LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 17. AFTER the fifth (out of six) round of the European groups of the 2010 FINA Men's Water Polo World League on March 16, Croatia and Serbia are the only teams that assured their qualification for the Super Final of the competition, taking place between July 13-18 in Nis (SRB). The remaining two spots for Europe will be contested by Spain, Italy, Romania and Montenegro, with, for now, an advantage for the Spaniards and the Italians.
In Group A, Italy got his fifth consecutive success, with a comfortable win over France by 11-5 in Florence. Montenegro was also better than Germany, with a home triumph in Igalo by 7-5. Italy and Montenegro will now meet for the last round of the group and the outcome of this match will determine the team advancing to the Super Final – at home, Italy had beaten Montenegro by a tangential margin of 8-7.
In Group B, things are already decided, with Croatia securing its "ticket" to Nis next July. In the fifth round, the Croatians went to Kirishi and defeated local Russia by 12-7, and took advantage of the loss of Greece (6-7) in Skopje, against FYR Macedonia. With this outcome, the Hellenic squad ruined its chances to contest the Super Final, so the last game between Croatia and Greece will have no impact in the final ranking of the group.
In Group C, Serbia, as organizer of the Super Final, was automatically qualified, but did not need this advantage to already assure the first place of the group, with a fifth success, this time against Romania (18-5, in Belgrade). As this group qualifies two teams, Spain and Romania can still join Serbia in Nis. The Iberians easily defeated Turkey by 14-6, but will have to wait for the last encounters of the group (ESP-SRB and ROU-TUR) to get their qualification.
Provisional rankings (after 5 rounds):
GROUP A: 1. ITA, 15 pts (5 wins); 2. MNE, 12 (4W, 1 loss); 3. GER, 3 (1W, 4L); 4. FRA, 0 (5L)
GROUP B: 1. CRO, 13 pts (4W,1L); 2. GRE, 8 (3W,2L); 3. RUS, 6 (2W,3L); 4. MKD, 3 (1W,4L)
GROUP C: 1. SRB, 15 pts (5W); 2. ESP, 9 (3W, 2L); 3. ROU, 6 (2W, 3L); 4. TUR, 0 (5L)
Final round (April 20, 2010):
Group A: MNE-ITA & FRA-GER
Group B: RUS-MKD & CRO-GRE
Group C: ESP-SRB & ROU-TUR
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