Group Standings
Group A: Hungary 2, Croatia 2, Kazakhstan 2, Uzbekistan 2, Kuwait 0.
Group B: Australia 2, Brazil 2, Greece 2, Netherlands 2, Turkey 0.
Group C: Italy 2, Serbia 2, USA 0, New Zealand 0.
Group D: Spain 2, Montenegro 2, South Africa 0, Canada 0.

Group A

Photos courtesy of Sandic Photography

Kazakhstan had complete control of the match, turning the 4-0 quarter-time lead into 5-2 at halftime and 9-2 at the final break. Kuwait was thereabouts for the first half and was always trying, scoring two of its goals on penalty. Having Yegor Beloussov on your team is critical at this level with his devastating power and ability to find gaps.

Match heroes
Beloussov (KAZ) with six from seven, was most destructive, especially the way he drifted in down the left-post line to score unattended from about three metres. Kazakhstan nailed all four extra-man opportunities and Kuwait one from two. Kazakhstan relished its first win and Kuwait played much better than the first-day loss to Uzbekistan, albeit working harder on defence. Goalkeeper Abbas Baqer was hard-working for Kuwait and was adjudged best in pool.

What they said
Emil Vilin (KAZ) – Player
Good game; we did what we were supposed to and we’re happy with the results.”
Sayed Alhusaini (KUW) – Player
I think it was OK. We have a lot of potential and I believe we can do better. Our players are a little hesitant when it comes to shooting, so I think we have to gather a little courage.”

Hungary burst on to the scene in a big way, making a huge statement about its intentions in Belgrade. With a 10-0 opening quarter that became 19-0 by halftime in favour of Hungary, Uzbekistan had little chance to show why it was a winner on day one. The score shot up to 24-1 in the third period and closed with a 7-2 result. The first Uzbek goal came from the top at 1:32 in the third period and the second at the top of the fourth when Aleksandr Yumangulov lobbed from the far left of the pool over the goalkeeper. The third was at 27-3 when Daniil Krivoxijin repeated his earlier shot from outside. Hungary was too strong, too fast, and very capable, with some excellent defence, rising high out of the water.

Match heroes
Marcell Bede (HUN) converted six of his eight attempts while every field player made the sheet. Uzbekistan’s Krivoxijin scored twice. Hungary converted three from extra-man attacks to Uzbekistan’s none from one and Hungary converted three of its four penalty attempts, shooting the last high over the crossbar.

Group B

Brazil came out the winner in a lively match with big shots from both teams and excellent centre-forward action where six goals eventuated. Brazil took its chances and many came off as the match was tied at one, two, three (at quarter time) and four before Brazil twice gained a two-goal advantage before the turn. From 7-5, it became 12-8 at the final break and Brazil was on a roll, lifting that margin to six by the end of the match. Turkey may have lost twice, but has amassed 21 goals. Brazil’s win made up for leading Australia on day one and losing by two.

Match heroes
Fabiano Gomes (BRA) scored his seventh goal with a lob from the right side of the pool and was named best in pool. Artur Diaz was a demon at centre forward, scoring four. Turkey’s highest scorer was Mert Ali Yener with four. Brazil had the better of the extra-man count at five from 11 compared with Turkey’s three from 10.

What he said
Kagan Zobu (TUR) — Player

“It wasn’t a great game; the opponents played really well. The competition was tough. It was a good game for Brazil, we managed long shots.”

Greece’s final goal typified the team’s play and showed how much control it had despite the constant threats from Netherlands. On extra-man play with just on four minutes remaining on the clock, the ball shifted around the top and came from the top left to the right post, to the left post and in for 12-10. Netherlands replied on extra at 2:12 with plenty of time left to secure the win. However, neither side gave up a gap and Greece had collected its first victory at the first attempt. The match was tied at one (quarter time) and three before Greece slid out to 6-4 at halftime. The margin became four at 8-4. A missed penalty attempt spurred the Dutch onwards and claimed the next four goals. Greece went back into the lead only for Netherlands to level for the fifth time. Greece went 11-9 and 12-10 with that fantastic goal and the two points went to Greece.

Match heroes
Christos Bitsakos scored five from seven to claim the award before he was fouled out late in the match. His fifth was the conversion of the 12-10 play. Lars Josh Ten Broek netted three for Netherlands. On the extra-man count, Greece was five from 13 and Netherlands six from 12.

What they said
Theodoros Damigos (GRE) — Goalkeeper

“It was a really good match and I think that everyone enjoyed It. It was very hard and thankfully we won. Now we have to focus on our next game against Australia.”
Branko Mitrovic (NED) — Head Coach
“There were a few chances — the penalties were missed in crucial moments — in the end of the game we had a few big chances with extra men. Unfortunately, Greece won today, but it’s important that we show we can play much better in the future. We will analyse what went wrong today and work on the issue.”