Classification 1-8 Quarterfinals

Match 43, SERBIA 17 SPAIN 16 (4-4, 6-1, 3-4, 4-7)

Serbia broke through to give it hope for a second medal at this level. It looked close; however, Serbia was four ahead early in the fourth period and had to withstand a last-quarter blitz by Spain. The match was tied at one, two, three and four in the period. Serbia came good in the second period with the margin ballooning to 9-4 before goals were traded in the last minute for a halftime advantage of 10-5. At 11-6, a three-goal burst with two Carlos Nunez goals and one from Tomas Perrone, trimmed the deficit to two. Luka Gladovic brought it back to four with a pair of strikes on penalty and extra by the third-quarter buzzer. Perrone and Strahinja Krstic swapped goals and Alex Llaurado and Kosta Bodiroga did the same for 15-11. Perrone on extra and Nunez from penalty, brought it to 15-13. Goals were traded again and Marc Rodriguez successfully shot twice for 16-15 by 1:36. Miljan Djokanovic pulled it out to two from the top and 20 seconds from time, Perrone scored on extra — not enough to force the shootout.

Match Heroes
was best in pool with six goals to give him 17 in Buenos Aires. Bodiroga, Gladovic and Djokanovic chimed in with three each. For Spain, wonder shooter Perrone scored five to push his tally to 18, while Nunez (11) and Rodriguez scored three each.

Turning Point
Serbia going 11-7 midway through the third quarter that gave it room to manoeuvre.

Stats Don’t Lie
Serbia  converted eight from 14 and defended six of 12. Both teams scored two penalty goals without a miss.

Bottom Line
Serbia is one step away from where it was two years ago — in the gold-medal final. Spain was third last time and now finds itself in the five-eight semifinals.

Match 44 ITALY 14 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 10 (3-3, 3-2, 4-0, 4-5)

USA’s dream of making the top four was  stolen by Italy, especially after USA led 3-1 and then had to settle for 3-3 at the first break. Italy took the lead three times in the second quarter with USA responding twice for 6-5. The life was crushed out of USA in the third stanza and Italy went 4-0 with Jacapo Gambacciani netting twice. The agony continued in the fourth as the margin eased out to 12-5 before Maddox Arlett scored for USA to end 15 minutes of drought. Reed Hanna and Ben Forer, with two, closed the gap to three. Emanuele Miraldi and Francesco Scordo pushed it to 14-9 with Arlett converting extra seven minutes from time.

Match Heroes
, who had just one goal before today, topped the scoring with four for Italy, followed by Scorda and Simone de Vecchis with two each. Forer grabbed four to bring his tally to 21 and Arlett had his best match yet with three goals.

Turning Point
That scoreless third period for USA and 15 long minutes…

Stats Don’t Lie
Italy may have only scored three from six on extra, but denied USA eight of its 14 attempts. USA scored the only penalty goal. Italy made six steals to two.

Bottom Line
Italy earns itself a clash with Serbia in the medal semifinals and a gallant USA will shift to the five-eight semifinals.

Image Source: Greece/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 45 HUNGARY 13 GREECE 12 (3-5, 4-2, 4-2, 2-3)

Hungary will play Montenegro in the semifinals thanks to a wonderful match-up in this quarterfinal. Greece commanded the first quarter for 2-1, 4-2 and 5-3. It was even better in the second, lifting to 7-3 when Spyridon Lykoudis gained his second and 11th of the tournament. Celebrations were quickly cancelled as Hungary went on the charge with four unanswered goals for 7-7 within three minutes. Neither side could improve the score in the next two minutes before halftime. Lykoudis broke the impasse at 5:41 in the third quarter when he converted a penalty foul. Zalan Nagy scored from outside for 8-8. Captain Botond Balogh and Lykoudis swapped goals and Andras Toth and Balogh scored extra-man goals, the last on four seconds, for 11-0. The match was intense and the scoring sublime for such youngsters. Viktor Pajan gave Hungary a three-goal lead with Orestis Zervoudakis gaining two extra-man strikes for 12-11. Karatzas accepted a cross pass to the far left post and while heavily guarded smacked the ball into goal for 12-12. Hungary went on attack and the centre forward shot. His attempt rebounded out to a team-mate, so the play was set up and the ball made it to Balogh at six metres, who sat up and scored from top right at 0:47 and 13-12, which proved to be the winner.

Match Heroes
Andras Toth
finished with four goals for 11 here and captain Balogh (11) and Nagy three each for Hungary. Greece ‘s best was Lykoudis with four; Karatzas and Zervoudakis with two each.

Turning Point
The main one was Hungary going from 9-9 to 12-9 over the final break.

Stats Don’t Lie
Hungary converted five from six and Greece five from seven on extra-man attack. On penalties, only Greece had a sole, successful opportunity. Greece made six steals to four.

Bottom Line
Hungary is one step closer to defending its crown and Greece will have to rue the lost chances as it battles in the five-eight semifinals.

Image Source: Montenegro/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 46 CROATIA 9 MONTENEGRO 14 (3-2, 2-4, 2-3, 2-5)

Match Heroes
This match finished on a sour note when a violence call was made in the dying minutes, assisting Montenegro across the line. However, Montenegro had the goods to win on its own account and was well positioned at 5:12 when Viktor Toncinic was ousted with Montenegro 12-8 in front. Croatia started at 3-0 and Montenegro pulled two back before the first break. Srdan Janovic brought Montenegro level at four by 6:25 in the second quarter. Montenegro went to 7-5 and when Len Dujmic was excluded with substitution after a VAR decision, Montenegro gained the extra-man goal for 8-6. Duje Cuzzi converted extra from wide left-hand catch for Croatia at 8-7 down. Four minutes later, Tim Perov gave Montenegro a two-goal edge for 9-7 to close the third quarter. Cuzzi scored on extra and

Danilo Stupar and Drasko Samardzic converted consecutive extra-man plays for 10-8. Drasko Samardzic made it 11-8 on extra at 6:10. Soon after a VAR decision ruled that Toncinic committed a violent action, so Montenegro was awarded a penalty and four minutes with a man up. Janovic converted the penalty for a four-goal differential. Ante Jerkovic scored on the man down and Janovic replied on extra. It was left to Gojkovic to put the final nail in the coffin at 1:43 on extra and 14-9.

Turning Point
It was not the violence foul. It was Montenegro’s persistence and putting that 3-0 deficit behind it and make the result good in the third period.

Stats Don’t Lie
Montenegro had fantastic extra-man statistics at 10 from 15 and Croatia also excellent at seven from 11. Montenegro put away the only penalty and it had 29 shots to 21.

Bottom Line
Montenegro deserved to win, having secured the victory before the violence foul. Croatia will be without Toncinic for a match, we presume.

Group G & H Third Round

Match 39, CANADA 18 SOUTH AFRICA 13 (6-1, 3-4, 5-5, 4-3)

Canada went three straight in the group stage and will pay Argentina for 13th classification on Tuesday. The writing was on the wall early as Canada shot out to 4-0 against South Africa and had a very handy 6-1 quarter-time lead. Ivan Khramtsov scored twice to give him 16 for the week, but he was kept at bay for the rest of the match. It became 7-1 and 9-3 as Arkin Marais netted twice for South Africa. Canadian captain Pavle Jelic had three goals by 9-3 and Marais scored twice on extra for 9-5 at halftime. The score progressed to 11-5 with Nicholas Fall converting a penalty foul and Marais scoring his fourth for 11-7. It became 13-7 and 14-10 as Karabo Mamaregane scored from penalty and on extra. Fall brought it to within three early in the fourth, on penalty, but two Jelic strikes made it a five-goal differential. Mamaregane and Jason Joseph twice had Canada at 18-12. Oliver Ditz sent in a penalty goal to close all scoring at 18-13.

Match Heroes
slammed in six goals for a tally of 13. Joseph’s four goals lifts him to 14. Marais banged in four goals after only having one for the week. His South African team-mate, Mamaregane, netted three to bring up 10.

Turning Point
The huge start in the first quarter made the difference — four up and the final margin was five.

Stats Don’t Lie
Both teams made four from nine on extra-man attack. They also scored all their penalty shots — three and four respectively. Canada stole the ball 10 times to six.

Bottom Line
Canada won the group and South Africa filled third spot.

Match 40, JAPAN 17 URUGUAY 14 (5-3, 4-2, 6-3, 2-6)

Japan finished second in its group and gets a shot at Kazakhstan for 15th classification on Tuesday. A 4-1 start came to haunt Uruguay as it went down by three goals. The 5-3 opening quarter showed Uruguay was not there to make up numbers. Japan had it at 8-4 by midway through the second quarter and nearly five minutes later, goals were traded for 9-5. Soro Minagawa scored the first two goals of the third period and Toji Nakamura made it 12-5 on penalty. Uruguayan captain Juan Salom stopped the slide with an action goal; Emiliano Scelza converted extra and sometime later Ernesto Saldun converted extra for 13-8 to keep Uruguay in the picture. Atsuya Maeda and Salom traded goals in the first two minutes with Lucas Piretti and Salom, from centre, narrowing the margin to 16-11. It became 17-11 and two Piretti goals and a centre shot from Franco Gonzalez narrowed it to three at 0:58, too late to force a shootout.

Match Heroes
and Rintaro Nomura, both quiet on the goal-getting front, scored three each for Japan. Uruguayan captain Salom fired in five goals  for 11 in total and Piretti added three to his total for 16.

Turning Point
Italy’s 7.

Stats Don’t Lie
Japan struggled on extra-man attack with only two from eight while Uruguay made sure of four from six. Japan scored both its penalty chances and Uruguay one. Japan made 10 steals to three and had 10 more shots.

Bottom Line
Japan was second in the group and Uruguay, despite having 41 goals, has yet to win a match. It will play Colombia for 19th classification.

Match 41, CHINA 9 KAZAKHSTAN 15 (4-2, 1-3, 2-5, 2-5)

Kazakhstan will now play for 15th position against Japan after a solid effort against China. China recovered from one down to go 4-1 ahead and hold a 4-2 difference at the quarter break. Nurzhas Nurtaza had the match level with an outside shot; Zhou Qin gave China the edge and Yegor Beloussov levelled at 5-5, seven seconds from halftime. China scored first and it became 6-6 in the third with Nurtaza regaining the lead for Kazakhstan at 3:30. He made it a two-goal advantage before China replied on extra to Tao Zhu. A Pair of Kazakh goals, the last at four seconds from the top, gave Kazakhstan the 10-7 margin it was wanting. Adil Baltabekuly, who scored the ninth goal, made it 11-7 and Nurassyi Satbergen 12-7. Beloussov converted extra for 13-7 and goals were traded twice with Qin and Jinyi Li scoring for China.

Match Heroes
topped the scorers with four and Kazakh team-mates Yegor Beloussov (17 in total), Nurassyi Satbergan and Adil Baltabekuly grabbed three apiece. Zhou Qin scored three for 12 and Diheng Li two for 13 here.

Turning Point
Coming from 4-1 in the first period and effectively winning the match 14-5 from then on.

Stats Don’t Lie
Not many statistics here. Kazakhstan scored its only extra-man chance and defended five from eight.

Bottom Line
Kazakhstan took out second spot in the group and China third.

Image Source: Colombian fans/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 42, COLOMBIA 10 ARGENTINA 16 (4-3, 2-3, 3-5, 1-5)

Argentina will have a crack at 13th position against Canada after sending off its South American cousin. Argentina blew a 3-1 start with Colombia levelling in consecutive attacks and going ahead in the final minutes for 4-3. Argentina saw to that and scored the first three goals of the second quarter with Santiago Rivera claiming two. Colombia brought the match level through Jean Lopez on extra and Miguel Fandini from the field. Goals were traded twice in the third quarter with Argentina leading each time. Bautista Calcagno scored from close in to gain the 9-8 advantage at 5:29 and it was not until 2:02 that captain Alejo Teijeiro countered for a two-goal margin and Ignacio Eberlein converted a penalty for 11-8. Juan Lopez replied in the dying seconds of the period for 11-9 behind. Erik Shone, who had 11 goals before today, scored twice for 13-9 and three more Argentinian goals, including a fourth from Calcagno on extra, closed the Argentinian scoring at 16-9. Samuel Olarte converted a penalty at 18 seconds from full time to being up Colombia’s 10th goal.

Match Heroes
hammered in four goals (10) for Argentina and Juan Lopez four (17) and Jean Lopez two for Colombia.

Turning Point
Colombia snatching the lead after a 3-1 deficit and then a three-goal spurt by Argentina in the third quarter to break free of the Colombian shackles.

Stats Don’t Lie
Argentina converted five from six on extra and stopped five from nine. Argentina missed one of its three penalty attempts and Colombia scored its two.

Bottom Line
Argentina finished top of its group while Colombia remains winless.

Final Group Standings

Group G: Canada 9, Japan 6, South Africa 3, Uruguay 0.
Group H: Argentina 9, Kazakhstan 6, China 3, Colombia 0.

Day 7 Schedule

Classification 19-20
Match 47. 09:00. URU v COL

Classification 17-18
Match 48. 10:30. RSA v CHN

Classification 9-12 Semifinals
Match 51. 12:00. TUR v AUS
Match 52. 13:30. NZL v BRA

Classification 5-8 Semifinals
Match 49. 16:00. ESP v CRO
Match 50. 17:30. USA v GRE

Classification 1-4 Semifinals
Match 53. 19:00. SRB v MNE
Match 54. 20:30. ITA v HUN