© Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee


Host nation Serbia rattled off an 11-2 victory over previously unbeaten Australia to surge into the quarter-finals. It gains a rest day as the eighth finals take place on Thursday to see who will advance to the top eight. The other Group C match was between China and New Zealand with the Asian side finishing 11-7 ahead and taking third in the group.

Source: Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Group A was settled before the 40C heat arrived when Russia beat Iran 22-6 with Timur Shaikhutdinov beating the goalkeeper six times and United States of America sent off Iran 15-3. Hannes Daube scored five goals for the victor. With Greece having a rest day, USA slipped into second place with Russia third.

In Group B it was exasperation for Japan once more, losing to Montenegro 18-17 at the death after leading for much of the match and allowing the Europeans to score the last two goals inside the final four minutes.It means Japan is winless after scoring 50 goals and providing some of the most exciting water polo in Belgrade. Croatia wrapped up the group in the next match, defeating Netherlands 11-3, mainly with strong first and third periods.

Group C was won by Hungary, defeating Canada 17-6 after leading 10-0 at halftime. There were 14 scorers in the match as Canada claimed third place and stays in the top group while Hungary has a day's rest in preparation for the quarter-finals. Italy took second place with a 21-3 win against South Africa in the final match of the day.

Final points:
Group A: Greece 7, USA 6, Russia 5, Iran 2, Puerto Rico 0.
Group B: Croatia 8, Spain 6, Montenegro 4, Netherlands 2, Japan 0.
Group C: Serbia 8, Australia 6, China 4, Argentina 2, New Zealand 0.
Group D: Hungary 8, Italy 6, Canada 4, Egypt 2, South Africa 0. 

Day 6 programme for classification:

Classification 13-20:
09:00, 4A IRI -5D RSA
10:20, 4B NED -5C NZL
11:40, 5A PUR -4D EGY
13:00, 5B JPN -4C ARG

Classification 1-12:
16:40, 2A USA -3D CAN
18:00, 2B ESP -3C CHN
9:20, 3A RUS -2D ITA
20:40, 3B MNE - 2C AUS 

Match reports

Quarters: 1-6, 2-6, 1-5, 2-5
Referees: Sinisa Matijasevic (MNE), Kazuzo Moribayashi (JPN)
Penalties: PUR: 1/1.
Extra Man: PUR: 3/5. RUS: 5/7.

PUERTO RICO: Jorge Torres, Alec Martir (1), Angel Andino, Guillermo Ocasio, Misael Andino (2), Raymond Rodriguez, Diego Zayas, Gabriel Robles (2), Angel Rosado, Fabio Mujica, Jose Loubriel (1), Jafet Hernandez, Roberto Gordills. Head Coach: Jean Pierre Mujica.

RUSSIA: Vladislav Chuvilev, Daniil Pronin, Ilya Shein (2), Roman Usov (1), Nikita Krug (1), Daniil Merkulov (4), Daniil Andreev (1), Oleg Kucherenko, Arslan Zakirov (5), Ivan Gusarov, Timur Shaikhutdinov (6), Konstantin Kharkov (2), Igor Chirkov. Head Coach: Dmitry Apanasenko.

Russia was too powerful for Puerto Rico, who remains winless at Belgrade. Russia moves into second place, but will more than likely finish third by the end of the day. Russia has the team to go all the way so this type of match proves excellent preparation for the next stage. Timur Shaikhutdinov improved his scoring total to eight in a match where Russia’s counter-attack gained three goals and 14 steals compared to Puerto’s five. Both teams were efficient on extra-man plays. Puerto Rico now goes to its main championship in the bottom four and Russia will probably play Italy in the eighth-final round on Thursday.

Match 34, 10:20, Group A, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 15 IRAN 3
Quarters: 4-1, 4-2, 5-0, 2-0
Referees: Erwin Schapers (NED), Ammar Saleh (EGY).
Penalties: USA: 1/1.
Extra Man: USA: 6/9. IRI: 1/8.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Alexander Wolf, Hannes Daube (5), Tyler Abramson (2), Ethan Wojciechowski, Quinten Osborne, Dylan Woodhead, Nicholas Bisconti (1), Jacob Ehrhardt (2), Jacob Cavano (2), Ashworth Molthen (2), Beck Jurasius, Johnathan Hooper (1), Samuel Murphy. Head Coach: Gavin Arroyo.

IRAN:  Shayan Ghasemi, Amir Parhoon, Alireza Pourang, Arshia Almasi, Mehdi Yazdankhan (1), Hosein Khaledi (1), Amir Rahbar, Sajad Saviz, Amir Heidari, Amin Ghavidel, Bardia Peiravani (1), Mehdi Barzegari, Arash Pourzargar. Head Coach: Vahid Rezaei.

United States of America took second place in the group with an even match, building as the match continued and denying Iran access to the goal in the second half.  Hannes Daube scored five goals to lift his total to nine, having scored in every match. Six extra-man goals by USA shows it does not want to waste time turning over the scoreboard. Iran limited USA’s potent counter-attack to two goals from five attempts. In total shots taken, USA had 31 to Iran’s 19.

Match 35, 11:40, Group B, JAPAN 17 MONTENEGRO 18
Quarters: 7-6, 6-3, 3-4, 1-5
Referees: Luca Bianco (ITA), Scott Voltz (USA).
Penalties: MNE: 1/1. MNE: 2/2.
Extra Man: JPN: 5/12. MNE: 4/8.

JAPAN: Yusuke Ogura, Kenta Kobayashi (1), Tomoya Ichimura (1), Haruki Koppu (1), Kiyomu Date (5), Toi Suzuki (3), Ryosuke Aizawa, Shogo Kageta, Koki Maita (1), Takanori Maeno, Takeru Ogawa (2), Yusuke Inaba (3), Towa Mishimura. Head Coach: Makihiro Motomiya.

MONTENEGRO: Peta Tesanovic, Dusan Matkovic, Branco Franeta (1), Nicolas Saveljic (2), Blazo Mitrovic (1), Bogdan Vujasevic (2), Aleksa Ukropina, Duro Radovic, Filip Gardasevic (1), Nikola Moskov (4), Vladan Spaic (5), Goran Grgurevic (2), Milija Mandic. Head Coach: Veljko Uskokovic.

Montenegro used its “get-out-of-jail” card in pulling victory from defeat with the final two goals to deny Japan a first victory in Belgrade. The Japanese have scored 50 goals, lost by nine goals to Spain, four goals to Croatia, two to the Netherlands and now one to Montenegro in what is probably the toughest group. Montenegro lost by three to Croatia, beat the Dutch by eight  and went down by five to Spain.

In what was a goal fest. Japan was darting all over the pool and moving the ball so quickly it caught out the Montenegrin defence, especially with the last pass into the deep-left wing. Montenegro used strength and size and the occasional lob to try and keep up. It was level at six and seven and 6-5 was the last time Montenegro had the lead until 2:39 in the last quarter. Montenegro twice could have extended the lead with a centre-forward shot lacking force and a counter-attack attempt stopped by goalkeeper Yusuke Ogura. Japan had the last, and hopefully equalising shot, only for it to be defended. Captain Vladan Spaic led Montenegro by example with five goals and Nikola Moskov dropped in with four. No greater goal was scored than that by Yusuke Inaba, who mesmerised the defence, holding the ball for five seconds, turning and twisting his body before scoring from two metres with two defenders trying to stop him. It was the go-ahead goal that lifted his team from 7-7to 11-7 in just three minutes. Japan should now dominate the 13-20-classification competition while Montenegro will play the winner of the Croatia-Australia match.

Match 36. 13:00, Group B, NETHERLANDS 3 CROATIA 11 
Quarters: 1-4, 0-1, 1-4, 1-2
Referees: Konstantinos Kyranis (GRE), Daniel Vazquez (MEX).
Penalties: Nil.
Extra Man: NED: 2/8. CRO: 7/9.

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

CROATIA: Fran Cubranic, Antonio Duzevic, Ivan Domagoj Zovic (1), Jacob Mercep (3), Zvonimir Butic (1), Marin Dasic (1), Duje Pejkovic (1), Nikola Pavlicevic (1), Franko Lazic (2), Rino Buric, Matias Biljaka (1), Lovro Paparic, Luka Podrug. Head Coach: Nikica Gulin.

Croatia sealed the group victory and earned a day off on Thursday with a well-crafted, if not easy, win over a heavily supported Netherlands. Croatia asserted itself in the first quarter and had to work hard to stave persistent Dutch attacks in the second. Croatia maintained its impetus in the third and did enough in the fourth to warrant victory and its No 1 ranking. Three of those goals came from counter, but it was on extra that Croatia excelled with seven from nine, the best of the championship. Jacob Mercep scored his first three goals in Belgrade. Croatia used both goalkeepers and Fran Cubranic stopped 11 from 12 attempts before handing over to Luka Podrug, who dragged down five from seven. Netherlands’ Frank Aarts made eight saves. Netherlands, as the fourth-ranked team in the group, goes to the round 13-20. 

Match 38, 16:40, Group C, NEW ZEALAND 7 CHINA 11 
Quarters: 2-3, 1-2, 2-4, 2-2
Referees: Viktor Salnichenko (KAZ), Martin Murray (CAN).
Penalties: NZL: 1/1. CHN: 1/1.
Extra Man: NZL: 1/8. CHN: 7/15.

NEW ZEALAND: Joshua De Reeper, Billy Simpson (2), Matija Jancic. Daniel Cameron, Hamish Booker, Liam Paterson, James Catlin, Adam Milne (3), Rowan Brown, Mark Morris (2), Brandon Matthews, Michael Slessor-White, Eric Munro. Head Coach: Goran Sablic.

CHINA: JunJing Wang, BeiYu Wang (3), JinPeng Zhang, YuTian Wang (2), XingMeng He, RongKun Lie, Yi Lu (1), YingYi Gao (1), XuLiang Zhang (1), DingSong Shen (3), Chi Liao, Boren Shi, LinFeng Li. Head Coach: Jie Shen.

China needed just to win and New Zealand was looking for a win with a plus-eight advantage to make it through a three-way tie to the leading group. It was not to be , even though it was close early on. China had the better finishing and steadily grew the score to be a healthy 9-5 ahead at the final break. With the merciless BeiYi Wang at centre forward, New Zealand struggled. Wang scored three goals and looked awesome in two metres. DingSong Chen was another to impress as the go-to man on extra-man attack, scoring all three in this manner. China took third in the group and improving results will assist in the coming days. New Zealand will look for a result in the 13-20 group.