In the battle for bronze, Italy copped a four-minute violence foul in the second quarter, stymying its medal chances, giving Montenegro a huge margin before sneaking back to lose 12-11. It goes with the silver won in 2016. For Italy, it could have been a bronze to go with the initial title in 2012.  

Spain beat Greece 15-11 for fifth; United States of America bumped Croatia 16-13 for seventh and Brazil came from behind to beat Australia for ninth.  

There was some spectacular play from many teams and the lower groupings also displayed skills beyond their years. Also, there were some familiar names like Perrone, Benedek, Janovic, Gojkovic and many more who are possibly travelling in their fathers’ footsteps.


Image Source: U18 MVP Strahinja Krstic (SRB) with TWPC member Hadi Farid/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Most Valuable Player
Strahinja Krstic (SRB)

Image Source: U18 Best Goalkeeper David Szitas (HUN)/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Best Goalkeeper
David Szitas (HUN)

Image Source: Highest Goal-scorer Efe Naipoglu (TUR) with TWPC member Hadi Farid/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Highest Goal-scorer
Efe Naipoglu (TUR) — 27 goals

Image Source: Top U18 coach Balasz Koronyi with TWPC membereHadi Farid/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Best Coach
Balasz Korenyi (HUN)

Media All Star Team

David Szitas (HUN)
Field Players:
Botond Balogh (HUN)
Ben Forer (USA)
Srdan Janovic (MNE)
Strahinja Krstic (SRB)
Efe Naipoglu (TUR)
Tomas Perrone (ESP)


Image Source: Gold medals for Hungarian U18 men/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Classification 1-2 (Gold Medal)

Match 62, SERBIA 10 HUNGARY 12 (4-6, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3)

Hungary made it repeat performance over Serbia, recalling that day in August 2022,in Belgrade when Hungary emerged the youth world champion 16-15 in a penalty shootout. It finished the quarters at 11-11 and as in Belgrade, the match was virtually settled in the first period. Then it was 4-2 to Hungary and today it was 6-4 after the first four minutes. The winning margin was also two, proving that what happens in the first quarter does really count come the final buzzer.

On top of that, these two teams met on day one with Serbia emerging the victor 13-12.

Image Source: Serbia v Hungary/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Where does Hungary find these stars of the future? Hungary kept Balazs Simon on ice for much of the tournament and then he comes out and scores four goals and takes the player of the match. In three matches he never shot. In two others he amasses one goal from three shots. Therefore, he finished with five from eight, because he missed one shot today.

Image Source: U18 world champion Hungary/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

It was a busy first period and Hungary emerged as the leader after it was tied at one, two and four. Simon made it 7-4 when he flicked in a rebound for his first. Filip Novakovic narrowed it to one with a strike from left-hand-catch off the crossbar, 19 seconds from halftime.

Novakovic equalised on extra early in the third period and captain Luka Gladovic sent in a missile from 10m for an 8-7, go-ahead goal. Csongor Lugosi — another hidden gem — backhanded in a crowded two metres for his first goal of the tournament and it was 8-8. Simon turned and climbed high to score for 9-8, 15 seconds from the third-quarter buzzer. Novakovic scored his third from a wicked left-arm shot for 9-9, followed by Simon’s third at centre by 6:34. Bence Haverkampf changed the match slightly with his penalty goal as the two-goal margin was much appreciated. Gladovic finished off extra and it was 11-10 at 4:08. Simon made it No. 4 with a rocket from left-hand-catch over the goalkeeper’s head for 12-10. No goals came and Novakovic blotted his copybook with a red card, 15 seconds from time and Hungary had the gold medal.

Image Source: Serbia v Hungary/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match Heroes
with his four goals, were never more applauded by his team-mates. And captain Balogh and Mor Benedek scored two apiece with Balogh finishing the tournament on 17 goals and Benedek, son of the late triple Olympic champion Tibor Benedek, totalling 13. For Serbia, Novakovic (11) scored three while Vuk Kojic (10) and captain Gladovic (17) netted a pair each. Strahinja Krstic grabbed one today for a team-high 20.

Image Source: Serbia receiving U18 silver medals from TWPC Secretary Voula Kozompoli/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Turning Point
Hungary going 7-4 in the second; Serbia taking an 8-7 advantage, then Simon scoring one his scary thunderbolts for 9-8 just before the last break.

Stats Don’t Lie
Both teams defended seven extra-man shots with Serbia scoring seven and Hungary five. Hungary gained the only two penalties awarded.

Bottom Line
Hungary will be celebrating long and hard after a second gold medal and one better than the women achieved in Turkey the week before. For Serbia, it’s another silver.

Classification 3-4 (Bronze Medal)

Image Source: U18 bronze medallist Montenegro/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 61 MONTENEGRO 12 ITALY 11 (2-2, 6-2, 3-3, 1-4)

Montenegro fended off a resurgent Italy in the last quarter, but should never have found itself in this position after having the benefit of a violence foul on Italian Maurizio Maffei in the second quarter — a position that had Montenegro already 6-4 ahead and the penalty awarded taking it to 7-4. In the next four minutes of extra advantage, Montenegro could only manage two extra goals for a 9-4 differential. Italy made the go-ahead goals in the first quarter and Montenegro scored three unanswered goals for 5-2 early in the second. Alessandro Salipante and Ivan Matkovic swapped goals for 6-3 and Francesco Scordo made it 6-4 on action. With Maffei off to an early shower, Srdan Janovic converted the penalty and Danilo Stupar on extra had the margin at four in favour of Montenegro. Strahinja Gojkovic scored on extra for 9-4. Goals were traded twice and Gojkovic nailed a penalty shot for 11-6. Scordo converted extra and it was 11-7 heading into the final eight minutes. Italy shot back in the fourth with the first three goals by 3:28. Gojkovic took it back to two for Montenegro ; Scordo’s penalty attempt was saved and, after a timeout, Simone de Vecchis from the top for 12-11, but at 0:21, too late to force a shootout.

Image Source: Montenegro v Italy/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match Heroes
topped scorers with four (16 for the week) while Stupar and Janovic netted two each. Janovic finished best of the Montenegrins with 19 goals. Scordo and de Vecchis scored three each. De Vecchis topped the Italian scoring with 14, one more than Scordo.

Turning Point
The red card helped with three goals, but the five-goal buffer late in the third period was where Montenegro gained confidence.

Stats Don’t Lie
Montenegro converted six from 11 and stopped five from eight. Montenegro scored two from three on penalty and Italy missed its sole chance. Surprisingly, with Italy’s woes, it shot 32 times to 25.

Bottom Line
Having a violence foul and having to play four minutes down and giving up a penalty goal, does not help at this level. Full credit to get back to one. Both teams elevated in Buenos Aires with Montenegro eighth in Belgrade and Italy sixth.

Classification 5-6

Image Source: Spain v Greece/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 60, SPAIN 15 GREECE 11 (2-2, 3-3, 6-2, 4-4)

Spain made sure of victory in the third period where the margin of victory was obtained with the help of a red card giving Spain four minutes of extra play. Greece started 2-0 up with Spain levelling through Tomas Perrone at 1:47. Goals were traded for 3-3 early in the second period and then again for 4-4. Spytholeon Karatzas converted extra and inside the last minute, left-hander Albert Sabadell made it 5-5 from the left-hand-catch position into the bottom right at 0:46. Spain came out firing in the second half, scoring three times in two minutes for 8-5, the last a rebound clean-up by Nunez. At 4:14, Iosif Kokkinos scored on extra from top left at 2:35 for 8-6 and Karatzas narrowed the margin to one from centre forward after a sliding pass in to him. Then Spyridon Lykoudis was checked out by VAR and awarded a red card for a violent action, meaning  Greece would play a man down for four minutes after Carlos Nunez converted the penalty for 9-7. Sabadell sent one in on extra and did a repeat performance with 14 seconds left on the clock for 11-7. At 12-7 in the fourth, Spain had made the most of the extra-man time. Back at seven on seven, Ricardo Sordo took it to 13-7. Christos Laskaridis scored consecutive extra-man goals and then goals were traded twice with Kokkinos scoring a double for Greece as the match finished heavily in Spain’s favour.

Match Heroes
(14) and Nunez (17) scored three each for Spain. Perrone scored twice to be his team’s best shooter with 25 goals. For Greece, Kokkinos (11) blasted in four and captain Laskaridis (14) three. Lykoudis sent in a pair for a team-high 16 until he took his vacation early.

Turning Point
The third period and the mini avalanche for Spain.

Stats Don’t Lie
Spain converted eight from 13 and defended four from 10 on extra-man attack. Both teams sent in their one penalty attempts and Spain made seven steals to two.

Bottom Line
Spain was third two years ago and Greece seventh.

Classification 7-8

Image Source: Croatia v USA/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 59, CROATIA 13 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 16 (5-5, 2-4, 4-3, 2-4)

USA was sublime in this tough encounter and made the most of the set opportunities while Croatia had far more shots. It weathered the storm for a commendable seventh classification. The first quarter had all the numbers equal to five. It was tied at six early in the second quarter with USA making the go-ahead goal and two Maddox Arlett goals gave USA a two-goal buffer. Goals were traded with USA going into the second half 9-7 in front. Arlett on extra and Bode Brinkema boosting the margin to four. Duje Cuzzi on extra and Karlo Dragosovic from centre forward, brought it back to 11-9. The big Amar Fajkovic trimmed it to one when he converted extra off the left-post with a near-post pass, pushing it into goal off the goalkeeper’s head, for 11-10 in arrears. Arlett secured a penalty goal and Sime Zilic converted extra at 0:10 for 12-11. At the start of the fourth period, Zilic accepted a high cross pass to the far post to score the equaliser. Ben Forer, USA’s top scorer, sent one in from deep left while heavily guarded for 13-12. Connor Ohl and Ante Jerkovic traded and Forer converted extra after a timeout, closely followed by Taylor Bell at 2:36, getting a long pass to where he was free at deep right to score easily. Croatia had four shots  — two hitting the wood — in the dying minutes for no result.

Match Heroes
For USA, player-of-the-match Forer enhanced his scoring with five goals to go top with 26. Arlett added four to finish with 11. Mislav Curkovic (eigfht) finished with three goals for Croatia and Karlo Dragosevic two. Duje Cuzzi was limited to one, lifting his tally to a team-high 15.

Turning Point
USA coming from 5-4 down in the second quarter to maintain dominance.

Stats Don’t Lie
Croatia converted six from seven on extra and USA scored all three penalty goals and saved Croatia’s one shot. Croatia shot 38 times to 29.

Bottom Line
USA jumps two rungs of the ladder and Croatia slips from fifth last time to eighth.

Classification 9-10

Image Source: Australia v Brazil/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 58, AUSTRALIA 9 BRAZIL 11 (4-3, 1-1, 3-5, 1-2)

Brazil turned the tables on Australia for a healthy two-goal victory and collected its fifth victory. Its sole loss was to USA — 13-9 — in the crossovers, which sentenced it to the lower order. Australia opened the scoring and, although Brazil levelled with the next goal and followed up through Henrico Martins from the top for 2-1. Australia shot out to 4-2 after Nicholas Mordes scored on double extra from point blank. The third goal was a repeat on extra from the same position. Zachary Izzard planted on in from wide open on extra. Pedro Ribeiro responded from the top right for 4-3 before the first break. Daniel Magasanik, scoreless in three matches after collecting 13 goals in the first two encounters, gave the Aussies a 5-3 advantage from centre forward. Nicolas Zibecchi scored from the centre for 5-4 at 3:20, which remained until halftime. Martins levelled from eight metres a minute into the third with Magasanik replying from the left-post position off a high pass. Just 35 seconds later, Magasanik’s tournament was over as he was expelled for aggressive play, the red card earning a substitution. Left-hander Izzard took it to 7-5 from the top right and Martins replied for 7-6 with a rocket from the top. Jake Martin and Martins swapped goals for 8-7. At 1:57, Joao Leme converted extra for 8-8. Pedro Leal did the same at 0:48 and Brazil was on its way. Lucas Wulfhorst scored on penalty at 5:17 and Ribeiro took the margin to three at 2:06 from the top right. Aussie goalkeeper Harrison Cole went on the last attack and the ball was lost and inadvertently passed back to him. He turned and shot for 11-9, much to his excitement and bewilderment. However, Brazil had the victory.

Match Heroes
sent home four goals for 16 in total with Ribeiro (nine) and Wulfhorst (25) two apiece. It was Wulfhorst’s second-lowest score after a nine-goal opening match. Two more goals and he would have been equal top in Buenos Aires. Izzard and Magasanik had two each and this lifted Magasanik to top Aussie scorer with 15 goals.

Turning Point
Brazil moving from 8-8 to 11-8 and keeping Australia at bay for 11 minutes until the final goal.

Stats Don’t Lie
Brazil converted three from six on extra and Australia two from five. Brazil succeeded with its one penalty shot and Australia missed its one chance. Brazil stole the ball eight times to six. Very little difference in the stats.

Bottom Line
Brazil boosted its standing from 15th to ninth and Australia from 11th to 10th.

Classification 11-12

Image Source: Turkey v New Zealand/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 57, TURKIYE 16 NEW ZEALAND 7 (3-0, 4-4, 2-2, 7-1)

New Zealand suffered another bad start as Turkiye kept a clean slate in the first quarter and went to 4-0 before the Kiwis struck back through Sam Keightley. It became 5-1 and 6-2 and then 6-4 as Keightley fired in twice with the second on extra. Efe Naipoglu scored on extra for 7-4, 18 seconds from halftime. Ali Erdag scored twice as Turkiye went to 9-5. Mat Mihaljevich scored from centre to make it 9-6 at 2:18. New Zealand lost leading shooter Liam Dodunski to three major fouls and Turkiye had a penalty shot saved in the last second Erdag netted twice early in the fourth period for 11-6; Naipoglu scored from penalty and extra for 13-6 and two minutes later, Naipoglu converted another extra-man situation. Alistar Rogers and Naipoglu traded just inside the last minute and Efe Karabulet closed the scoring at 0:10 for a handsome Turkish victory.

Match Heroes
Turkiye’s Naipoglu rammed in another five goals — his third highest match — for a tournament-best 27. Erdag also scored five for 14 and Orhan Alpman added three for a tally of 17. Keightley was New Zealand’s best with three goals for a team-high 17, one better than Dodunski who scored just the one today.

Turning Point
Those four goals in the first two quarters, set New Zealand’s fate.

Stats Don’t Lie
Turkiye scored eight of 13 and New Zealand four from seven on extra. Turkiye converted its one penalty attempt and stopped one Kiwi shot. Turkiye was best at the steals — 14-7.

Bottom Line
Turkiye, who finished with a 3-3 record, jumps from 13 to 11 in the world rankings and New Zealand goes from 14 to 12.

Classification 13-14

Image Source: Argentina v Canada/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 56, CANADA 9 ARGENTINA 16 (2-2, 3-4, 2-5, 2-5)

Argentina collected its fifth win to go with one loss — a critical 16-8 group loss to Brazil on day three. Two of its wins were by one goal. Today, Canada was 2-0 up, only for Argentina to level before the first break. Argentina scored go-ahead goals in the second quarter with Canada equalising each time to  five when Ivan Khramtsov turned at centre forward, but at about four metres. Argentinian captain Alejo Teijeiro scored from top left for 6-5 at 2:27, the last scoring of the half. Bautista Calcagno scored at the top of the third period and the next goal came three minutes later for Argentina for 8-5. Canadian captain Pavle Jelic arrested the slide at 9-7 but Argentina made two more by the final intermission and a four-goal break. Santiago Rivera scored at 5:54 and at 4:49, Khramtsov converted extra-man attack for 12-8. Erik Shone scored twice for Argentina and Rivera boosted the margin to seven with less than two minutes remaining. Khramtsov and Calcagno traded goals in the last 81 seconds and Argentina was 13th.

Match Heroes
Erik Shone
led the Argentine scoring with four to give him 15 for the week. Santiago Rivera chipped in with three to give him nine. Captain Alejo Teijeiro gained two to make him the best in team with 21. For Canada, Ivan Khramtsov scored six goals for 22, five ahead of his captain, Pavle Jelic, who scored two more today.

Turning Point
Argentina going from 5-5 to 8-5 straddling the halftime break.

Stats Don’t Lie
Argentina scored four from 10 on extra and shut out five from eight. Argentina converted three from four at the penalty line and saved all three Canadian shots.

Bottom Line
Argentina crashes into the rankings for the first time and Canada slipped four placings from 10th last time.

Classification 15-16

Image Source: Japan v Kazakhstan/Federico Soler/World Aquatics

Match 55, JAPAN 23 KAZAKHSTAN 25 in penalty shootout. FT: 20-20. Pens: 3-5 (2-4, 6-6, 6-3, 6-7)

Kazakhstan blew a 10-8 halftime lead and needed a goal in the last four seconds to enforce a shootout and win it 5-3. Dauren Ali may have been the saviour with the last-gasp equaliser, but it was Nurassyi Satbergen who played out of his skin, scoring from everywhere and whenever to get his team across the line. Kazakhstan had four wins and two one-goal defeats in its six matches, so it was a fine effort in Buenos Aires. To finish so low after those results is a tragedy of the system. The first quarter was tied at one and two with Kazakhstan easing away to 4-2 at the first break. Satbergen scored five of his team’s six goals in the second quarter as the margin stayed at two (10-8) by halftime. Keito Matsuda and Koji Nakamura scored twice each for Japan. Kazakhstan was shell-shocked in the third period as the Japanese onslaught brought up four goals and a 12-10 advantage. Satbergen and Adil Baltabekuly redressed the imbalance; Sota Hombe and Keito Matsuda regained the two goals and Nikolay Babenko countered for 14-13 inside the last minute of the third period. Nakamura made it 15-13 on extra and Keito Matsuda 16-13 from centre. Yegor Beloussov and Satbergen both scored from close in for 16-15. Goals were traded and Satbergen scored from the top for the equaliser at 17. Goals were traded again and Beloussov converted a penalty goal at 2:26 to regain the lead at 19-18. Hombe replied on penalty at 0:58. Keito Matsuda scored off a cross pass to top left at 0:25 for the lead and Dauren clipped one in from deep left after a cross pass for 20-20, forcing the shootout. The ball was nearly stolen off a fumble before the cross pass, so all credit to Kazakhstan. Japan’s first shootout shot was saved and everyone scored afterwards, giving Kazakhstan a deserved victory. Japan goes home with three victories.

Match Heroes
Kazakhstan’s Satbergen was on fire with his 11 goals — a tournament high by one — doubling his tally in one hit and finishing one goal clear of team-mate Beloussov who scored four. Japan’s Keito Matsuda dropped in six goals for a team best 25. Nakamura (14) and Hombe (15) scored five each.

Turning Point
Japan going three ahead in the fourth (16-13) and Kazakhstan coming back to equalise

Stats Don’t Lie
These stats favour Japan rather than Kazakhstan. Japan converted four from five on extra to none from none. Japan scored all four penalty attempts and Kazakhstan just the one.

Bottom Line
Kazakhstan was 12th in Belgrade while Japan was still confined to home with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Final Placings:

  1. Hungary
    2. Serbia
    3. Montenegro
    4. Italy
    5. Spain
    6. Greece
    7. United States of America
    8. Croatia
    9. Brazil
    10. Australia
    11. Turkiye
    12. New Zealand
    13. Argentina
    14. Canada
    15. Kazakhstan
    16. Japan
    17. China
    18. South Africa
    19. Uruguay
    20. Colombia