World Championship Water Polo: U.S. Men Fall to Italy, Miss Quarterfinals

Andrea Fondelli of Italy celebrates after a win over the U.S. Sunday; Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

World Championship Water Polo: U.S. Men Fall to Italy, Miss Quarterfinals

The United States lost Sunday for the third time in four matches at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships, dropping a 13-12 decision to Italy in the crossover round.

The loss means the U.S. can’t medal at Worlds. The Americans miss the quarterfinals and drop into the ninth-to-12th classification game.

The U.S. on Sunday led by two in the first quarter, then trailed by as many as three early in the fourth before tying the game at 10 with 6:12 left. But goals by Eduardo Di Somma and Francesco Di Fulvio restored Italy’s two-goal lead after a timeout.

Johnny Hooper got the U.S. back within one, but Di Somma scored his second goal of the game to make it 13-11. A pair of turnovers and two blocked shots meant that Alex Bowen’s goal with 14 seconds left merely trimmed the deficit to 13-12, and the U.S. didn’t get another look to even it up.

Di Fulvio led the Italians with three goals and three assists. Andrea Fondelli scored twice. Lorenzo Burni added two goals. Marco Del Lungo stopped eight shots.

Hannes Daube led the U.S. with four goals. Bowen tallied a hat trick. Hooper and Ryder Dodd had two goals each, Dodd adding two assists. Max Irving had three assists. Adrian Weinberg stopped 10 shots.

The U.S. was just 1-for-12 on action shots but 9-for-14 on the power play. It held Italy to 2-for-7 on power-play chances.

The U.S. advances to Tuesday’s 9-12 classification semifinal against Australia. China and Romania are also in that couplet.

In addition to Italy, Montenegro, France and Croatia won their way into the quarterfinals.

Montenegro, which beat the U.S. in the group stage, trailed by three to Romania in the first quarter before taking control in the second quarter of a 12-9 win. Miroslav Perkovic and Kanstantin Averka were each 3-for-3 shooting. Aleksa Ukropina paired two goals with three assists. Pesar Tesanovic stopped 13 shots.

Croatia eased into the quarters with a 22-4 dismantling of China. Marko Bijac made nine saves as Croatia held a 12-1 edge after the break. Konstantin Kharkov was 4-for-4 shooting with four assists. Loren Fatovic tallied a hat trick, and Marko Zuvela (two goals, six assists) and Franko Lazic (two goals, four assists) had massive days as all 11 players scored, eight notching multiple goals.

France outlasted Australia, 11-8, outscoring the Aussies, 5-2, in the second half. Alexandre Bouet scored four goals. Ugo Crousillat scored two goals to go with three assists, and Thomas Vernoux paired two goals with two assists. Nic Porter kept Australia in it with 12 saves.

Italy gets Greece in the quarterfinals. Spain will take on Montenegro. Serbia takes on Croatia, and Hungary meets up with France.

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