Thrilling Start to U.S. Men’s Olympic Water Polo Run

ATHENS, Greece, August 15. TONY Azevedo hit a buzzer-beater to lift Team USA Water Polo to a 7-6 victory in its opening Olympic match reports USA Waterpolo.

Think the U.S. men's Olympic team was fired up for its 2004 Olympic debut?

Take a look at the first half of its eventual 7-6 win over Croatia at the Olympic Aquatic Centre Indoor Pool on Sunday night in Athens. Team USA pitched a defensive shutout behind a determined stand from goalie Brandon Brooks (Honolulu, HI/UCLA/Los Angeles WPC), who was playing in his first-ever Olympic Games along with nine other members of Team USA.

Now look at the second half. Croatia battled back, but two-time Olympian Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/ Long Beach Shore) had the last word. Barely. But Azevedo's buzzer-beating bullet clearly tore its way to the back of the cage, and the United States had the crucial first win in its grueling Olympic schedule.

When Team USA last faced Croatia, it registered a 12-11 win in a penalty shootout to move into the championship game of the Belgrade Trophy tournament. Their Olympic matchup threatened a similar overtime decision until Azevedo notched his third goal of the game.

"We knew that Tony would take the last shot, we just didn't know if he would make it. You can plan for it, but you can't always expect a goal in that situation," U.S. coach Ratko Rudic said of Team USA's last strike.

Box Score

Croatia 0 0 2 4 – 6
Team USA 1 2 1 3 – 7

Individual Scoring
Croatia: Stritof 3, Barac 1, Frankovic 1, Fatovic 1
Team USA: Azevedo 3, Smith 2, Powers 1, Bailey 1

Goal Saves
Croatia: Vican 4
Team USA: Brooks 9

Schedule/Scores
Australia 14, Egypt 3
Russia 5, Kazakhstan 2
Hungary 6, Serbia and Montenegro 4
Spain 5, Italy 4
Germany 5, Greece 4

Group A Standings Win Loss Tie G.F. G.A. G.D. Points
Russia 1 0 0 5 2 +3 2
Hungary 1 0 0 6 4 +2 2
Team USA 1 0 0 7 6 +1 2
Croatia 0 1 0 6 7 -1 0
Serbia and Montenegro 0 1 0 4 6 -2 0
Kazakhstan 0 1 0 2 5 -3 0

Group B Standings Win Loss Tie G.F. G.A. G.D. Points
Australia 1 0 0 14 3 +11 2
Spain 1 0 0 5 4 +1 2
Germany 1 0 0 5 4 +1 2
Greece 0 1 0 4 5 -1 0
Italy 0 1 0 4 5 -1 0
Egypt 0 1 0 3 14 -11 0

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Author: Archive Team

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