BARCELONA, July 14. WATER polo giants Croatia and Hungary tied 7-7 and Germany upset Greece 9-7, as men's water polo got underway today at the World Championships in Barcelona.
In other action, Romania whomped Canada, 10-3; Serbia and Montenegro tied the USA, 5-5; Australia rolled over Japan, 10-2; Italy dismissed China, 15-4; Germany defeated Greece, 9-7; Russia out-fought Slovakia, 8-5;
and Spain beat Brazil, 10-3.
A quick summary of the games:
Romania 10, Canada 3
Romania applied the pressure from the start with some accurate shooting. Cosmin Radu, the powerful left-handed centre forward, scored twice for 3-1 at the quarter. Adrian Cretu was the sole scorer of the second period, from right-hand catch.
Radu scored a spectacular backhand from centre forward to go 5-1 up and Andrei Iosep converted on extra after a timeout. Thomas Marks scored on extra for Canada and Cretu goaled his second with a penalty over the head of Canadian goalkeeper Garrett Head for 7-2 at the break.
Radu scored his fourth in the final quarter as Romania stretched the margin to 10-3. Iosep gained a second while Canada's sole effort was via Nathaniel Miller, who drove down the left and bounced in a shot from five metres.
CANADA: Garrett Head, Andrey Shevstov, Dusan Lazarevic (1), Kevin Mitchell, Aaron Feltham, Adam Defett, David Allan, Vladimir Cosic, Thomas Marks (1), Noah Miller (1), Iain Lark, Nathaniel Miller, Michael Gordon. Coach: John Csikos.
ROMANIA: Robert Dinu, Cosmin Radu (4), Florin Musat (1), Florin Bonca, Andrei Iosep (2), Dragos Stoenescu, Adrian Cretu (2), Robert Fieresteanu, Ramses Jurawle, Ionut Angelescu, Nicolae Diaconu, Kalman Kabar, Edward Andrei Dina (1). Coach: Dragan Jovonovic.
Croatia 7, Hungary 7
The teams swapped early goals and then Tamas Kasas and Peter Biros scored extra-man goals for a 3-1 Hungarian first quarter lead.
Then Croatia stepped on the gas, unleashing three goals with a drive, lob and centre forward goal from Samir Barac, Teo Dogas and Mile Smodlaka. Gabor Kiss (HUN) and Ratko Stritof traded goals, giving Croatia a 5-4 lead.
The third quarter was no less exciting with Tamas Molnar drawing Hungary level with a centre-forward lob and Dogas (extra) and Kasas (extra) rounding out the period 6-6.
Dogas slammed in his third on extra at the start of the fourth. Hungary took a timeout and failed to score the power play but Kasas nailed a goal at 3:26 for 7-7. Croatia called a timeout at 1:01, without extra. Croatia lost the ball at centre, Gergely Kiss had his shot saved by Frano Vican in goal and on the next attack, Hungary stole the ball on the buzzer, finishing a 7-7 draw.
CROATIA: Frano Vican, Damir Buric, Goran Volarevic, Dubravko Simenc, Tihomil Vranjes, Ratko Stritof, Mile Smodlaka, Teo Dogas, Nikola Frankovic, Samir Barac, Igor Hinic, Elvis Fatovic, Vjekoslav Kobescak. Coach: Zoran Roje.
HUNGARY: Zoltan Szecsi, Tamas Varga, Norbert Madaras, Zsolt Varga, Tamas Kasas, Attila Vari, Gergely Kiss, Tibor Benedek, Rajmund Fodor, Istvan Gergely, Barnabas Steinmetz, Thomas Molnar, Peter Biros. Coach: Denes Kemeny.
Australia 10, Japan 2
Australia had the better of Japan with accurate shooting and more fluid team attacks. Australia had two goals in the first two minutes and later went 3-0 ahead when Toby Jenkins snared his second from centre forward.
Dean Semmens opened the second period from the top, followed by Jenkins on the drive for 5-0. Koji Tanaka scored Japan's first on extra and Thomas Whalan nailed his second with a bounce shot from outside for 6-1 at halftime.
Pietro Figlioli took a long pass from goalkeeper James Stanton, turned and scored in the third and Jenkins made it four with a tap in of a rebound for 8-1 going into the last.
Tanaka drove and lobbed Australia's new keeper Rafael Sterk to open the fourth. Sam McGregor and Tim Neesham took Australia out to 10-2 by 2:35.
AUSTRALIA: James Stanton, Ryan Moody, Trent Franklin, Pietro Figlioli (1), Dean Semmens (1), Toby Jenkins (4), Timothy Neesham (1), Samuel McGregor (1), Thomas Whalan (2), Gavin Woods, Aleksandr Osadchuk, Nathan Thomas, Rafael Sterk. Coach: Erkin Shagaev.
JAPAN: Masahiro Mizutani, Daisuke Nakagawa, Satoshi Nagata, Koji Kobayashi, Hiroyuki Matsubara, Hiroshi Hoshiai, Kan Aoyagi, Atsushi Naganuna, Taichi Sato, Kenichi Sato, Masakazu Yamamoto, Yoshinori Shiota, Koji Tanaka (2). Coach: Yoji Omoto.
Serbia & Montenegro 5, USA 5
In the battle of two heavy-shitters, it was a surprisingly free-flowing game in the first quarter with Serbia & Montenegro leading 3-2. Each team scored an outside shot from the top with the other three on extra.
The game was tighter in the second with one apiece, Predrag Jokic and the USA's Wolf Wigo scoring on extra.
The third went the USA's way with Jeff Powers emerging from smothering defence at two metres to send the ball over goalkeeper Nikola Kuljaca's head and Tony Azevedo sending his goal in on counter for 5-4. Serbia took a timeout and 20 seconds later Danilo Ikodinovic converted for 5-5.
The fourth didn't disappoint for action but the goals didn't eventuate. Both teams took a timeout on extra but the score didn't change.
Serbia & Montenegro 3-1-1-0—5
United States of America 2-1-2-0—5
SERBIA & MONTENEGRO: Nikola Kuljaca, Slobodan Nikic, Boris Zlokovic, Vanja Udovicic, Dejan Savic, Danilo Ikodinovic (2), Viktor Jelenic, Vladimir Gojkovic, Aleksandar Ciric, Aleksandar Sapic (1), Vladimir Vujasinovic (1), Predrag Jokic (1), Denis Sefik. Coach: Nenad Manojlovic.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Brandon Brooks, Wolf Wigo (2), Omar Amr, Jeff Powers (1), Adam Wright, Chris Segesman (1), Layne Beaubien, Tony Azevedo (1), Dan Klatt, Brett Ormsby, Jesse Smith, Genai Kerr, Ryan Bailey. Coach: Ratko Rudic.
Italy 15, China 4
The elation of Lijun Yu when he fired in the opening goal against Italy was electric. He saluted the sky after his brilliant shot less than a minute into the game. But the celebrations were short lived as the experienced Italian stallions pranced all over the pool, winning the first period 5-1 with five different scorers.
China scored on extra in the second quarter but Italy toyed with the Chinese, winning the quarter 4-1 and turning at 9-2.
Fabio Bencivenga and Francesco Postiglione (his third) helped themselves to more goals in the third period as Chinese stepped up defence and goalkeeper Weiqing Ge put in a fine effort. But the Calcaterra brothers, Roberto (1) and Alessandro (2), wreaked havoc in the fourth as China was rewarded for effort with two goals.
CHINA: Weiging Ge, Guanghao Xu, Zahn Wang, Lijun Yu (1), Qiuliang Liao, Baochang Huang, Wenhau Li (2), Yong Wang (1), Jinwen Zhao, Zhidong Han, Jun Li, Qi Xu, Yaqi Wang, Qu Xu, Yaqi Wang. Coach: Mingguang Li.
ITALY: Marco Gerini, Francesco Postiglione (3), Andrew Mangiante (1), Fabrizo Buonocore, Stefano Tempesti, Roberto Calcaterra (2), Goran Fiorentini (1), Alberto Angelini (1), Maurizio Felugo, Alessandro Calcaterra (2), Bogdan Rath (2), Carlo Silipo (1), Fabio Bencivenga (2). Coach: Paolo de Crescenzo
Germany 9, Greece 7
Germany grabbed the first upset of the tournament with a 9-7 score over Greece. The match started at Indianapolis pace as the "cars" raced around and around the pool, finishing 5-3 at the quarter. Marc Politze had the first two for Germany and Ioannis Thomakos scored two for Greece.
The speed could not last and the second quarter saw Politze cheer a large German support contingent with his third and Greece reply through Theodoros Chatzitheodorou for 6-4.
Greece was kept scoreless in the third and Politze swam up to the penalty line to score his fourth and Heiko Nossek lobbed on counter for 6-6.
It became worse in the fourth for Greece with two more goals for Germany and no cracks in the German defence. Thomas Schwertwitis scored a magnificent two-metre goal before Georgios Afroudakis converted an extra for 7-9.
GREECE: Georgios Reppas, Anastasios Schizas, Dimitrios Mazis, Konstantinos Loudis, Theodoros Chatzitheodorou (2), Argyrios Theodoropoulos, Christos Afroudakis, Theodoros Kalakonas, Georgios Afroudakis (2), Petre Stefanos Santa, Antonios Vlontakis (1), Nikolaos Deligiannis, Ioannis Thomakos (2). Coach: Alessandro Campagna.
GERMANY: Alexander Tchigir, Steffen Dierolf, Fabian Schroedter, Patrick Weissinger (1), Michael Zellmer, Marc Politze (4), Tim Wollthan (1), Thomas Schertwitis (2), Tobias Kreuzmann, Heiko Nossek (1), Timo Purschke, Soeren Mackeben, Jens Pohlmann. Coach: Hagen Stamm.
Georgios Reppas (GRE)
Russia 8, Slovakia 5
Slovakia didn't want any piece of Russia being world No 1. It matched Russia for much of the game, locking horns at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3 in the first quarter.
It was 4-4 in the second before Russia slipped ahead through Andrey Reketchinski two seconds from the hooter on extra. Sergey Garbouzov had Russia at 6-4 with an outside shot but Gejza Gyurcsy responded midway through the period in what was the last score of the period.
Roman Balashov converted on counter for 7-5 in Russia's favour and the game was slipping from Slovakia's grasp. Slovakia called a timeout but couldn't convert and Russia scored on the counter for 8-5 at 2:47. No matter how hard it tried, Slovakia could not breach the Russian wall.
RUSSIA: Nicolay Maksimov, Yury Iatsev, Alexander Fedorov, Nikolay Kozlov (1), Roman Balashov (1), Alexander Eryshov (1), Revaz Tchomakhidze (1), Dmitri Stratan (2), Dmitri Gorchkov, Marat Zakirov, Sergey Garbuzov (1), Irek Zinnourov, Andrey Reketchinski (1). Coach: Alexander Kabanov.
SLOVAKIA: Michal Gogola, Peter Nizny (1), Juraj Zatovic, Jozef Hrosik (1), Peter Veszelits (1), Robert Kaid, Karol Baco, Milan Cipov, Martin Mravik, Michal Gergely, Tomas Bruder (1), Gejza Gyurcsy (1), Michal Hruska. Coach: Ondrej Gajdac.
Spain 10, Brazil 3
Spain began its defense of the world title with a stimulating victory over Brazil. The gutsy Brazilians gave their all in the match and tested Spain for much of the first half and kept the locals honest for the rest of the game.
Gabriel Hernandez, the hero of the Fukuoka final, continued where he left off, scoring both his team's goals in the 2-1 opening quarter. Guillermo Molina scored two more in the second as Spain stretched to 4-2 at halftime.
Then Spain turned it on for the high-profile crowd with three excellent goals. Daniel Ballart and Salvador Gomez took identical shots at the top of the third and Javier Sanchez-Toril received a cross pass on 2m to score at the death of the period for a 7-2 lead. Molina scored a third from out top, Andre Raposo replied for Brazil and Ivan Moro drilled Spain's ninth and 10th goals, the second on extra at 0:58. Both teams had a timeout but no goals.
SPAIN: Jesus Rollan, Angel Luis Andreo, Sergi Pedrerol, Gustavo Marcos, Guillermo Molina (3), Xavier Garcia, Gabriel Hernandez (2), Ivan Moro (2), Daniel Ballart (1), Salvador Gomez (1), Ivan Perez, Javier Sanchez-Toril (1), Daniel Moro. Coach: Juan Jane.
BRAZIL: Andre Cordeiro, Vincente Henriques, Leandro Machado (1), Erik Seegerer, Felipe Perrone, Roberto Seabra, Gabriel Reis, Fabio Cihdiquimo, Yansel Galindo, Andre Raposo (1), Rodrigo Santos, Alexandre Lopez, Daniel Mameri (1). Coach: Carlos Carvalho.
(reports courtesy of FINA)