Hungary World Champions after thrilling water polo final

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Waterpolo World

August 5, 2013 (ISN) –  Hungary has claimed the gold medal in the 2013 FINA World Championships men’s competition holding off Montenegro 8-7 in a thrilling final. Veteran Marton Szivos scored the winning goal from the post on man-up with 1.19 left.

It is the third world title for the Magyars who will celebrate their 10th medal at World Championships. Head coach Tibor Benedek, and fellow lefthander and still active player Norbert Madaras, were members of the squad that won the gold medal ten years ago, also played in Barcelona. Hungary goalie Viktor Nagy came up huge for the team that had the better start, went up 3-0 and saw their goalkeeper saving five of the first nine shots fired to his goal, although all attempts didn’t went in for Montenegro.

Darko Brguljan was the one to open up the score for the Montenegrins firing off a cross cage shot from the left wing at the end of the shot clock with 3.07 remaining in the first half. From that point on the Montenegrins got more involved and turned up their successful defence, led by Aleksandar Ivovic at the centre back position. Standout and tournament top scorer Ivovic shot home his first of three of the night and the Montenegrins continued in the third period as Antonio Petrovic finished off a second attempt on man-up to level the game at 3-3.

After the main break more attempts starting to fall and after lefthander Ugo Crousillat scored a nice near-side corner goal on extra man for Montenegro it was Hungary who struck back now gaining a two-goal lead through shots by Marton Szivos and Daniel Varga. And again the 2012 Europeans runners-up managed to get levelled. Centre forward Filip Klikovac finished off from the post on another man-up, followed by Ivovic who netted his second from outside to open up the scoring in the final period and equalise 6-6. Two more hits were made, one each team, before the decision in the tense second half followed on a well played 6-on-5 from a timeout as Norbert Madaras from the right wing feeded Szivos on the near-side post and he shot home the winning goal behind Montenegro goalie Milos Scepanovic who, like his colleague from Hungary, had delivered a nice performance in the cage for the 8-7 lead with just 1.19 remaining. A tense final phase followed in which Montenegro got the ultimate opportunity with just seconds remaining as Norbert Hosnyanszky was excluded with six seconds on the clock but a Drasko Brguljan shot from the right wing was saved by tournament goalkeeper Nagy as the Hungarians ecstatically started celebrating their third world championships in team history.

The first game on Saturday saw Serbia taking seventh place defeating Australia 7-13. Both sides had previously met in the group stage where Serbia ended up victorious as well: 10-7. After a balanced first half the Serbs increased their offensive intensity and walked away in the third and fourth period, led by Filip Filipovic’ five goals for the 2009 world champs. In the final session it was all Serbia after Aussie Sharks captain Rhys Howden had opened up the scoring (7-9). The Dejan Savic coached side scored four consecutive goals to finish their record-low ranking tournament with a six-goal win. For the current standings of today’s matches you can join us in the live results section on the front page again.

Just like yesterday the second of the day was the bronze medal match, this time featuring Croati and Italy in a rematch of the 2012 London Olympics gold medal final. Then won by the Croatians 8-6, on Saturday the Croats ended up victorious as well. The game though was a bit more hectic. Three red cards and six players were sitting out various remainders with three major fouls but the Ivica Tucak coached still won 10-8. The basis for the victory was their first half performance. From the second half of the opening quarter onwards Croatia walked away, led by some sharp shooting offence and, in that phase, effective play on man-up leading to a 7-2 shown on the board after Sandro Sukno’s third goal already with 3.42 left in the first half. Italy seemed overwhelmed at times but was not done. Leading the way for the dethroned champs as Alex Giorgetti who responded twice by scoring but until the end of the third quarter, always saw Croatia retaining their margin. That third period was a hectic one. Early on, when Italy had a player advantage Sandro Sukno and Amaurys Perez got tangled up and although for them it seemed not that big of a deal both got red carded and frustrated left the pitch. Two possessions later after a Maro Jokovic exclusion centre back Andro Buslje, on the bench at the time, reacted to the call and, much to his surprise, saw the red card being pointed at him. A second starter gone for coach Ivica Tucak and the number of players with two major fouls increasing, the Ratko Rudic successor could just count on the fact that Croatia was leading 8-4 at the time and would have to hold off Italy of the remainder of the game. Thanks to a nice team effort the Croatians managed to do so but exclusions kept flying around and especially in the final period Italy came closer and closer but never looked like able to turn things around. Italy’s centre forwards Matteo Aicardi and Cristian Napolitano were shut down and with a player down the Croatians moved well to make life hard for Italy. Well-known shooters like Pietro Figlioli (0/3) and Valentino Gallo (0/4) didn’t experienced their most successful days as Croatia held on to win 10-8 celebrating their third straigth World Championships bronze medal. Sandro Sukno, in the first half alone, and Maro Jokovic finished with three goals each for the reigning Olympic champs while Alex Giorgetti led the way for the Italians netting a triple as well. The man-up numbers tell the story of the game. Croatia scored four goals out of fourteen 6-on-5’s, while Italy was successful six times out of the sixteen man-up possessions they drew. Croatia’s third straight bronze medal is a record. The only other country to win a same medal three times in a row was Hungary – silver in 1975, 1978 and 1982.

Home side Spain took fifth place in the evening session’s first match beating Greece 8-10. The game was the last international of Spain’s centre forward Xavi Valles who retires after this tournament and got a nice farewell by the 2,500 spectator crowd at the Bernat Picornell on Saturday. He was the one to hold the ball in the final seconds waving goodbye to the fans as the clock ticked down and the victory was ensured. With one goal and drawing two exclusions Valles, Spain international for over a decade, delivered a nice performance and helped his team to a nice way of closing out their home tournament. But the Rafa Aguilar coached side was led by Albert Español who was on target scoring five goals including one penalty shot, his tournament-high sixth. After Spain looked to force a decision in the game late in the second quarter (3-5, 4-6), Greece responded in the third showing they stayed close and hung on nicely until the final period. Their well-known and successful extra man plays did not deliver and goals by Marc Minguell, after a nice over-the-head pass by Xavi Garcia on man-up, and Albert Español decided the game as Greece stayed scoreless in the final eight minutes and settled for sixth place.

Men’s Media All Star Team

1. Viktor Nagy (HUN) – goalkeeper

2. Dusko Pijetlovic (SRB) – centre forward

3. Pietro Figlioli (ITA)

4. Aleksandar Ivovic (MNE)

5. Mladan Janovic (MNE)

6. Sandro Sukno (CRO)

7. Denes Varga (HUN)

Tournament Awards

Highes goal-scorers:

Sandro Sukno (CRO) – 20 goals

Aleksandar Ivovic (MNE) – 20 goals

Tournament Most Valuable Player:

Denes Varga (HUN)

Best goalkeeper:

Viktor Nagy (HUN)