LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 11. THE third round of preliminary games within the European groups of the men's FINA Water Polo World League took place yesterday (three games) and on March 3, 2009 (one game) in four countries. As of now, the teams of Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia lead the rankings in their respective groups, while Greece, Italy, Spain and Germany are in runners-up positions. France, Romania and Russia meanwhile, have yet to secure a victory.
In Group 1 (composed of Serbia, Greece, France), Greece was defeated by Olympic bronze medallists Serbia by a score of 6-11 (2-3, 3-2, 0-3, 1-3). Scorers on the Serbian side were Udovicic (3), Pijetlovic (1), Nikic (1), Filipovic (2) and Prlainovic (4), while on the Greek side goals were had by Theodoropoulos (2), Afroudakis (1), Doskas (2) and Kolombos (1). The game took place in Piraeus (GRE).
In the Group 2 (Montenegro, Italy, Romania) game held on March 3, 2009, Montenegro beat Italy 8-6 (0-0, 1-2, 2-1, 3-5). Scorers on the Montenegro side were Vukcevic (1), Milan Janovic (1), Mladjan Janovic (1), Ivovic (3) and Radovic (2). Scoring for the Italian side was Giorgetti (1), Gallo (1), Felugo (1), Aicardi (2) and Fiorentini (1). The game was held in Trieste (ITA).
From Group 3 (Spain, Croatia, Russia, Germany) the winners once again were the 2007 World Champion team of Croatia over Spain with a score of 11-8 (2-2, 5-2, 3-0, 1-4). Croatian scorers were Buric (1), Boskovic (2), Dobud (2), Sukno (3), Barac (2), Hinic (1), and scoring for Spain was Sanz (1), Espanol (1), Valles (4) and Perrone (2). This match took place in Dubrovnik (CRO).
In the other game of Group 3, Russia was defeated by Germany 7-10 (3-1, 1-3, 2-3, 1-3). Scoring for Russia was Ryzhov-Alenichev (1), Antipov (1), Stepanuk (2) and Vishnyakov (3). On the German side, goals came from Real (1), Stamm (4), Politze (1), Gietz (1), Oeler (1) and Schlottebeck (2). This game was played in the city of Moscow (RUS).
The next World League games in the European groups will be held on March 31 (GER vs. ESP), April 14 (RUS vs. CRO) in Moscow, April 15: (ROU vs. ITA) in Oradea, and April 29 (FRA vs. SRB) in Aix-en-Provence.
Four teams from Europe will advance to the Super Final, which will be held in Podgorica (MNE) from June 16-21. The host team of Montenegro automatically advances.
Special thanks to FINA for contributing this report.