© Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee


Greece will play Croatia in the gold-medal final of the FINA Junior Men’s Water Polo World Championships. Croatia was first past the post in a drama-ridden clash with Hungary, winning 6-4 in the final few minutes in the inside pool. The night session was shifted because of the raging storm predicted earlier, arriving during the first of the four encounters. The match was interrupted by frequent red cards and multiple fouls with the four red cards challenging the number of goals for the highest total. Greece triumphed over host nation Serbia 9-8, even though Greece playmaker Alexandros Papanastasiou was ousted for violence in a match that saw just the two red cards.

It makes for enticing view on Sunday night with two complete teams, looking to eye off the gold medal and Croatia looking for the senior-junior double after the men’s team was victorious in Budapest two weeks ago.



Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee


In the classification 5-8 semifinals, Spain took Italy apart 12-8 after leading 10-4 midway through the third period. Eduardo Manzi scored three of his four goals in the final period to try and get Italy back into the match, to no avail. Fran Valera scored the final goal, his fourth. In the second semifinal, Montenegro broke away in the second quarter to go 9-6 ahead into the second half and on to a 12-10 victory.

In classification matches, Russia took ninth place thanks to a 14-7 result with Canada. Daniil Merkulov top-scored with four goals.

For positions 11-12, Australia ripped to an 8-1 halftime lead and finished 14-3 over China.

In earlier matches, Puerto Rico beat South Africa 14-9 for 19th; Argentina downed New Zealand 7-3 for 17th; Seifeldeen Hesham hammered in nine goals as Egypt beat Iran 16-8 to claim 15th position and Japan gained 13th place by beating Netherlands 15-6 after leading scorer Toi Suzuki was hospitalised with a suspected broken nose following a second-quarter incident.

Match schedule:

Match 59. 08:00, SOUTH AFRICA 9 PUERTO RICO 14
Classification 19-20
Match 60, 09:20, NEW ZEALAND 3 ARGENTINA 7
Classification 17-18
Match 61, 10:40, IRAN 8 EGYPT 16
Classification 15-16
Match 62. 12:00, NETHERLANDS 6 JAPAN 15
Classification 13-14
Match 63, 13:20, CHINA 3 AUSTRALIA 14
Classification 11-12
Match 64. 14:40, CANADA 7 RUSSIA 14
Classification 9-10
Match 65. 16:40, SPAIN 12 ITALY 8
Classification 5-8 Semifinal
Classification 5-8 Semifinal
Match 68. 20:40, CROATIA 6 HUNGARY 4
Classification 1-4 Semifinal
Match 67. 19:20, GREECE 9 SERBIA 8
Classification 1-4 Semifinal

Day 9 programme:

Match 69. 16:00, ITA-USA
Classification 7-8
Match 70. 17:20, ESP-MNE
Classification 5-6
Match 71. 18:40, SRB-HUN
Classification 3-4
Match 72. 20:00, GRE-CRO
Classification 1-2


Classification 19-20

Quarters: 1-2, 5-4, 2-4, 1-4
Referees: Ammar Saleh (EGY), Kazuzo Moribayashi (JPN)
Penalties: RSA: 0/1.
Extra Man: RSA: 0/3. PUR: 5/8.

SOUTH AFRICA: Keegan Clark, Michael Stewart, Miguel Morais, Cameron Laurenson, David Rom (2), Sven Van Zyl (1), Jason Evazard (1), Mika’eel Essa, Ethan Coryndon, Michael Brakspear (1), Liam Neil (4), Isma’eel Essa, Themba Mthembu. Head Coach: Jason Selino.

PUERTO RICO: Jorge Torres, Alec Martir (2), Angel Andino (1), Guillermo Ocasio (2), Misael Andino (1), Raymond Rodriguez, Diego Zayas (3), Gabriel Robles (2), Angel Rosado (1), Fabio Mujica, Jose Loubriel (1), Jafet Hernandez (2), Roberto Gordills. Head Coach: Jean Pierre Mujica.

Converting extra-man attack is everything in water polo and Puerto Rico proved the master in the play-off for 19th. The five goals converted was the difference in the match, which started at a great rate with goals coming on many of the attacks. Neither side had the advantage and the score was level at every number until eight at 5:31 in the third period. Jose Loubriel and Angel Rosado made it 10-8 by the end of the period. The 4-1 final quarter showed that Puerto Rico was there until the end. South Africa was without the services of Themba Mthembu, the star goalkeeper who had to withdraw from the match inside the final two minutes on Friday and seek medical attention, which included a visit to hospital for a pre-existing ailment. He took his place on the bench but did not enter the water. South Africa retains its last ranking from two years ago, but then there were only 18 teams. Puerto Rico was 13th in 2011, its last visit to these championships. Jason Evazard was South Africa’s top scorer with 12 goals. Puerto Rico’s best was Diego Zayas with three goals today and 12 for the championships.

Classification 17-18

Quarters: 1-0, 2-3, 0-2, 0-2
Referees: Sinisa Matijasevic (MNE), Tamas Kovacs-Csatlos (HUN).
Penalties: ARG: 4/4.
Extra Man: NZL: 1/11. ARG: 2/12.

NEW ZEALAND: Joshua De Reeper, Billy Simpson, Matija Jancic. Daniel Cameron, Hamish Booker (1), Liam Paterson, James Catlin (1), Rowan Brown, Adam Milne, Mark Morris (1), Brandon Matthews, Michael Slessor-White, Eric Munro. Head Coach: Goran Sablic.

ARGENTINA: Facundo Camps, Facundo Gonzalez, Tomas Pannitto, Tomas Alfonso Pozo, Felipe Alfonso, Franco Chinellato, Guido Martino, Guido Poggi (2), Carlos Camnasio (4), Nicolas Provenzano (1), Augusto Antunes Balbi, Tadeo Petrocelli, Octavio Salas. Head Coach: Gabriel Ramirez.

Argentina had to come back from a scoreless first quarter and then win the next three periods to secure 17th position. New Zealand looked the stronger team in the opening stanza and then seemed to self destruct, giving up four penalty goals and being unable to convert 10 chances on extra-man attack. Argentina played out the full match and pressured New Zealand into too many mistakes, especially when presented with scoring opportunities. Carlos Camnasio top-scored with four goals to take his Belgrade total to a team-high 17 and has been one of the standout players. New Zealand’s best was Matt Morris with nine goals and 18th position is one behind its last appearance at this level, in Long Beach, USA in 2007. Argentina was 15th at the same event and also its last visit to these championships.

Classification 15-16

Quarters: 1-5, 2-4, 2-4, 3-3
Referees: Mihail Balanescu (ROU), Josko Prancic (CRO).
Penalties: IRI: 1/1. EGY: 4/4.
Extra Man: IRI: 2/11. EGY: 3/15.

IRAN:  Shayan Ghasemi, Amir Parhoon (2), Alireza Pourang, Arshia Almasi, Mehdi Yazdankhan (3), Hosein Khaledi, Amir Rahbar (1), Sajad Saviz, Amir Heidari, Amin Ghavidel (1), Bardia Peiravani (1), Mehdi Barzegari, Arash Pourzargar. Head Coach: Vahid Rezaei.

EGYPT: Marwan Reda Hafez, Abdallah Abdelgawad, Marwan Hafez Yehia, Ahmed Elsapagh (1), Ezzeldin Sayed Sheweta, Karim Nabil (2), Seifeldeen Hesham (9), Mohamed Abubakr Eliwa (1), Ayman Badr, Youssef Saadeldin (1), Moustafa Essmat (2), Mohamed Hosny, Marwan Yehia. Head Coach: Ashraf Mahmoud.

Seifeldeen Hesham must have written himself into the record books with a magnificent nine goals, including three penalty strikes, as Egypt topped Iran everywhere in the pool. It gave Egypt 15th place, three positions below its effort in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2015. Hesham (pictured scoring one of his earlier goals) was smart in taking shots and flamboyant when needed. He took 16 shots and probably his best was his eighth where he sucked in a defender twice by turning him and then shooting while low in the water. He also passed off when necessary and did his share defending the back line, so he was an excellent team man. The effort sent him to the top of the current table for scorers, two clear of Hungary’s Krisztian Manhercz, who has two more matches to play. To Iran’s credit, it worked until the end and was rewarded with a tied period. The shots came from the top, one taking the right post. Egyptian centre forward Moustafa Essmat left the water in the third period to seek medical help for a cut under his left eye. A scorer of two goals, he sat on the bench nursing a huge lump under the eye with an ice pack. Both defences worked solidly and shut down most of the extra-man chances. Iran improved one position from the last championships. Mehdi Yazdankhan, scorer of three goals today, topped his team with 16.

Classification 13-14

Quarters: 3-2, 1-1, 2-7, 0-5
Referees: Daniel Bartels (AUS), Martin Murray (CAN).
Penalties: NED: 1/1. JPN: 1/1.
Extra Man: NED: 2/9. JPN: 4/9

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

JAPAN: Yusuke Ogura, Kenta Kobayashi (1), Tomoya Ichimura (1), Haruki Koppu (2), Kiyomu Date (4), Toi Suzuki (1), Ryosuke Aizawa (1), Shogo Kageta, Koki Maita, Takanori Maeno, Takeru Ogawa, Yusuke Inaba (5), Towa Mishimura. Head Coach: Makihiro Motomiya.

Japan took out 13th place, as it did two years ago, in a match marred by the injury of top scorer Toi Suzuki. He had one goal against his name for 22 championship scores when a suspected accidental knee struck him when on transition. With blood streaming from his possibly broken nose, he left the pool to seek medical help three minutes before halftime and was sent to hospital. This sparked mayhem in the pool with the Japanese coach visibly upset and accusations being made. Suzuki had scored in all seven matches, three times achieving four goals and was a sad loss to the team. However, at that stage Japan was trailing 3-2 and the injury seemed to spur the team to greater heights as the third period was won 7-2 and Japan shut out Netherlands in the fourth. Head coach Makihiro Motomiya left the coaching duties to his deputy and tended to the stricken player in the medical station. Netherlands dropped to 14th place from ninth in Almaty two years ago. Suzuki was joined by team-mate Kiyomu Date, who gained four goals today, on 22 goals. They combined to score 47 percent of the team’s goals. Yusuke Inaba threw in 17 goals meaning the three top players netted almost two thirds of the total of 107. Sam van den Burg was Netherlands’ leading scorer with 12 goals.

Classification 11-12

Quarters: 0-3, 1-5, 2-1, 0-5
Referees: Michael Baty (RSA), Daniel Vazquez (MEX).
Penalties: Nil.
Extra Man: CHN: 1/4. AUS: 3/3.

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

AUSTRALIA: Nicholas Porter, Samuel Nangle, Adam Hall, Nicholas Elphick (2), Timothy Putt, Nicholas Hallam (2), Hugh Anstey (1), Rhys Holden, Christian Kyriakou, Lachlan Vos (2), Charles Negus (3), Conor Wolohan (4), Damian Williams. Head Coach: Andrei Kovalenko.

Australia turned an 8-1halftime lead into an excellent finale after some up-and-down results in Belgrade. The victory was built on a clean-sheet first quarter and a 5-1 burst in the second. Australia controlled the back pool and found the space for open shots. China’s first goal came through BeiYi Wang with a five-metre score when left unattended. That goal started China’s scoring 51 seconds from halftime. Conor Wolohan’s 8-0 score came off a long swim down the right late in the second quarter. He scored Australia’s next goal a whopping seven minutes later, such was the Chinese pressure being exerted. China closed the third with successive goals, BeiYi Wang claiming his second. Lachlan Vos, Wolohan with his third, Nicholas Elphick on counter and then Wolohan from outside — for his fourth and sixth for the tournament made it 13-3. Nicholas Hallam scored a second goal from in front in the last half-minute to give Australia a 5-0 quarter and ultimate victory. Australia’s leading scorer was centre forward Tim Putt with 10 goals and China’s best was BeiYi Wang, also a two-metre man, with 16. It was a big drop for Australia, having finished in the top eight last time, albeit it eighth. For China, it was a rise of three placings.

Classification 9-10

Quarters: 1-5, 2-3, 0-5, 4-1
Referees: German Moller (ARG), Amir Sakabakhsh (IRI).
Penalties: Nil.
Extra Man: CAN: 1/3. RUS: 5/8.

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

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

Russia returned to the 20 & Under World Championship after being absent in 2015, finishing ninth, which was one place better than in Szombathely, Hungary in 2013.

Canada moved up from 14th two years ago and could not get into the game against a team that showed so much promise from that second-day, indoor match-up with USA on Sunday.

With the likes of Konstantin Kharkov having a lean day in the scoring department by his high standards and Daniil Merkulov in fine form, Russia had the game to defeat Canada easily. Merkulov relished the final day with a handful of goals, although he did take 11 shots, and was kept busy in centre defence, wrapping up his counterpart. Russia was much more confident on attack while Canada had the opportunities, then baulked at shooting and passed off instead. Canada was slow to pick up loose Russians in the early part yet improved as the match progressed.

Reul D’Souza, who made a big impact for the senior team in Budapest, scored the one goal to lift his tally to 13 for team best. Kharkov topped Russia’s scoring with 21 while Merkulov netted 19 and Arslan Zakirov 16.