© Marcel ter Bals

Montenegro secures Super Final berth - World League day 6 results

Montenegro are the third and last team to qualify for this year's World League Super Final in Dubai out of Europe. On the final day 6 of the preliminary round the 2013 World Championships runners-up took home a 8-10 victory from Germany which was needed to win group C and secure their spot in the Super Final. Last year's World League bronze medal winners saw a returned captain Nikola Janovic who previously had stated to make his return to the national team at the upcoming European Championships in Budapest next summer after having doubted whether to continue his international career after the 2013 World Championships silver medal but instead chose to help his team qualify for the Dubai tournament playing on Tuesday in Krefeld, Germany. His return contributed to the tough two-goal win after Germany led the game 4-3 at half-time, despite the older of the Janovic brothers, or actually both brothers, remained scoreless. A superior third quarter however turned things around as Montenegro took the lead and secured it in the final eight minutes. The Montenegrin centre forward caused particular trouble to the German defence as Sasa Misic and Filip Klikovac combined for 5 of the team's 10 goals. In Kragujevac, Serbia the home team stayed undefeated in group A beating Russia 14-7 in a solid performance by a relatively young squad. The team was able to simply create more on offence, especially in terms of exclusions while being lifted by shooting performances from Andrija Prlainovic, who played 200th cap for Serbia, Stefan Mitrovic (3 goals apiece) and left-hander Dusan Mandic.

Hungary vs. Croatia

The final must-score penalty shot attempt from Norbert Madaras was saved or deflected by Croatia's goalie Marko Bijac with the ball looking to float over the line. The young Jug Dubrovnik goalkeeper quickly turned and was right there to stop the ball on the goal line as Croatia returned the favour by this time beating Hungary after a penalty shootout 9-10 to close out the World League preliminary campaign this year. Hungary had topped Croatia 7-8 after penalties on day 3 in Zagreb.
Bijac demonstratively held the ball at the point where he had stopped it from floating over the line as Madaras, the judges and home crowd could see he was right. Despite protests from Hungary head coach Tibor Benedek the referees were not to doubt the outcome and called it quits.
The attractive game saw Marton Toth scoring the equalizer with less than a minute to play from the post on a well executed man-up as the game was tied 7-7 and despite some final regulation heroics remained that way until the final buzzer which ment penalties to determine a winner. Both goalies, showing off their skills all game long, dominated the series as a total of 7 penalty shot attempts were blocked or not converted otherwise. Goals by Daniel Angyal (8-7), Croatia's Petar Muslim (8-8), young team-mate Luka Bukic (8-9), Hungary's Norbert Hosnyanszky (9-9) and finally Croatia standout Maro Jokovic (9-10) created the final score. All heroics from Hungary goalkeeper Attila Decker in vain.

FINA Men's World League 2013-2014
Europe Preliminary Round

Day 6 fixtures and results

Tuesday 1 April:

Slovakia vs. Italy 13-14 (4-2, 3-5, 2-4, 4-3) - in Kosice (Slovakia)
Slovakia scorers: Lukáš Seman 4, Jozef Hrošík 3, Martin Kolárik 2, Tomáš Brúder, Marek Tkáč, Juraj Zaťovič, Martin Mravík.

Italy scorers: Alex Giorgetti 5, Matteo Aicardi 3, Fabio Baraldi 2, Stefano Luongo 2, Pietro Figlioli, Vicenzo Renzuto Iodice.

Tuesday 15 April:

Germany vs. Montenegro 8-10 (1-1, 3-2, 2-5, 2-2) - in Krefeld (Germany)
Germany scorers: Julian Real 3, Heiko Nossek 2, Paul Schueler, Jan Obschernikat, Dennis Eidner.

Montenegro scorers: Aleksandar Ivovic 3, Sasa Misic 3, Filip Klikovac 2, Drasko Brguljan, Darko Brguljan.

Photos by Marcel ter Bals.

Hungary vs. Croatia 9-10 after penalties 7-7 (2-3, 1-1, 2-2, 2-1) after regulation  - in Pecs (Hungary)
Hungary scorers: Marton vamos 3, Norbert Hosnyanszky 3, Daniel Angyal, Bence Batori, Marton Toth.

Croatia scorers: Maro Jokovic 4, Luka Bukic, Ivan Domagoj Zovic, Ivan Krapic, Petar Muslim, Luka Loncar, Ante Viskovic.

Serbia vs. Russia 14-7 (3-1, 4-2, 3-3, 4-1) - in Kragujevac (Serbia)
Serbia scorers: Andrija Prlainovic 3, Stefan Mitrovic 3, Dusan Mandic 2, Milo Cuk 2, Slobodan Nikic 2, Dusan Markovic, Filip Filipovic.

Russia scorers: Russia scorers: Konstantin Stepanyuk 2, Dmitrii Kholod 2, Artem Odintsov, Dmitry Antipov, Roman Shepelev.

Final standings:

Group A

1. Serbia* 4 - 12 pts
2. Russia 4 - 3
3. Romania 4 - 3

Group B

1. Hungary* 4 - 9 pts
2. Greece 4 - 5
3. Croatia 4 - 4

Group C

1. Montenegro* 6 - 15 pts
2. Italy 6 - 15
3. Slovakia 6 - 3
4. Germany 6 - 3

The World League’s Intercontinental Tournament for America, Asia, Africa and Oceania is scheduled in Shanghai (CHN) from 26 May-1 June, 2014 with the following teams:

Group A – Canada, Kazakhstan, Japan, Australia
Group B – China, Brazil, USA.

*qualified for men's World League Super Final.
Super Final tournament to be played 16-21 June in Dubai (UAE).

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