Japan national water polo team is the biggest winner of the day at the FINA World League Super Final in Budapest. The Japanese shocked the USA and won 11:10 in the quarterfinal match to book a place in the semifinal.
The Americans came to the quarterfinal with a perfect record from a group stage, where they beat rivals lake Spain and Croatia. Before this match, they were seen as clear favorites. However, a quick double gave Japan a great opening of the match.
Americans realized they were in trouble. The managed to respond with three goals in a row and went for more in the second when they gained a 5:3 advantage. But, by the end of the first half, Japan managed to equalize (6:6).
It was a goal for a goal in the third quarter, but 30 seconds before the end, Araki Kenta put the rebound in the net and Japan took an 8:7 lead. Japanese continued to play at the high level and in the last quarter, Koppu Harukiirario gave them a 9-7 lead.
The USA woke up and thanks to goals from Bowen and Hallock they equalized (10:10) four minutes before the final whistle. And it was Japan who scored the one and only goal by the end of the game. It was Adachi Seya who beat the USA goalkeeper with a minute and 49 seconds remaining. Hallock and Bowen tried hard, but could not get their team to escape a narrow defeat.
Today, Montenegro was the first team to reach semifinals after an easy win against Kazakhstan – 14:6. The Montenegrins got to an excellent start with a 5:2 lead in the first quarter and the maintained it until half-time. There was no surprise in this match as Montenegro made one more step towards the trophy.
Spain water polo team had a tougher job against Australia. They won 9:4, but the Aussies gave the Spanish a good fight in the first half. La Furia Roja started to create a gap in the third quarter. Australia came back to a single goal deficit (5:4), but after that Spain scored four times in a row to secure a win.
And then we saw a penalty drama in a game between Hungary and Croatia. It was a true derby game. Hungarians won only after the penalty shoot-out 10:8 (6:6 in the regular time). The Hungarians were calmer and more precise, they converted four shots, while Croats missed one and another was saved by Viktor Nagy.
THURSDAY, JUNE 21ST – QUARTER-FINALS
Hungary 10:8 Croatia
(1:1, 1:1, 3:2, 1:2 – 4:2)
Hungary: Zalánki 3, Bedő 2, Vámos 2, Angyal, Bátori, Erdélyi,
Croatia: Lovre 2, Vukicevic 2, Krapic, Vrlic, Buslje, Benic
Japan 11:10 USA
(2:3, 4:3, 2:1, 3:3)
Japan: Arai 2, Inaba 2, Okawa 2, Koppu, Siga, Araki
USA: Hallock 4, Hooper, Obert, Bowen, Irwing
Australia 4:9 Spain
(2:1, 0:1, 0:2, 2:5)
Australia: Campbell, Kayes, Hollis, Brooks
Spain: Espanol 2, Tahull 2, Munarriz, Larumbe, Fernandez, Mallarach, Bustos
Montenegro 14:6 Kazakhstan
(5:2, 2:2, 5:1, 2:1)
Montenegro: Ivovic 3, Brguljan 2, Janovic 2, Djurdjic 2, Spaic 2, Vidovic, Misic, Draskovic,
Kazakhstan: Ukumanov 2, Ruday 2, Aubakirov, Sakenov
FRIDAY, JUNE 22 – SEMIFINAL
Hungary – Japan
Spain – Montenegro