It was left to Charalampos Troulos to score the final two Greek goals in 38 seconds to secure the draw and keep Greece without a loss for the  week.

Source: Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

In the other Group A match, United States of America made it two from three in defeating Puerto Rico 18-7 with Tyler Abramson topping the scorers with six.

In Group D, Italy replaced Canada as the second best team with a 15-5 victory against the North Americans in the day's opener. Hungary stayed top with a third consecutive win following a rest day, defeating Egypt 22-5. World Championship silver medallist Kristian Manhercz and Kristof Szatmari top-scored with four a piece.

In Group B, Netherlands frustrated Japan in a close encounter, taking a one-goal lead into the last period and finishing 14-12 ahead after Japan had levelled twice. Spain confirmed second place with a 17-12 margin over Montenegro after trailing by a goal at halftime and winning the third period 5-1. Alejandro Bustos and Alvaro Granados netted four goals each.

In Group C, Serbia turned it on for the home crowd with a 25-5 dissection of New Zealand, turning at 16-1.Nikola Radonjic was the best for the Serbs with five goals. Australia beat Argentina 14-5 and also remains unbeaten, heading for Wednesday's clash with Serbia for the group win.

Progress points:
Group A: Greece 7, USA 4, Russia 3, Iran 2, Puerto Rico 0.
Group B: Croatia 6, Spain 6, Montenegro 2, Netherlands 2, Japan 0.
Group C: Serbia 6, Australia 6, China 2, Argentina 2, New Zealand 0.
Group D: Hungary 6, Italy 4, Canada 4, Egypt 2, South Africa 0.


Group D, ITALY 15 CANADA 5
Quarters: 5-1, 4-2, 2-1, 4-1
Referees: Jaume Teixido (ESP), Erwin Schapers (NED).
Penalties: Nil.
Extra Man: ITA: 5/11. CAN: 0/4.

ITALY: Gianmarco Nicosia, Mario Del Basso, Giacomo Cannella (4), Michele Mezzarobba (2), Mario Guidi (2), Duilio Puccio, Stefano Guerrato (1), Edoardo Campopiano (2), Antonia Maccioni (2), Eduardo Manzi (2), Federico Piombo, Ettore Novara, Francesco De Michelis. Head Coach Ferdinando Pesci.

CANADA: Samuel Reihar, Gareth Jones (1), Alexis Reiher (1), Felix Poliseno, Aleksa Gardijan, Benjamin, Lemay-Lavoie, Bogdan Djerkovic, Mark Spooner, Jeremie Blanchard, Aria Soleimanipak, Jeremie Cote (1), Reuel D’Souza (2), Aleksa Stanic. Head Coach: Nikola Maric.

Italy surpassed Canada in the group standings with a clinical display of team water polo, building on a strong opening quarter. Italy looked better all around the pool while Canada relied heavily on FINA World Championship player Reuel D’Souza. Italy made the most of extra-man attack while Canada could not convert. Besides the shot conversion, both teams were evenly matched in statistics, although the foul count heavily favoured Italy, giving it more chances on extra. Giacomo Cannella was the best for Italy with four goals.

Quarters: 5-1, 5-2, 5-2, 7-0
Referees: John Waldow (NZL), Liang Zhang (CHN).
Penalties: Nil.
Extra Man: HUN: 5/7. EGY: 0/5.

HUNGARY: Soma Vogel, Lorand Zerinvary (1), Denes Lukacs, Viktor Vadovics (2), Adam Nagy (3), Domonkos Selley-Rauscher (2), Kristof Szatmari (4), Erik Csacsovszky (1), Kristian Manhercz (4), Gergely Burian (3), Henrik Simon (2), Andras Teleki, Boldizsar Csiszar. Head Coach: Gyorgy Horkai.

EGYPT: Marwan Reda Hafez, Abdallah Abdelgawad, Marwan Hafez Yehia, Ahmed Elsapagh (2), Ezzeldin Sayed Sheweta, Karim Nabil (1), Seifeldeen Hesham (1), Mohamed Abubakr Eliwa, Ayman Badr, Youssef Saadeldin, Moustafa Essmat (1), Mohamed Hosny, Marwan Yehia. Head Coach: Ashraf Mahmoud.

Hungary made it three from three with a second large-margin victory. Egypt could not maintain its resistance and gave up seven goals in the final quarter to blow out the score. World Championship silver medallist Kristian Manhercz and Kristof Szatmari led the way with four goals each. Hungary took 14 more shots than Egypt and was by far superior on the extra-man count. Hungary scored five counter-attack goals and to Egypt’s credit, Egypt netted twice in this fashion. It was a case of greater experience and better field knowledge against a team without this level of play in its stable. Ahmed Elsapagh was the best of Egypt, lifting his tournament tally to three.

Quarters: 4-0, 4-3, 3-3, 7-1
Referees: Daniel Vazquez (MEX), Kazuzo Moribayashi (JPN).
Penalties: Nil.
Extra Man: USA: 5/7. PUR: 2/11.

USA: Alexander Wolf, Hannes Daube (2), Tyler Abramson (6), Ethan Wojciechowski, Quinten Osborne (2), Dylan Woodhead (1), Nicholas Bisconti (1), Jacob Ehrhardt, Jacob Cavano (2), Ashworth Molthen (2), Beck Jurasius, Johnathan Hooper (2), Samuel Murphy. Head Coach: Gavin Arroyo.

PUERTO RICO: Jorge Torres, Alec Martir, Angel Andino, Guillermo Ocasio, Misael Andino (2), Raymond Rodriguez, Diego Zayas (3), Gabriel Robles, Angel Rosado, Fabio Mujica, Jose Loubriel (2), Jafet Hernandez, Roberto Gordills. Head Coach: Jean Pierre Mujica.

United States of America is back on track after the loss to Greece on day three, using superior speed and skills. Tyler Abramson tripled his Belgrade total with six goals as USA blitzed Puerto Rico in the first quarter. Puerto Rico provided stiff opposition in the middle half of the match and one late consolation goal to Misael Andino, for his second, in the final quarter came as USA had wrapped up the match. USA had 14 more shots, was better on extra-man attack, scored six counter-attack goals to nil and made 18 steals compared to Puerto Rico’s six.

Group A, RUSSIA 10 GREECE 10 
Quarters: 1-2, 3-4, 3-2, 3-2
Referees: Ivan Rakovic (SRB), Josko Prancic (CRO).
Penalties: Nil.
Extra Man: RUS: 4/8. GRE: 3/11.

RUSSIA: Vladislav Chuvilev, Daniil Pronin, Ilya Shein, Roman Usov, Nikita Krug, Daniil Merkulov (1), Daniil Andreev (2), Oleg Kucherenko, Arslan Zakirov (3), Ivan Gusarov, Timur Shaikhutdinov, Konstantin Kharkov (4), Igor Chirkov. Head Coach: Dmitry Apanasenko.

GREECE: Emmanouil Zerdevas, Dimitrios Skoumpakis, Nikolaos Gardikas (1), Konstantinos Gkiouvetsis (2), Dimitrios Nikolaidis (1), Alexandros Papanastasiou (1), Grigorios Giannopoulos (1), Pavlos Mouratidis (1), Nikolaos Delagrammatikas, Charalampos Troulos (3), Iordais Masmanidis, Grigorios Kapetanakis, Polymeris Siordilis. Head Coach: Theodoros Lorantos.

A big crowd turned out for what was billed as a top match, which it definitely was. Greece put its stamp on the match with two goals, the first a centre=forward backhand from Dimitrios Nikolaidis and the second on extra. Russia replied twice and scored the go-ahead go at 3-2 through FINA World Championship Budapest player Daniil Merkulov from the top left. Greece came back to 3-3 and 4-4 and soon after Merkulov gained a red card and he left the pool protesting all the way.  Greece scored after a timeout and could have gone 6-4 ahead if Alexandros Papanastasiou had converted the penalty shot. Lucky for Greece, it attacked the goal in force late in the second quarter and had the shot blocked. Russia was relieved but failed to collect the loose ball and centre forward Pavlos Mouratidis snapped up the ball, turned and scored for 6-4. Konstantin Kharkov picked up his second and third with his big left arm on extra-man attacks and Roman Usov levelled at 7-7. Earlier Papanastasiou made amends with a lob from the top.

Greece took the lead into the final quarter when Nikolaos Gardikas took the shot from top right after the exclusion period, bouncing off the left post and just crossing the line. Arslan Zakirov completed an extra-man goal from the top left early in the fourth for 8-8. Daniil Andreev gave Russia the lead followed by another Kharkov strike from top left into the bottom right for 10-8 at 2:26 for his fourth. Greece replied via Charalampos Troulos on counter and the match went to the last minute at 10-9 for Russia. On the next Greek attack Troulos lobbed for 10-10. Russia did not shoot and Greece took a timeout at 0:06, but the resulting shot never came and it stayed a draw.

Quarters: 3-3, 4-4, 3-2, 4-3
Referees: Vladimir Golikov (RUS), Tamas Kovacs-Csatlos (HUN).
Penalties: NED: 2/3.
Extra Man: NED: 1/9. JPN: 6/14.

NETHERLANDS: Frank Aarts, Bilal Gbadamassi (3), Mika Smelt (3), Sam van den Burg (2), Tarik Scherrenburg, Niels Hofmeijer, Tim De Mey (3), Tom Geestman, Bram van den Bersselaar (2), Tom de Weerd (1), Guus Wolswinkel, Stan van Ruiten, Thijs Stroomberg. Head Coach: Jacob Spijker.

JAPAN: Yusuke Ogura, Kenta Kobayashi (2), Tomoya Ichimura, Haruki Koppu, Kiyomu Date (3), Toi Suzuki (3), Ryosuke Aizawa, Shogo Kageta (2), Koki Maita, Takanori Maeno, Takeru Ogawa, Yusuke Inaba (2), Towa Mishimura. Head Coach: Makihiro Motomiya.

What an exciting match this turned out to be! The first two quarters were inconclusive and the third gave the Dutch a minor edge. Then came the explosive final period when Japan levelled, went one down and then two down with less than three minutes remaining. Shogo Kageta pulled one back and then Bilal Gbadamassi netted his third for 14-12 at 0:57. The Dutch were resilient and held on, delivering the Japanese a chance on extra in the dying seconds, only for Kiyomu Date to hit the post when the goal beckoned. However, it was not important as Netherlands had a two-goal difference and secured its first victory of the championship. Japan has 33 goals and no wins to show for its hard work.