Spain top Montenegro, Serbia need turnaround to edge France

On day 4 of the World Leauge men's prelims in Europe which continued after the winter break it was Spain who struck back against Montenegro for their 2nd win in group B so far. In Sabadell, Barcelona the teams were well balanced in the first half before Spain walked away in the 3rd quarter. Led by 4 goals from Albert Español and 2 more by Guillermo Molina (pictured) the Gabriel Hernandez coached side held on in the final term for the 10-8 win. Elsewhere in group B defending champs Serbia needed another turnaround to overcome France. This time however it was done a bit earlier than on day 1 in Belgrade. France again performed well against the reigning world and European champions even leading 7-5 at half-time. Then the veteran on the Serbia squad, like they had done in the teams previous match-up, took over. In a 0-6 run in the 3rd quarter Serbia took command, led by Filip Filipovic (3 goals) and Andrija Prlainovic (4 goals) who guided their revised squad to a 10-15 victory to stay unbeaten after 4 rounds.

In other results Greece and Hungary each added a win in group A. Romania put up a decent fight at home in Bucharest but could not overcome Greece centre-forward Konstantinos Mourikis who went off for 4 goals while shooter Alexandros Gounas added 3 for the winners. Hungary won a high-scoring encounter with Georgia in Tbilisi 10-20. Young left-hander Gergö Zalanki took centre stage leading the charge with 6 goals for the Magyars who remain in 2nd place in the group.

Meanwhile in group C Croatia and Italy posted clear wins. Italy took control against Russia in Turin right in the first half as they led 5-2 at half-time. Despite the goal scoring of each team went up after the main break the Italians held on for the solid 14-9 triumph, led by Francisco di Fulvio's 5 goals. Croatia could not be endangered by Turkey in Ankara on Tuesday. The worlds runners-up rolled to a 3-16 win and saw Ivan Buljubasic, Petar Muslim and centre forward Ivan Krapic leading the scoring with 3 goals apiece.

Round 5 of the World League prelims will only be played on April 26 after a long break, partially due to the upcoming Olympic qualification tournament in Trieste.

FINA Men's World League
Europe Preliminary phase

Round 4 - Tuesday, February 16:

Georgia vs. Hungary 10-20 (1-2, 1-7, 4-5, 4-6) - in Tbilisi
Romania vs. Greece  6-9 (1-3, 2-3, 3-2, 0-1) - in Bucharest
Spain vs. Montenegro 10-8 (3-3, 2-2, 4-1, 1-2) - in Sabadell
France vs. Serbia 10-15 (3-2, 4-3, 0-6, 3-4) - in Strasbourg
Turkey vs. Croatia 3-16 (1-2, 0-3, 0-6, 2-5) - in Ankara
Italy vs. Russia 14-9 (3-1, 2-1, 4-4, 5-3) - in Turin

Current standings

Group A:

1. Greece 4-12 pts, 2. Hungary 4-9, 3. Romania 4-3, 4. Georgia 4-0.

Group B:
1. Serbia 4-12 pts, 2. Spain 4-6, 3. Montenegro 3-3, 4. France 3-0.

Group C:
1. Italy 4-12 pts, 2. Croatia 4-9, 3. Russia 4-3, 4. Turkey 4-0.

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