2008 FINA Olympic Mens Water Polo

Olympic Games Qualification Tournament

March 2-9, 2008 Oradea, Romania

Groups and Standings

A1 Romania 4-1 B1 Mexico 0-2-3
A2 Russia 3-2 B2 Germany 4-1-0
A3 Brazil 1-4 B3 Iran 0-2-3
A4 Greece 5-0 B4 Italy 3-1-1
A5 Kazakhstan 0-5 B5 Canada 3-1-1
A6 Slovakia 2-3 B6 Macedonia 2-3

Sunday, March 2

DAY 1 RECAP

Main teams untroubled on opening day

By Russell McKinnon
FINA Press Commission Member

Oradea, Romania (March 2).— There's nothing like a home crowd to spur a team on. Romania needed it tonight when playing neighbour Slovakia at the men's Olympic Games Qualification Tournament at the Ioan Alexandrescu Pool here. A packed house of 1300 watched as Romania and Slovakia locked the first three periods and again in the fourth before the home team claimed the winner 1:52 from time. It's typical for these two countries to finish only a goal different but the result meant more tonight as Romania gets a leg up en route to hopefully qualifying for the Beijing Olympic Games. The top four teams from here, like the women in Imperia, Italy a week earlier will gain the final four berths for Beijing. In a tough group, Romania edged closer to the glittering prize. But the win placed it in third place after day one as earlier in Group A games, Russia defeated a youthful Kazakhstan 19-4 after being 11-2 ahead at halftime. Then Greece eased through the first day with a 15-6 margin over Brazil. In Group B, Macedonia and Mexico promised much at halftime when the former led 6-3 but it became a romp in the third period, won 9-2 by Macedonia. A late revival by Mexico yielded four goals but Macedonia had the game 18-9. Italy was untested against Iran, winning 20-2 and Germany surely but slowly built a 11-6 win over a defiant Canada.

BRAZIL 6 vs GREECE 15

Referees: Fillipo GOMEZ (ITA), Nader GHAFOURI (IRI).

Quarters: 1-2, 0-5, 2-5, 3-3

Teams:

BRAZIL: Luis SANTOS, Vicente HENRIQUES (1), Gabriel ROCHA (1), Lucas VITA (1), Marcelo FRANCO, Conrado BERTOWZZI, Bernardo ROCCA, Felipe SILVA (2), Erik SEEGERER, Bruno NOLASCO (1), Mario CAROTINI, Rafael FARIAS, Anderson SOUZA. Head Coach: Barbaro DIAS.

GREECE: Nikolaos DELIGIANNIS, Anastasios SCHIZAS, Dimitrios MAZIS, Konstantinos KOKKINAKIS, Ioannis THOMAKOS (5), Argyris THEODOROPOULOS, Christos AFROUDAKIS (4), Georgios NTOSKAS (2), Georgios AFROUDAKIS (2), Dimitriy MITELOUDIS, Matthaios VOULGARAKIS, Emmanouil MYLONAKIS (2), Georgios REPPAS. Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.

Match report:

Greece was always going to be the winner but the manner in which it was to win was the important factor. Greece was tentative at the start, despite two goals from either side of the top on action midway through the first period to complement the early strike by Georgios Afroudakis. Brazil was allowed to score from centre forward. Greece broke out in the second when counter-attacks from stolen balls brought rewards. Ntoskas scored on extra and Christos Afroudakis converted a penalty. Thomakos gained a second on counter. When Ntoskas was excluded for stupidly throwing the ball away after the foul, Brazil could not convert after a timeout and Ntoskas entered the pool down the right, collected the ball and scored for 7-1. Mylonakis converted the extra-man with four seconds left. Greece had the better of the third period at 5-2 but gave up two penalty fouls with Henriques scoring the first but having his second five seconds from time blocked by Deligiannis’ left hand. Afroudakis’ third goal came after he fired in a long shot but had it disallowed as the referee was calling a major foul at centre forward. However, Afroudakis cleaned up the extra-man play, proving his first shot was just. Older brother Georgios Afroudakis opened the fourth with a goal from two metres after earning an exclusion. Vita caught the Greek defence unprepared for 13-4. Afroudakis for his fourth and Thomakos for his fifth had the Greeks at 15-4 but Silva responded when Christos Afroudakis was arguing with the referee, using the overlap to lob Reppas who was now in goal. Silva grabbed his second on extra a minute later, giving the Brazilians a rewarding tie in the final quarter.

RUSSIA 19 vs KAZAKHSTAN 4

Referees: Mario BRGULJAN (MNE), Doriel TERPENKA (CAN).

Quarters: 5-0, 6-2, 4-2, 4-0

Teams:

RUSSIA: Seman DAVITASHVILI, Sergey LISUNOV (2), Sergey EVSTIGNEEV, Evgeny FINAEV (2), Roman BALASHOV, Alexander ERYSHOV (1), Pavel KHALTURIN (2), Dmitry STRATAN (1), Andrey REKECHINSKIY (3), Marat ZAKIROV (3), Sergey GARBUZOV (4), Irek ZINNUROV (1), Dmitry DUDKIN. Head Coach: Boris POPOV.

KAZAKHSTAN: Dimitriy AXYONKIN, Mixail KOLOTVIN, Amirbek SAPAROV, Nurlan SARTAEV, Alan ORAZALINOV, Roman PILIPENKO, Yernur KOILEYEV, Rustam UKUMANOV (3), Mikhail RUDAY, Ravil MANAFOV (1), Adil TEMRXANOV, Alexex DENCHENKO. Head Coach: Askar ORAZALINOV.

Match report:

Russia was intent on exerting its authority from the very start against a Kazakhstan team that is rebuilding. Many of the team that unsuccessfully defended its Asian Games crown in Qatar 14 months ago were gone. Head coach Orazalinov said his aim was 2012 but the campaign starts here in Oradea and Russia was a tough assignment first up. Kazakhstan's best was Ukmanov with three, two of which came in just over two minutes at the end of the third period, both on extra. Garbuzov was in top form, grabbing four goals in the game with two in the first quarter. It could have been three in the first but Axyonkin thwarted him in the penalty attempt. It was a rounded effort by Russia with big shooters claiming many goals and counter-attack proving devastating. Head coach Popov would have to be pleased with his team's form, which included excellent centre-forward goals from Rekechinskiy and Lisunov and smart movements in front of goal, gaining space and collecting short passes to score.

MEXICO 9 vs MACEDONIA 18

Referees: Nikolaos STAVROPOULOS (GRE), Mikhail STEPANOV (KAZ).

Quarters: 2-4, 1-2, 2-9, 4-3

Teams:

MEXICO: Orlando ORTEGA, Diego CASTANEDA, Rainer SCHMIDT, Jorge LOPEZ, Daniel VAZQUEZ (1), Maximiliano AGUILAR (1), Oliver ALVAREZ (3), Fausto VAZQUEZ (1), Armando GARCIA, Richard SCHMIDT, Gonzalo MEJIA (1), Jorge PEREZ (2), Andres ONETO. Head Coach: Raul DE LA PENA.

MACEDONIA: Dalibor PERCINIC, Risto MAGKOVIC (3), Ivan VUKSANOVIC (3), Goran KRSTONOSIC (3), Hebojsa MILIC (1), Saso POPOVSKI (2), Marko MICIC (1), Vladimir KRECKOVIC (1), Dusan KRSTIC (1), Marko BASIC (3), Dimitah DIMOVSKI, Danijel BEHIC, Milos UROSEVIC. Head Coach: Alexandar KRSTONOSIC.

Match report:

Macedonia had the better all-round game than Mexico. The Macedonians had the smarter game sense and were more controlled on attack. That, added to the inability of the Mexicans to stifle the centre forwards, led to the Americans' downfall. If it wasn't for Alvarez and his accurate shooting and a late burst, Mexico could have been in more dire straits. Macedonia, with its fair selection of former Serbians knew how to upset Mexico, especially with long shots, which Mexico allowed to be taken. Too often Macedonia gained a two-metre break to score and those breaks weren't gained quickly, just subtly. The score started mounting in the third quarter as the Macedonians hit stride. It started that way in the fourth until 17-5 but then Mexico strung together four goals to Aguilar, Vazquez, Mejia and Perez, forcing Macedonia to take a timeout and settle at 2:03. The great differential had been chipped away. Macedonia closed the scoring through Kreckovic on counter at 0:30.

IRAN 2 vs ITALY 20

Referees: Radu MATACHE (ROU), Jan BOHAT (SVK).

Quarters: 1-7, 0-2, 0-5, 1-6

Teams:

IRAN: Ali Reza SHAHIDIPOUR, Arameh AGHAZARIAN, Seyed MIR MEDI, Mahdi KARAMIZARANDI, Mohammad MEHDI TEIRAN, Ali PIROZKHAH (1), Kambiz AFSHARI (1), Khadempir SOHEIL, Mohsen JALILI, Shirijian ALIAKBAR, Sadjad ABDIHANJANI, Amir HOSSEIN KHANI, Meisam JAFARI. Head Coach: Nevan KOVACEVIC.

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI, Francesco POSTIGLIONE (2), Leonardo BINCHI (1), Fabrizio BUONOCORE (1), Luigi DI COSTANZO (2), Maurizio FELUGO (2), Andrea MANGIANTE, Alberto ANGELINI (1), Fabio BENCIVENGA (2), Alessandro CALCATERRA (2), Leonardo SOLTANI (3), Federico MISTRANGELO (4), Fabio VIOLETTI. Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

Match report:

This was another mismatch where one team did not have to work too hard. Italy had the firepower and counter-attack when it wanted but like the game before, it was allowed to manoeuvre in centre forward and cross passes found their target all too often. Iran struggled to get the ball consistently to the centre forward as he was always fronted. Opportunities to send in decent shots were rare and the Italians revelled in the counter, no matter how slowly they took that option. One Iranian counter in the final quarter came to nothing as the attacked slowed, allowed the defender to come and then lost the ball after the cross pass. Italy would regard this match as little more than a training run. Coach Malara will be asking his team how many easy chances went begging. The Iranians were happy when Pirozkhah backhanded after 28 seconds of possession following a timeout at 1:56.

ROMANIA 7 vs SLOVAKIA 6

Referees: Aaron CHANEY (USA), Luko VULETIC (CRO).

Quarters: 2-2, 2-2, 1-1, 2-1

Teams:

ROMANIA: Bertina NENCIU, Cosmin RADU (2), Tiberiu NEGREAN, Florin BONCA, Andrei IOSEP (4), Andrei BUSILJA, Gheorghe DUNCA, Ramiro GEORGESCU (1), Edward ANDREI-DINA, George GEORGESCU, Cosmin BAIDOC, Kalman KADAR, Robert DINU. Head Coach: Vlad HAGIU.

SLOVAKIA: Michal GOGOLA, Peter NEBAL, Juraj ZATOVIC (2), Josef HROSIK (1), Lukas SEMAN, Alexander NAGY, Martin PALASCAK (1), Karol BACO, Andrej JANICEK, Martin MRAVIK, Michal KRATOCHTeamsVIL (2), Thomas BRUDER, Michal HRUSKA. Head Coach: Ante NAKIC.

Match report:

This match lived up to all expectations with the neighbours only normally being separated by a goal. Slovakia took the lead in the first quarter and Romania took charge in the second. Both teams led twice. Slovakia gained one on extra and the other from seven metres while Iosep and Ramiro Georgescu levelled each time. Iosep and Radu took the leads for Romania in the second. Radu's was a lucky goal as he toiled at two metres and when turning he had the ball flicked out of his hand and into the goal. That made it 4-3 for about four minutes before Kratochvil struck after a Slovakian timeout. He seized on a rebound and backhanded from the centre-forward position 22 seconds from halftime. Kratochvil accepted a cross pass from Hrosik after indecision by the Romanians but not the referees to take a 5-4 lead inside the first minute of the second half. Two minutes later, the Romanian lion, Iosep, converted a penalty drew by centre forward Radu on Seman. The next five minutes was pure defence with no goals. Romania had a let-off at 6:38 of the fourth when Seman scored for Slovakia after what appeared to be an exclusion foul. The Romanian started to leave the water and Seman received the ball and scored. However, the referees stopped the game to settle the confusion and the reset clock leaving Slovakia with no real chance to score with only five seconds on the shot clock. A Romanian timeout straight after failed to get a result. Seman had his revenge when he secured a penalty foul on Kadar. Baco stepped up but his shot sheered off the shoulder of Nenciu. Slovakia gained an exclusion and Nenciu again deflected the shot. Slovakia had a third attempt and regained the ball after a block but lost the ball at two metres. Radu drew an exclusion on Hrosik and Romania called a timeout at 3:57. The ball stuttered around the arc before finding Iosep for a second time, scoring from deep right for 6-5 at 3:36. Slovakia called a timeout at 3:20 on extra but the resulting shot was deflected by a defender. Romania did not connect with a pass to the counter and Slovakia shot back and a quick shot by Zatovic on five metres levelled the game at 2:25. Radu drew an exclusion and the ball swiftly went from Iosep across the cage to Radu who scored at 1:52, much to the delight of the packed house. Both sides missed an attack and inside the last half-minute Baco's shot went wide. Romania kept possession for the popular victory. Romania scored three from five on extra and Slovakia three from six.

GERMANY 11 vs CANADA 6

Referees: Erhan TULGA (TUR), Decio PATELLI (BRA).

Quarters: 2-0, 3-4, 3-1, 3-1

Teams

GERMANY: Alexander TCHIGIR, Florian NAROSKA, Timo PATSCHKE, Marko SAVIC (1), Steffen DIEROLF, Mark POLITZE (5), Heiko NOSSEK (2), Thomas SCHERTWITIS, Tobias KREUZMANN (2), Moritz OELER (1), Andreas SCHLOTTERBECK, Soren MACKEBEN, Michael ZELLMER. Head Coach: Hagen STAMM.

CANADA: Robin RANDELL, Constantine KUDABA (1), Devon DIGGLE, Kevin MITCHELL, Justin BOYD (2), Thomas MARKS, Brandon JUNG, Kevin GRAHAM, Aaron FELTHAM (2), Sasa PALAMAREVIC, Jean SAYEGH, Nathaniel MILLER, Nicholas YOUNGBLUD. Head Coach: Dragan JOVANOVIC.

Match report

Both teams fancied themselves in this game and it looked like Germany would move to victory the quickest, especially after the first quarter. However, Canada had the better of the second period, playing decisively to keep its hopes alive. However, Politze scored three on extra in the third period for an 8-4 lead. The second goal came after a timeout. Kudaba snapped one in from seven metres at 2:01 to reduce the deficit but that was the score at the final break. Little separated the teams at the top of the fourth but Oeler converted Germany's extra chance while Canada saw its shot come off the right post. Kreuzmann and Sayegh traded goals and Politze had the last say with his fifth goal on extra from the top. Russell McKinnon, FINA Press

Monday, March 3

DAY 2 RECAP

Fiery clash between Macedonia and Italy

By Russell McKinnon
FINA Press Commission

Oradea, Romania (March 3).— Feelings ran high in an action-packed day at the men's Olympic Games Qualification Tournament at the Ioan Alexandrescu Pool here today. Day two pitted some good teams together but it was the Macedonia-Italy match, which attracted much attention earlier on day two. Italy finished on top 14-5 but it was a tough game in which two Macedonians were given marching orders before halftime and an Italian gained his fourth, and misconduct, foul in the dying moments of the incident-packed game. Marko Basic was allegedly struck in the eye and blood flowed freely down his face. He retaliated and was suspended. In the first quarter, team-mate Ivan Vuksanovic was sent for misconduct after slapping someone on the face on the way from the pool. Leonardo Binchi did the same thing late in the game. It was definitely a fascinating match, despite the scoreline, which gained the wide margin in the third quarter. It was the match of Group B while Canada cruised against Iran, winning 15-5, failing to send Iran to the cleaners in the final drawing, drawing the period 2-2. Germany was totally untroubled against Mexico, winning 29-1. Group A had the best two games of the day in terms of match-ups. Romania did the business with Russia, winning 11-8 and always had control of the match. Both teams played exceptionally but Romania carried the day with a capacity crowd behind the players. Greece came from two goals down at the start to defeat Slovakia 11-9 and take top position on goal differential. It could have been different as Greece had four-goal leads several times. At the bottom end of the ladder, Brazil upset Kazakhstan 9-6 after Kazakhstan led 3-0 in the first period.

KAZAKHSTAN 6 vs BRAZIL 9

Referees: Aaron CHANEY (USA), Andrej GJORGJIEVSKI (MKD)

Quarters: 3-1, 0-4, 2-2,  1-2

Teams:

KAZAKHSTAN: Dimitriy AXYONKIN, Mixail KOLOTVIN, Amirbek SAPAROV, Nurlan SARTAEV, Alan ORAZALINOV (1), Roman PILIPENKO, Yernur KOILEYEV, Rustam UKUMANOV (3), Mikhail RUDAY, Ravil MANAFOV (1), Adil TEMRXANOV (1), Alexex DENCHENKO. Head Coach: Askar ORAZALINOV.

BRAZIL: Luis SANTOS, Vicente HENRIQUES, Gabriel ROCHA (4), Lucas VITA, Marcelo FRANCO (1), Conrado BERTOWZZI, Bernardo ROCCA (2), Felipe SILVA, Erik SEEGERER, Bruno NOLASCO (2), Mario CAROTINI, Rafael FARIAS, Anderson SOUZA. Head Coach: Barbaro DIAS.

Match report:

One would have expected Kazakhstan to run away with this match but the inexperienced team could not find a consistent game. Following a 3-0 start inside the first four minutes, the team was looking good but no further goal came for the Kazakhs until early in the third period. Meanwhile, Brazil scored five straight to take a stranglehold on the game with Nolasco grabbing the first and fifth from two metres. Temrxanov steadied the Kazakh ship with an goal on extra from the near post position to be just one goal behind. The Rocha brothers then sent Brazil ahead, Gabriel with a centre-forward backhand and Bernardo Rocha in extra from the easiest of positions. Then a funny thing happened.  A Brazilian player was struck in the face and gained the exclusion. He immediately shot at goal but took the shot from four metres so it was turned over sending Kazakhstan on counter. A timeout was called by Brazil but the buzzer did not sound and Kazakhstan was ready to shoot. After several minutes a penalty was awarded to Kazakhstan for an illegal timeout, which Orazalinov sent into Santos' arms. The same mistake wasn't made a minute later when Ukumanov converted for 7-5 behind. The Kazakh woes returned in the final quarter when Gabriel Rocha was allowed to score two easy goals, one on extra and the second with backhand from two metres for a four-goal lead. Orazalinov shot and scored off the post from seven metres for 9-6 a hint at a draw. Brazil went to a correct timeout at 4:07 but Vita's subsequent shot was possibly not the right option. Time ran out for Kazakhstan and Brazil controlled the ball and the game until the last five seconds when Vita was excluded and Kazakhstan went to a timeout. Sartaev's shot fell off his hand and Brazil was a winner.

ITALY 14 vs MACEDONIA 5

Referees: Jan BOHAT (SVK), Nikolaos STAVROPOULOS (GRE).

Quarters: 1-3, 2-2, 2-7, 0-2

Teams:

MACEDONIA: Dalibor PERCINIC, Risto MAGKOVIC, Ivan VUKSANOVIC (1), Goran KRSTONOSIC (1), Hebojsa MILIC (1), Saso POPOVSKI, Marko MICIC, Vladimir KRECKOVIC (1), Dusan KRSTIC, Marko BASIC (1), Dimitah DIMOVSKI, Danijel BEHIC, Milos UROSEVIC. Head Coach: Alexandar KRSTONOSIC.

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI, Francesco POSTIGLIONE (1), Leonardo BINCHI, Fabrizio BUONOCORE (1), Luigi DI COSTANZO, Maurizio FELUGO (3), Andrea MANGIANTE (1), Alberto ANGELINI (3), Fabio BENCIVENGA (3), Alessandro CALCATERRA (1), Leonardo SOLTANI (1), Federico MISTRANGELO, Fabio VIOLETTI. Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

Match report:

This was a game that could have exploded into a brawl of major proportions. As it was, two players were suspended of which one had blood streaming down his face. The major incident came in the second period when Mistrangelo allegedly struck centre forward Basic in the face. A dark patch appeared under Basic's left eye and blood started flowing down his face. He advanced on Mistrangelo after appealing to the referee and dragged the hat off his head. Players crushed in to diffuse a fight and confusion reigned for some minutes. Basic, leaving the pool to seek medical attention was excluded for misconduct, although it wasn't clear. The question was answered at halftime when the referee stated he was sent for misconduct. Earlier Vuksanovic was suspended just six minutes into the game for allegedly striking a player after a foul. It was obviously a closely watched match with Italy struggling to shake off the Macedonians in the first half. The experience of the Italians shone through in the third period with a raft of goals. One of the best was Calcaterra's centre-forward turn and shot from five metres. Felugo, fresh from two goals in the third period, lobbed deftly from a five-metre foul at the start of the fourth period. With less than two minutes remaining Krstic was allegedly struck on the back of the neck and left the game and with the game almost over, Binchi decided to tap someone on the face after gaining his third major, attracting a fourth and suspension foul.

CANADA 15 vs IRAN 5

Referees: Sergei NAUMOV (RUS), Decio PATELLI (BRA).

Quarters: 3-0, 7-1, 3-2, 2-2

Teams:

CANADA: Robin RANDELL, Constantine KUDABA (1), Devon DIGGLE (1), Kevin MITCHELL (1), Justin BOYD, Thomas MARKS (2), Brandon JUNG (1), Kevin GRAHAM (3), Aaron FELTHAM (2), Sasa PALAMAREVIC, Jean SAYEGH (3), Nathaniel MILLER (1), Nicholas YOUNGBLUD. Head Coach: Dragan JOVANOVIC.

IRAN: Ali Reza SHAHIDIPOUR, Arameh AGHAZARIAN, Seyed MIR MEDI (2), Mahdi KARAMIZARANDI (1), Mohammad MEHDI TEIRAN, Ali PIROZKHAH, Kambiz AFSHARI (2), Khadempir SOHEIL, Mohsen JALILI, Shirijian ALIAKBAR, Sadjad ABDIHANJANI, Amir HOSSEIN KHANI, Meisam JAFARI (1). Head Coach: Nevan KOVACEVIC.

Match report:

Canada used the match for preparation for the harder games ahead. Iran used the game unwisely at times, allowing too much space between the defender and the shooter. Canada was allowed to stroll in and shoot at will in the first half, especially in the second quarter. Canada, on the other hand, pressed out Iran and poor shots were produced. Iran lacked the confidence for the big shot while Canada drove close to goal often, taking shots that would normally be defended. It looked like a training session for Canada. Iran did show some strong defensive qualities for four minutes in the first quarter, not allowing Canada through. The fact that Canada has had a strong preparation in Europe, including matches against already qualified Hungary and Australia, showed. Mir Mehdi broke the drought for Iran from the top two minutes from halftime. Jafari scored from the penalty line past Youngblud and Mir Mehdi struck again off a fast shot from nine metres for 12-3 in the third. But Canada had the game sewn up at 13-3 and went on to win 15-5. Iran drew a penalty with a minute remaining and Afshari converted his second, the second Iran goal of the period after a blast from four metres by Karamizarandi.

MEXICO 1 vs GERMANY 29

Referees: Mikhail STEPANOV (KAZ), Luka VULETIC (CRO).

Quarters: 0-5, 0-8, 0-9, 1-7

Teams:

MEXICO: Orlando ORTEGA, Diego CASTANEDA, Rainer SCHMIDT, Jorge LOPEZ, Daniel VAZQUEZ, Maximiliano AGUILAR, Oliver ALVAREZ, Fausto VAZQUEZ (1), Armando GARCIA, Richard SCHMIDT, Gonzalo MEJIA, Jorge PEREZ, Andres ONETO. Head Coach: Raul DE LA PENA.

GERMANY: Alexander TCHIGIR, Florian NAROSKA (4), Timo PURSCHKE, Marko SAVIC (2), Steffen DIEROLF (2), Mark POLITZE (1), Heiko NOSSEK (4), Thomas SCHERTWITIS (3), Tobias KREUZMANN (4), Moritz OELER (5), Andreas SCHLOTTERBECK (3), Soren MACKEBEN (1), Michael ZELLMER. Head Coach: Hagen STAMM.

Match report:

Germany, Germany, Germany. Enough said, almost. Germany was like a runaway train — just shovel in the coal and it just gets faster. Germany was fast. Way too fast for Mexico. By three-quarter time 12 of the 22 goals came from counter-attack with Ortega trying his best to stop anything. He couldn't stop the penalty goals and often came out to pressure the attacker but lobs proved his downfall, too. The Germans ran rampant and even when the goalkeepers were swapped at halftime, the defence held strong. Mexican coach De La Pena probably had some mixed emotions, having played for Germany at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He was quietly jubilant when he called a timeout at 2:55 of the last quarter and Fausto Vazquez converted from right-hand catch, sending the crowd into raptures. Ortega stopped Germany from hitting 30 goals when he blocked Dierolf's last-gasp attempt on counter. Only Purschke could not score of the German field players.

ROMANIA 11 vs RUSSIA 8

Referees: Erhan TULGA (TUR), Fillipo GOMEZ (ITA).

Quarters: 3-2, 5-3, 3-1, 0-2

Teams:

ROMANIA: Bertina NENCIU, Cosmin RADU (2), Tiberiu NEGREAN (2), Florin BONCA, Andrei IOSEP (3), Andrei BUSILA (1), Gheorghe DUNCA, Ramiro GEORGESCU, Edward ANDREI-DINA (3), George GEORGESCU, Cosmin BAIDOC, Kalman KADAR, Robert DINU. Head Coach: Vlad HAGIU.

RUSSIA: Seman DAVITASHVILI, Sergey LISUNOV, Sergey EVSTIGNEEV, Evgeny FINAEV (1), Roman BALASHOV, Alexander ERYSHOV (1), Pavel KHALTURIN (1), Dmitry STRATAN, Andrey REKECHINSKIY (2), Marat ZAKIROV (1), Sergey GARBUZOV (1), Irek ZINNUROV (1), Dmitry DUDKIN. Head Coach: Boris POPOV.

Match report:

In the most impressive game so far, Romania pleased a home crowd with a stunning 11-8 dissection of Russia. The intensity in this game was no less than Romania's match with Slovakia last night but the standard of the play had lifted considerably. Here were two class teams with a win apiece in mortal combat. Andrei-Dina hit mega status with three of Romania's first five goals. He not only inspired his team but the capacity crowd as well. The second was on extra but the other two were from well outside at lightning speed off the hand. Russia levelled twice but it was Busila who gave Romania the lead with a screamer from nine metres just eight seconds from time. Radu and Andrei-Dina had the game at an incredible 5-2. Then goals were traded for the rest of the period with Iosep, the star of last night, claiming two goals, including the outside shot at 0:14. It was Romania's moment in time and three goals to one in the third period said it all. The delight on Iosep's face and his two hands with an index finger extended had the crowd on its feet. Negrean scored twice down the left, one on counter and the other on extra leaving Iosep to take the glory in the last minute of the period. Rekechinskiy scored an easy goal on extra from two metres when unguarded right in front of Nenciu. It was Rekechinskiy who opened the fourth on the first attack, turning his man in the hole and backhanding the shot past Nenciu for 11-7. Romania missed a two on one when Radu tried unsuccessfully to lob Davitashvill. Russia went to a timeout at 5:09 and the ploy was to shift from three-three to four-two and score in the confusion. Zakirov was left open on the far post and he scored for 11-8. Russia's chances had dissolved and even a timeout at 0:22 couldn't see Rekechinskiy get his centre-forward shot past the impressive Nenciu.

SLOVAKIA 9 vs GREECE 11

Referees: Mario BRGULJAN (MNE), Ulrich SPIEGEL (GER).

Quarters: 2-5, 1-2, 3-2, 3-2

Teams:

SLOVAKIA: Michal GOGOLA, Peter NEBAL, Juraj ZATOVIC (1), Josef HROSIK (2), Lukas SEMAN (3), Alexander NAGY, Martin PALASCAK, Karol BACO (3), Andrej JANICEK, Martin MRAVIK, Michal KRATOCHVIL, Thomas BRUDER, Michal HRUSKA. Head Coach: Ante NAKIC.

GREECE: Nikolaos DELIGIANNIS, Anastasios SCHIZAS, Dimitrios MAZIS (3), Konstantinos KOKKINAKIS, Ioannis THOMAKOS (3), Argyris THEODOROPOULOS, Christos AFROUDAKIS (1), Georgios NTOSKAS, Georgios AFROUDAKIS (3), Dimitriy MITELOUDIS, Matthaios VOULGARAKIS, Emmanouil MYLONAKIS (1), Georgios REPPAS. Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.

Match report:

Greece came from two goals down in the opening quarter to 5-2 ahead at the first break and onward to a narrow victory. This was an engrossing encounter with Slovakia still fresh from the one-goal loss to Romania the night before. Once Slovakia had gained the 2-0 lead by 5:53 it looked good but Greece was patient and, with Mazis scoring twice, Greece was 5-2 four minutes later. That was five goals in three and a half minutes. Hrosik scored his second but Mylonakis and captain Georgios Afroudakis gave Greece a handsome halftime lead. Thomakos extended it to 8-3 and Greece was thinking of tomorrow's match. Bad thoughts! Seman scored twice and after a timeout, Baco converted and Slovakia was back in the game. Thankfully for Greece, Mazis netted a third goal for 9-6 at the final break. Slovakia still wasn't done and Zatovic converted extra for 9-7 on the first attack of the fourth period. The Afroudakis brothers combined with Cristos zipping the ball into Georgios on extra for 10-7 at 6:45. Thomakos put the result beyond doubt on a drive at 2:51 but Slovakia still pressed the attack, gaining a goal through Baco at 1:20. Slovakia took a timeout at 0:24 and Baco claimed his third goal for 11-9. Greece took a timeout at 0:03 with Thomakos not getting the shot away.

Tuesday, March 4

DAY 3 RECAP

Group of death far from decided

By Russell McKinnon
FINA Press Commission

Oradea, Romania (March 4).— In every tournament there is usually one group harder than the rest and in Oradea it's Group A at the men's Olympic Games Qualification Tournament at the Ioan Alexandrescu Pool. The Group of Death contains three teams, each of whom is capable of winning the group and the real action doesn't start happening until tomorrow. Greece made it three from three with a capable 18-8 dumping of Kazakhstan. Greece is yet to play its two toughest matches, Romania tomorrow and Russia on Thursday. Romania took time to shrug off Brazil with a five-goal final quarter for a 13-4 win. Russia and Slovakia are the other teams capable of doing well here but Slovakia's chances are quickly slipping out the door, especially after losing 12-3 to Russia in the final game of the day. With Slovakia out of the picture, it will be left to the big three to decide who wins the group and gets the easy route to Beijing. Germany took a stranglehold on Group B with a cruising 9-4 victory over the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. With three straight wins it leads the group from Italy, who almost lost its game with Canada. Canada was three up on Italy in the final quarter but allowed the Italians back into the game in a final period littered with goals. Most everyone would agree that Canada was the better team and deserved a second win. The other team to throw away victory was Iran, who, despite drawing each of the first three quarters with Mexico went to a three-goal lead and then watched as Mexico equalised and nearly snatched victory. Canada and the Macedonians will clash in the first game tomorrow in what is their most important game, probably deciding who will advance to the quarterfinals. The group decider between Germany and Italy is not until Thursday.

ITALY 7 vs CANADA 7

Referees: Erhan TULGA (TUR), Nikolaos STAVROPOULOS (GRE)

Quarters: 2-2, 0-2, 1-1, 4-2

Teams:

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI, Francesco POSTIGLIONE (1), Leonardo BINCHI, Fabrizio BUONOCORE, Luigi DI COSTANZO (1), Maurizio FELUGO (2), Andrea MANGIANTE, Alberto ANGELINI, Fabio BENCIVENGA (1), Alessandro CALCATERRA (2), Leonardo SOLTANI, Federico MISTRANGELO, Fabio VIOLETTI. Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

CANADA: Robin RANDELL, Constantine KUDABA, Devon DIGGLE, Kevin MITCHELL, Justin BOYD, Thomas MARKS (1), Brandon JUNG, Kevin GRAHAM (2), Aaron FELTHAM (1), Sasa PALAMAREVIC, Jean SAYEGH, Nathaniel MILLER (3), Nicholas YOUNGBLUD. Head Coach: Dragan JOVANOVIC.

Match report:

Canada was unlucky not to win this match, having made the play for the entire game against an Italian team struggling to get shots on target. The largely amateur Canada was the better team and outshone the highly paid professionals of Italy. Canada managed to negate the centre forward play of Calcaterra, with the exception of two goals from him in the first quarter. Miller and Graham had the Canadians ahead before Calcaterra levelled. Felthan and Graham on extra had the lead for Canada at the break. This noticeably upset Italy. Miller flicked in a loose rebound from one metre to take Canada 5-2 ahead midway through the second quarter. Postiglione broke an Italian drought that lasted more than 17 minutes of play. The game turned in the fourth quarter against Canada when a shot on extra barred out. Nine seconds later Bencivenga converted a penalty and at 5-4, Italy was back in the game. Di Costanzo levelled on extra at 3:30. With two minutes left in the game, the drama began. What followed was just amazing. Four goals came in the next 73 seconds. Marks fired in from the top on extra at 1:59. Felugo sent one in off the right post from the top on action at 1:34. Miller, who was injured in the second quarter and only returned to the pool late in the third, snapped in a backhand from centre forward at 1:16 for a 7-6 lead. Felugo levelled at 0:46 on extra from deepish left. Then the fun really started. Italy called a timeout and the clock showed 15 seconds left. An argument ensued and the clock was changed to 17 seconds. The shot was blocked but Italy regained and drew an exclusion at 0:02 with Feltham ejected. Another timeout was called and trouble with the clock, Italy said. However, the time stood, the ball was passed once, dropped, recovered and sent into the net but the referee had called time. The hooter did not sound but the clock was clearly reading 0:00 before the shot was taken. Italy disagreed, approached the score bench en masse to protest but only drew a game it should have lost.

GERMANY 9 vs MACEDONIA 4

Referees: Radu MATACHE (ROU), Sergey NAUMOV (RUS).

Quarters: 3-1, 3-1, 1-0, 2-2

Teams:

GERMANY: Alexander TCHIGIR, Florian NAROSKA, Timo PURSCHKE, Marko SAVIC (2), Steffen DIEROLF, Mark POLITZE (1), Heiko NOSSEK (3), Thomas SCHERTWITIS (1), Tobias KREUZMANN, Moritz OELER (1), Andreas SCHLOTTERBECK, Soren MACKEBEN (1), Michael ZELLMER. Head Coach: Hagen STAMM.

FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia): Dalibor PERCINIC, Risto MAGKOVIC, Ivan VUKSANOVIC, Goran KRSTONOSIC (1), Hebojsa MILIC, Saso POPOVSKI (1), Marko MICIC, Vladimir KRECKOVIC (1), Dusan KRSTIC, Marko BASIC, Dimitah DIMOVSKI, Danijel BENIC (1), Milos UROSEVIC. Head Coach: Alexandar KRSTONOSIC.

Match report:

Both teams appeared to be going through the motions in a low-key game. Both have bigger fish to fry in later matches — games they need to win to qualify. The Macedonians opened on extra inside the first minute but it was 12 minutes later that another goal came their way. In the meantime, Germany used superior skills to amass five goals. The bes goal of the first half was when Savic drove to the left post, turned and accepted a pass, dragging it backwards past the goalkeeper. It brought up a 6-2 halftime score. The only goal of the third period was Politze's penalty. Nossek and Oeler stretched the margin to 9-2 but the final two goals came from FYROM on timeout ploys.

MEXICO 8 vs IRAN 8

Referees: Jan BOHAT (SVK), Aaron CHANEY (USA).

Quarters: 1-1, 2-2, 2-2, 3-3

Teams:

IRAN: Ali Reza SHAHIDIPOUR, Arameh AGHAZARIAN, Seyed MIR MEDI (5), Mahdi KARAMIZARANDI, Mohammad MEHDI TEIRAN, Ali PIROZKHAH, Kambiz AFSHARI (1), Khadempir SOHEIL (1), Mohsen JALILI, Shirijian ALIAKBAR (1), Sadjad ABDIHANJANI, Amir HOSSEIN KHANI, Meisam JAFARI. Head Coach: Nevan KOVACEVIC.

MEXICO: Orlando ORTEGA, Diego CASTANEDA, Rainer SCHMIDT, Jorge LOPEZ (2), Daniel VAZQUEZ, Maximiliano AGUILAR (2), Oliver ALVAREZ (2), Fausto VAZQUEZ, Armando GARCIA, Richard SCHMIDT, Gonzalo MEJIA (1), Jorge PEREZ (1), Andres ONETO. Head Coach: Raul DE LA PENA.

Match report:

The excitement level might have down a little from the first match of the day but the intensity levels were there throughout. Both teams played with vigour and the scores were level at one, two, three, four and five but in the final quarter Iran started to pull away. The teams seemed to get better as the game went on but too often there was hesitation and overlaps weren't punished. Iran relied heavily on Mir Mehdi, scoring the first four goals and gaining another in the final period. When Iran went three up, Mexico was stung into action and scored twice in less than a minute on two extra situations. Alvarez's deflected goal was a thunderbolt. Much like Italy earlier, Mexico was desperate to atone but lost a player inside the last minute, giving Iran a timeout for Croatian coach Kovacevic to mastermind the victory. Mir Mehdi's shot was blocked and when the ball went under, the referee went to a jump ball, which Iran won. An Iranian shot unnecessarily early in possession was tipped over and the ball regained but it was turned over and Mexico went on counter with Lopez lobbing to equalise. Mexico had done an Italy. Iran had a shot deflected by the goalie and in the last two seconds tried for a penalty but no joy. Iran had thrown away victory.

KAZAHKSTAN 8 vs GREECE 18

Referees: Mario BRGULJAN (MNE), Mariano DAVALOS (MEX).

Quarters: 6-2, 6-1, 5-2, 1-3

Teams:

GREECE: Nikolaos DELIGIANNIS, Anastasios SCHIZAS, Dimitrios MAZIS (1), Konstantinos KOKKINAKIS, Ioannis THOMAKOS (3), Argyris THEODOROPOULOS (2), Christos AFROUDAKIS (2), Georgios NTOSKAS (2), Georgios AFROUDAKIS (2), Dimitriy MITELOUDIS (3), Matthaios VOULGARAKIS, Emmanouil MYLONAKIS (3), Georgios REPPAS. Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.

KAZAKHSTAN: Dimitriy AXYONKIN, Mixail KOLOTVIN, Amirbek SAPAROV, Nurlan SARTAEV (1), Alan ORAZALINOV (1), Roman PILIPENKO (2), Yernur KOILEYEV, Rustam UKUMANOV (2), Mikhail RUDAY (1), Ravil MANAFOV (1), Adil TEMRXANOV, Alexex DENCHENKO. Head Coach: Askar ORAZALINOV.

Match report:

Greece took a third win from as many games with a comfortable demolition of Kazakhstan. Greece was 17-5 up before Campagna used his bench and lost the final quarter 3-1. Greece sharpened its game and looked a contender for top spot at this event with a barrage of accurate shots and six from seven on extra-man attack. Kazakhstan, on the other hand, struggled to find a way through the tight defence that resembled some of the denuded trees outside the pool. The pressure Greece put on Kazakhstan all around the pool made it hard to set up attacks and shots came from outside on a regular basis. Greece had the luxury of space and with Thomakos firing in four missiles, a big win was inevitable. Captain Georgios Afroudakis was not injected into play until the third quarter when he scored twice in a dominant cameo. While Greece revelled in its extra-man statistics, Kazakhstan could only manage to earn one ejection, which it didn't convert.

BRAZIL 4 vs ROMANIA 13

Referees:Ulrich SPIEGEL (GER), Nader GHAFOURI (IRI).

Quarters: 0-3, 2-2, 2-3, 0-5

Teams:

BRAZIL: Luis SANTOS, Vicente HENRIQUES, Gabriel ROCHA (1), Lucas VITA, Marcelo FRANCO (1), Conrado BERTOWZZI, Bernardo ROCCA, Felipe SILVA (1), Erik SEEGERER, Bruno NOLASCO, Mario CAROTINI (1), Rafael FARIAS, Anderson SOUZA. Head Coach: Barbaro DIAS.

ROMANIA: Bertina NENCIU, Cosmin RADU (4), Tiberiu NEGREAN (1), Florin BONCA (1), Andrei IOSEP, Andrei BUSILA (1), Gheorghe DUNCA, Ramiro GEORGESCU (1), Edward ANDREI-DINA (3), George GEORGESCU (1), Cosmin BAIDOC, Kalman KADAR, Robert DINU. Head Coach: Vlad HAGIU.

Match report:

Romania took a long time to satisfy its insatiable fans. Brazil proved a worthy opponent for three quarters of the match but struggled to keep up with the Europeans in the final quarter. Romania could have finished the Brazilians earlier but easy scoring options went begging. Romania and Andrei-Dina in particular, had the crowd happy with a 4-0 lead early in the second quarter. By the time Andrei-Dina added his third goal, Romania was 7-3 ahead and it could have been 8-4 if Andrei-Dina didn¹t bounce his extra-man chance high over the crossbar after a timeout. The 8-4 came thanks to a Radu shot on extra, that barely crossed the line before being snatched out by Santos just 15 seconds from the final break. Five different scorers cleaned out Brazil in the final period, including the popular left-handed Radu with his fourth.

SLOVAKIA 3 vs RUSSIA 12

Referees: Luka VULETIC (CRO), Doriel TERPENKA (CAN).

Quarters: 4-0, 2-2, 3-1, 3-0

Teams:

RUSSIA: Seman DAVITASHVILI, Sergey LISUNOV, Sergey EVSTIGNEEV (2), Evgeny FINAEV, Roman BALASHOV (1), Alexander ERYSHOV (2), Pavel KHALTURIN (2), Dmitry STRATAN (1), Andrey REKECHINSKIY (1), Marat ZAKIROV (1), Sergey GARBUZOV (2), Irek ZINNUROV, Dmitry DUDKIN. Head Coach: Boris POPOV.

SLOVAKIA: Michal GOGOLA, Peter NEBAL, Juraj ZATOVIC (1), Josef HROSIK (1), Lukas SEMAN, Alexander NAGY, Martin PALASCAK (1), Karol BACO, Andrej JANICEK, Martin MRAVIK, Michal KRATOCHVIL, Thomas BRUDER, Michal HRUSKA. Head Coach: Ante NAKIC.

Match report:

Slovakia was a worthy adversary but Russia was too strong and proved that with a quick start of four goals in the first quarter and improved it to five. Evstigneev started the rout with two shots from the top in the first two minutes with the second sliding into the bottom right corner. Slovakia hit the scoresheet through Zatovic on extra at 5:29 of the second quarter and two minutes later through Hrosik from the penalty line. Stratan made it 6-2 and 30 seconds from halftime. Zatovic had the opportunity to convert a penalty. However, Dudkin stopped it with his left hand. Garbuzov and Eryshov shut out the Slovakians with goals in the third for 8-2. Palascak claimed one from the top but Eryshov did the same at the other end last in the period for 9-3 at the final break of the day. Rekechinskiy added to Slovakia's woes with a score on counter a minute into the fourth period. Russia and then Slovakia took timeouts but neither gained an advantage from the resulting plays. Khalturin made a name for himself with two quick goals in the last three minutes, one on extra and the other on counter. Slovakia's second timeout at 0:46 yielded nothing but at the other end Russia secured a penalty foul with one tenth of a second remaining. Khalturin's shot was blocked by Gogola.

Wednesday, March 5

DAY 4 RECAP

Crunch day looms with two Olympic berths to be decided

By Russell McKinnon
FINA Press Commission Member

Oradea, Romania (March 5).— Greece and Germany are in the box seats for a trip to Beijing should they come through critical matches at the men’s Olympic Games Qualification Tournament at the Ioan Alexandrescu Pool here tomorrow. Germany is currently unbeaten in Group B with four wins while Italy is close behind with three wins and a draw. The group winners automatically take two of the four berths available here. Greece tore the hearts out of the Romanians when it won 8-7 in an absolute thriller where the game was locked six times. The winning goal was a slider from eight metres inside the last half-minute. While Greece will be elated, thoughts will quickly turn to tomorrow’s last preliminary round encounter with Russia, who defeated Brazil 11-3 tonight. Should Russia win and Romania beats Kazakhstan as expected, then there would be a three-way tie and Romania would probably win the group. Greece just needs a draw to go to Beijing. Germany and Italy will play off for Group B’s automatic position in the Olympics. In fact, Germany just needs to at least draw the game to get to Beijing without the complications of the quarterfinals. Germany strolled past Iran 18-2 today for four straight victories. Italy was equally unashamed in piling on the goals, downing Mexico 25-4. But the previous day’s draw with Canada will force Italy to go strongly for the win to get that Olympic berth a day earlier than the cut-off date. Canada is still in the mix for second spot in the group but needs a huge assistance from Germany tomorrow. However, it secured a top-three position by defeating the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia 12-7, which has no chance of playing a meaningful match in the quarterfinals.

MACEDONIA 7 vs CANADA 12


Referees: Luka VULETIC (CRO), Radu MATACHE (ROU).

Quarters: 3-3, 2-3, 2-4, 0-2

Teams:

FYROM: Dalibor PERCINIC, Risto MAGKOVIC, Ivan VUKSANOVIC (2), Goran KRSTONOSIC (3), Hebojsa MILIC, Saso POPOVSKI, Marko MICIC (1), Vladimir KRECKOVIC, Dusan KRSTIC, Marko BASIC (1), Dimitah DIMOVSKI, Danijel BENIC, Milos UROSEVIC. Head Coach: Alexandar KRSTONOSIC.

CANADA: Robin RANDALL, Constantine KUDABA (1), Devon DIGGLE, Kevin MITCHELL (1), Justin BOYD, Thomas MARKS, Brandon JUNG (1), Kevin GRAHAM (2), Aaron FELTHAM (2), Sasa PALAMAREVIC (1), Jean SAYEGH (3), Nathaniel MILLER (1), Nicholas YOUNGBLUD. Head Coach: Dragan JOVANOVIC.

Match report:

FYROM bowed out of Olympic contention with a five-goal loss to Canada. For Canada it beats the demons of allowing Italy back into the game yesterday after being three up and will have to wait until tomorrow to see which of the top three placings it will obtain in Group B. Canada had chances to put the game away earlier but was indecisive on extra man and utilised some poor shot selections. These are things Canada needs to iron out before tomorrow's vital clash with Germany. It wasn't until the last few minutes of the second quarter that Canada gained the advantage it needed against the Macedonians, who would tire in the third. When Sayegh rocketed in two left-arm goals on extra and counter at the start of the third, the result was heading Canada's way. This looked the case when FYROM's paramount player Vuksanovic was suspended for kicking. Canada went to the timeout but botched the extra-man attack and Micic scored at the other end for 8-6 down. When Sayegh scored again on extra in the last seven seconds of the quarter, Canada was almost safe. Graham put the result beyond doubt with a goal on counter at 3:33. Kudaba put the icing on the cake on counter inside the last half-minute.

MEXICO 4 vs ITALY 25

Referees: Sergey NAUMOV (RUS), Decio PATELLI (BRA).

Quarters: 0-9, 1-5, 1-3, 2-8

Teams:

MEXICO: Orlando ORTEGA, Diego CASTANEDA, Rainer SCHMIDT, Jorge LOPEZ, Daniel VAZQUEZ, Maximiliano AGUILAR, Oliver ALVAREZ (3), Fausto VAZQUEZ, Armando GARCIA, Richard SCHMIDT (1), Gonzalo MEJIA, Jorge PEREZ, Andres ONETO. Head Coach: Raul DE LA PENA.

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI, Francesco POSTIGLIONE (2), Leonardo BINCHI (4), Fabrizio BUONOCORE, Luigi DI COSTANZO (1), Maurizio FELUGO (1), Andrea MANGIANTE (2), Alberto ANGELINI (2), Fabio BENCIVENGA, Alessandro CALCATERRA (7), Leonardo SOLTANI (2), Federico MISTRANGELO (4), Fabio VIOLETTI. Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

Match report:

The game you have to have. Italy had it after a blistering first half, relinquished the accelerator and drove in neutral for the remainder of the encounter. This allowed Mexico some breathing space and set up some attacks. Italy had a full spread of goal-scorers from all over the pool. The flashiest goal of the game came from Italian captain Calcaterra. He had the luxury of backhand baulk before backhanding into goal from three metres. On one attack he gained the ball and decided not to charge into his comfort zone of two metres, deciding instead to drill the ball from six metres. It started the second-quarter scoring. He ended the first-quarter scoring when he “cherry picked”, received the ball, swam forward with the clock ticking down, baulked and scored just as the hooter sounded. He went on to score seven goals, a tournament high for one match, and has 12 for the week. Mexico would have been happy with the manner of its goals with Alvarez scoring the first from a five-metre free throw at 2:35 in the second period. His second came off a short cross pass on the two-metre line. He scored his third just four seconds from full time.


GERMANY 18 vs IRAN 2

Referees: Nikolaos STAVROPOULOS (GRE), Mikhail STEPANOV (KAZ)

Quarters: 5-0, 5-0, 5-1, 3-1

Teams:

GERMANY: Alexander TCHIGIR, Florian NAROSKA, Timo PURSCHKE, Marko SAVIC, Steffen DIEROLF (1), Mark POLITZE (2), Heiko NOSSEK (5), Thomas SCHERTWITIS (2), Tobias KREUZMANN (3), Moritz OELER (3), Andreas SCHLOTTERBECK (2), Soren MACKEBEN, Michael ZELLMER. Head Coach: Hagen STAMM.

IRAN: Ali Reza SHAHIDIPOUR, Arameh AGHAZARIAN, Seyed MIR MEDI, Mahdi KARAMIZARANDI, Mohammad MEHDI TEIRAN, Ali PIROZKHAH, Kambiz AFSHARI (1), Khadempir SOHEIL (1), Mohsen JALILI, Shirijian ALIAKBAR, Sadjad ABDIHANJANI, Amir HOSSEIN KHANI, Meisam JAFARI. Head Coach: Nevan KOVACEVIC.

Match report:

Germany maintained its unblemished record with a clinical display of water polo. It was a polished team against rank amateurs trying their best against a team just one step away from Olympic inclusion. Nossek piled on the goals with two goals in the each of the first and fourth periods with another, a penalty strike, in the third. Afshari brought up Iran’s first goal at 5:39 in the third from the top. Zellmer got his left hand on it but it just crept over the line. The second Iranian goal was excellent and one of the best of the tournament. Soheil drove down the right just as his centre forward was being mauled at two metres. The referee excellently played the advantage and Soheil, with the ball in the left hand and looking like fending off the defender behind him, surged forward and slammed the ball into goal. It was the last of the match and to Iran’s credit was still 3:28 from full time. The statistics did not favour Iran with just an 8.7 percent strike rate while Germany scored 56 percent of its chances. Germany scored four from five extra-man goals while Iran missed both its chances.

SLOVAKIA 18 vs KAZAKHSTAN 5

Referees: Doriel TERPENKA (CAN), Fillipo GOMEZ (ITA).

Quarters: 4-2, 3-1, 5-0, 6-2

Teams:

SLOVAKIA: Michal GOGOLA, Peter NEBAL (1), Juraj ZATOVIC (2), Josef HROSIK (3), Lukas SEMAN (3), Alexander NAGY, Martin PALASCAK (2), Karol BACO (4), Andrej JANICEK (1), Martin MRAVIK, Michal KRATOCHVIL, Thomas BRUDER (2), Michal HRUSKA. Head Coach: Ante NAKIC.

KAZAKHSTAN: Dimitriy AXYONKIN, Mixail KOLOTVIN, Amirbek SAPAROV, Nurlan SARTAEV, Alan ORAZALINOV, Roman PILIPENKO, Yernur KOILEYEV, Rustam UKUMANOV (3), Mikhail RUDAY, Ravil MANAFOV, Adil TEMRXANOV (2), Alexex DENCHENKO. Head Coach: Askar ORAZALINOV.

Match report:

Slovakia played a fast, open game against a team that struggled to last the distance and in the process collected its first win. With fatigue came mistakes and plenty of them by Kazakhstan. The energy and pace of Baco, the brute strength of Seman and the power and control of Hrosik, combined with a superb team effort, Slovakia rained in the goals, especially in the second half. Kazakhstan was competitive but head coach Orazalinov looked like he wanted to tear every hair out of his head at times. Ukmanunov’s second goal at 4:57 in the second period was the last for more than 14 minutes of play. Slovakia scored seven in that period with Bruder scoring from 10m and another 25 seconds later on counter. Kazakhstan used a timeout inside the last three minutes to set a penalty foul attempt, which came off and gave Ukmanunov his third goal. Slovakia scored the last three goals in 80 seconds, showing its supremacy over the Asians.

RUSSIA 11 vs BRAZIL 3

Referees: Aaron CHANEY (USA), Andrej GJORGJIEVSKI (MKD).

Quarters: 4-2, 2-0, 2-0, 3-1

Teams:

RUSSIA: Seman DAVITASHVILI, Sergey LISUNOV (1), Sergey EVSTIGNEEV, Evgeny FINAEV, Roman BALASHOV, Alexander ERYSHOV (1), Pavel KHALTURIN (1), Dmitry STRATAN (2), Andrey REKECHINSKIY, Marat ZAKIROV (1), Sergey GARBUZOV (2), Irek ZINNUROV (2), Dmitry DUDKIN. Head Coach: Boris POPOV.

BRAZIL: Luis SANTOS, Vicente HENRIQUES (1), Gabriel ROCHA (1), Lucas VITA, Marcelo FRANCO, Conrado BERTOWZZI, Bernardo ROCCA, Felipe SILVA, Erik SEEGERER, Bruno NOLASCO (1), Mario CAROTINI, Rafael FARIAS, Anderson SOUZA. Head Coach: Barbaro DIAS.

Match report:

Brazil proved a tough customer but Russia slowly unravelled its attack and surged to a comfortable and controlled victory. Goals were hard to come by for Brazil but the first quarter yielded a goal on extra and a second from the penalty line. Strata scored his second just 16 seconds from the first break, making the scoreline look good for Russia. Brazil, with a strong defence, limited Russia to four goals in the next two quarters but one was on counter and Eryshov’s goal midway through the third quarter was gained on a cross pass at two metres when unguarded. Lisunov’s goal at the top of the fourth was gained in the same manner. At 5:11 of the fourth, Gabriel Rocha scored from centre forward when pushed out to four metres and with three defenders solidly hammering away at him. The goal was 21 minutes after Henriques’ penalty. Russia finished with the final two goals and now has its eyes firmly set on the crucial match-up with Greece tomorrow.

ROMANIA 7 vs GREECE 8

Referees: Mario BRGULJAN (MNE), Erhan TULGA (TUR)

Quarters: 2-3, 1-1, 1-0, 3-4

Teams:

ROMANIA: Bertina NENCIU, Cosmin RADU (4), Tiberiu NEGREAN, Florin BONCA (1), Andrei IOSEP, Andrei BUSILA (1), Gheorghe DUNCA, Ramiro GEORGESCU, Edward ANDREI-DINA (1), George GEORGESCU, Cosmin BAIDOC, Kalman KADAR, Robert DINU. Head Coach: Vlad HAGIU.

GREECE: Nikolaos DELIGIANNIS, Anastasios SCHIZAS, Dimitrios MAZIS, Konstantinos KOKKINAKIS (2), Ioannis THOMAKOS (1), Argyris THEODOROPOULOS (2), Christos AFROUDAKIS (1), Georgios NTOSKAS (2), Georgios AFROUDAKIS (1), Dimitriy MITELOUDIS, Matthaios VOULGARAKIS, Emmanouil MYLONAKIS, Georgios REPPAS. Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.

Match report:

Undoubtedly the match of the tournament with the home fans thinking almost every call against them was wrong. With no standing room left and more than 1500 people crammed into the stadium, both teams gave a fantastic performance but in the end it was Greece who destroyed the immediate hopes of Romania. Radu was the star for Romania in the first half scoring all its goals. But Greece took a 3-1 lead through Christos Afroudakis and Kokkinakis from the top. Ntoskas scored on counter but the Romanians were screaming because one of their shots seemed to go in the goal, hitting the wood several times before popping out. Less than a minute later Radu grabbed one back from centre forward off a cross pass. Radu’s third came at the top of the second quarter on extra for 3-3. It wasn’t until nearly five minutes later that the crowd was silenced when Ntoskas scored his second on extra for a one-goal lead at halftime. Busila lifted his team’s spirits with a high shot from the top at 6:23 of the third for 4-4. Both teams took timeouts with Romania at 5:11 and Greece at 1:53. Romania’s shot smashed into Deligiannis’ stomach while Greece’s attempt evaporated when a Mylonakis’ pass to Christos Afroudakis was too high. No shot was taken within the possession period. Romania had the last big chance of the quarter but Deligiannis stopped. Just over a minute into the final period Mylonakis was ejected and Andrei-Dina converted from the top for 5-4. The deafening roar subsided quickly when Theodoropoulos did the same thing at the other end 40 seconds later. Radu gained an exclusion but his shot didn’t get past Deligiannis, much to the crowd’s disgust. The booing and the jeering continued until Georgios Afroudakis accepted an air ball in centre forward, turned and scored for a 6-5 lead at 4:34. Bonca rifled in a bouncer from the top at 4:09 and the game was levelled for the fifth time. Bonca was excluded and the pass was popped into Kokkinakis on the right post. He turned and bounced the ball in from two metres for 7-6 at 3:6. Bonca had a pass intercepted but on the next attack Radu drew and exclusion on Mazis and an altercation occurred. Romania took a timeout and after a dozen passes Radu scored off his left hand at 0:53 and eight seconds after the man had returned. On the Greek attack and nearing the end of possession, Thomakos had a hopeful shot from eight metres and watched it slide into the bottom right at 0:28 for 8-7. The crowd was bereft. Romania still had a chance but Mylonakis stole the ball at eight metres and swam away. Greece called a timeout at 0:05. Romania pressed but Mylonakis just swam the ball for five seconds and Greece had won 8-7 but still needs to beat Russia tomorrow to win the group and go to Beijing.

Thursday, March 6

DAY 5 RECAP

Germany and Greece qualify for the Olympic Games

By Russell McKinnon
FINA Press Commission Member

Oradea, Romania (March 6).— Germany and Greece became the ninth and 10th teams to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games men’s water polo tournament today. Competing at the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament at the Ioan Alexandrescu Pool here, Germany gained a 5-all draw with three-time champion Italy, just enough to take out Group B. Greece will be back at the Olympics hopefully to go one better than 2004 and make the dais in Beijing after defeating Russia 8-6 to claim Group A. Germany’s encounter was nail-biting with the final scoreline being reached with nearly four minutes left in the third period. It was all defence from there in a game where Italy led 4-1 until late in the second quarter.

German head coach Hagen Stamm said: “It is a big honour to be the first team to qualify from this tournament. It makes sure of the money for the next four years and the next generation. It is an excellent success, especially to come from 3-0 and 4-1 down. No one at the pool thought we had any chance to come back and we did it. “I am very proud of the team because it continued fighting (to come back). The Italian game was our biggest success. We played good against Canada, MKD and Italy. “The most important thing was our man down (defence) at the end of the game,” he said. “It was a physically hard game but the most important thing is that we came back from 4-1 to 5-4.”

Italy now moves to the crucial quarterfinals tomorrow against Russia in a clash where three-time champion Italy meets Russia, who won two gold medals as the USSR. One goes to Beijing while the other drops out.Greece played a controlled game and always had the edge on Russia, never being headed from the moment Christos Afroudakis scored the opener in the first minute. Greece held 6-3 and 7-4 leads but Russia came back with two goals in two minutes midway through the final quarter. It was three minutes later that Ioannis Thomakos put the game and the qualification spot beyond doubt.

Head coach Alessandro Campagna was ecstatic after the match. The former Italian Olympic champion said: “We deserved to qualify because we played very well at the tournament, especially in the match-up yesterday with Romania. We were composed and took the pressure in front of many spectators. We played and reacted very well. “I now have plenty of good information for the future. We won as the protagonist and the players believe in themselves much more.” When asked what went through his mind when Thomakos scored the winner from well outside in the last minute, Campagna said: “That was the moment the ticket for Beijing was history!”
Romania skittled Kazakhstan 19-2 to take second place in the group and will face Canada, an 18-6 winner over Mexico today, in the other quarterfinal. It will be a tough ask for Canada to play in front of about 1800 people, dominated by Romanians, for the final berth to Beijing.
In other games today, Slovakia beat Brazil 12-6 for fourth and fifth spots in the group as it turned out, and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia swam past Iran 11-6 for fourth and fifth ranking in Group B.

ITALY 5 vs GERMANY 5

Referees: Luka VULETIC (CRO), Mario BRGULJAN (MNE)

Quarters: 3-0,1-3, 1-2, 0-0

Teams:

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI, Francesco POSTIGLIONE, Leonardo BINCHI, Fabrizio BUONOCORE, Luigi DI COSTANZO (2), Maurizio FELUGO (1), Andrea MANGIANTE, Alberto ANGELINI, Fabio BENCIVENGA (1), Alessandro CALCATERRA (1), Leonardo SOLTANI, Federico MISTRANGELO, Fabio VIOLETTI. Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

GERMANY: Alexander TCHIGIR, Florian NAROSKA, Timo PURSCHKE, Marko SAVIC, Steffen DIEROLF (1), Mark POLITZE (2), Heiko NOSSEK (2), Thomas SCHERTWITIS, Tobias KREUZMANN, Moritz OELER, Andreas SCHLOTTERBECK, Soren MACKEBEN, Michael ZELLMER. Head Coach: Hagen STAMM.

Match report:

The fact Italy could only score two goals in three quarters of water polo led to its not gaining an Olympic berth. Germany just needed the draw to go to Beijing as the group winner and when the game was locked at 5-5 halfway through the third period, few would guess that it would be the final score. Neither could penetrate the defence and not many shots at this stage looked like going in. Italy started strongly at 3-0 up after seven minutes with one on extra. Germany did not panic, even when the teams traded extra-man goals midway through the second period. Inside the last two minutes before halftime, Germany gained two more extra-man goals but was still a goal down. The game levelled when Politze converted a penalty at 7:19 of the third. He then went for his third major when swimming over an opponent. Mistrangelo gained his third immediately after. Nossek gave Germany the edge at 4:15 on extra but the celebrations were put on hold when Felugo scored the sixth extra-man goal of the game for 5-5. Both teams took timeouts to no avail and Germany used its time in the last minute to the fullest but that still left Italy 10 seconds after a timeout. Sadly for Italy the ball missed Calcaterra at two metres and skidded past into Germany’s arms. The delight was obvious as head coach Hagen Stamm and his fellow officials joined the team in the water to celebrate inclusion in the 2008 Olympic Games, taking the first berth from this event. Nossek increased his scoring to 16 goals for the tournament and Calcaterra 13.

MEXICO 6 vs CANADA 18

Referees: Decio PATTELI (BRA), Mikhail STEPANOV (KAZ)

Quarters: 2-2, 1-5, 0-6, 3-5

Teams:

MEXICO: Orlando ORTEGA, Diego CASTANEDA, Rainer SCHMIDT, Jorge LOPEZ, Daniel VAZQUEZ, Maximiliano AGUILAR (1), Oliver ALVAREZ (1), Fausto VAZQUEZ (2), Armando GARCIA, Richard SCHMIDT, Gonzalo MEJIA (2), Jorge PEREZ, Andres ONETO. Head Coach: Raul DE LA PENA.

CANADA: Robin RANDALL, Constantine KUDABA, Devon DIGGLE, Kevin MITCHELL (2), Justin BOYD (5), Thomas MARKS (1), Brandon JUNG, Kevin GRAHAM (2), Aaron FELTHAM (3), Sasa PALAMAREVIC (1), Jean SAYEGH (3), Nathaniel MILLER (1), Nicholas YOUNGBLUD. Head Coach: Dragan JOVANOVIC.

Match report:

Canada wrapped up third in Group B with a flogging of Mexico and finished just two points behind group winner Germany and a point adrift of second-placed Italy. Canada has played some great water polo here this week but the first quarter wasn’t some of it. Mejia equalised twice for Mexico, as Canada could not get into rhythm. Once head coach Jovanovic delivered a short, sharp message and walked away from his team at the break, Canada started producing. Three came in four minutes and then the funniest thing happened. A timeout was called by Canada. Or that’s what the man on the button sitting behind the bench thought. Silly really as no one calls a timeout after scoring a goal. It was dismissed after a couple of minutes and the game continued with Sayegh scoring a second. Vazquez gave Mexico its third goal after a timeout strategy and Palamarevic closed the half’s scoring on extra for 7-3. From then on it was all Canada with a shutout. Canada opened the final quarter for an eight straight goal and stepped off the accelerator allowing Mexico to score three times before the end of the match.

BRAZIL 6 vs SLOVAKIA 12

Referees: Sergey NAUMOV (RUS), Radu MATACHE (ROU)

Quarters: 1-1, 1-3, 4-5, 0-3

Teams:

BRAZIL: Luis SANTOS, Vicente HENRIQUES (2), Gabriel ROCHA (1), Lucas VITA, Marcelo FRANCO, Conrado BERTOWZZI, Bernardo ROCCA, Felipe SILVA (1), Erik SEEGERER, Bruno NOLASCO (2), Mario CAROTINI, Rafael FARIAS, Anderson SOUZA. Head Coach: Barbaro DIAS.

SLOVAKIA: Michal GOGOLA, Peter NEDBAL (1), Juraj ZATOVIC (2), Josef HROSIK (3), Lukas SEMAN, Alexander NAGY, Martin PALASCAK (1), Karol BACO (2), Andrej JANICEK (1), Martin MRAVIK, Michal KRATOCHVIL (2), Thomas BRUDER, Michal HRUSKA. Head Coach: Ante NAKIC.

Match report:

Slovakia secured fourth position in Group A with what was a hard-fought victory. There was only a goal in it halfway through the third period but then the greater experience of Slovakia shone through. Brazil levelled twice in the first half and narrowed the margin to one when Nolasco scored his second from the penalty line at 3:46. But Zatovic took it two out and, after a timeout; Baco converted off only the second pass. Palascak, also on extra, had Slovakia comfortably at 9-5 a minute from the final break. However, it was Gabriel Rocha who scored from two metres for 9-6. Brazil wasn’t in the picture in the final quarter, except when the high-performing Santos stopped Baco’s penalty attempt. Brazil must now compete in the bottom-four group while Slovakia has a rest tomorrow before playing the 7-10 group on the final two days.

GREECE 8 vs RUSSIA 6

Referees: Erhan TULGA (TUR), Aaron CHANEY (USA)

Quarters: 2-1, 2-1, 2-2, 2-2

Teams:

GREECE: Nikolaos DELIGIANNIS, Anastasios SCHIZAS, Dimitrios MAZIS, Konstantinos KOKKINAKIS, Ioannis THOMAKOS (2), Argyris THEODOROPOULOS, Christos AFROUDAKIS (1), Georgios NTOSKAS (4), Georgios AFROUDAKIS, Dimitriy MITELOUDIS, Matthaios VOULGARAKIS, Emmanouil MYLONAKIS (1), Georgios REPPAS. Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.

RUSSIA: Seman DAVITASHVILI, Sergey LISUNOV, Sergey EVSTIGNEEV, Evgeny FINAEV, Roman BALASHOV (1), Alexander ERYSHOV, Pavel KHALTURIN (1), Dmitry STRATAN (2), Andrey REKECHINSKIY, Marat ZAKIROV, Sergey GARBUZOV (1), Irek ZINNUROV (1), Dmitry DUDKIN. Head Coach: Boris POPOV.

Match report:

Greece can thank Ntoskas for his four glorious goals and Thomakos for a near-halfway slider well inside the final minute for a berth in Beijing. Greece was the better team and led all the way. It also had the confidence on extra man. However, it was Ntoskas who stole the show with his shots from deep left squeezing their way past the post and lifting the energy in the Greek team. A late save on extra by Deligiannis from point-blank range typified Russia’s bad luck. The winner in a very tight match came off the arm of Thomakos. Greece didn’t want to fire in a quick shot and the ball was passed way back to Thomakos near halfway at the end of possession time. With almost everyone else down in front of Greece’s goal, Thomakos threw a long, low shot and it slipped under Davitashvili’s right arm at 0:34, had Greece two goals up and sent the team to Beijing. The goalie may think it was his fault Russia has yet to qualify but it was the team that didn’t fire against a country starting to believe it is an Olympic contender. Russia valiantly tried to come back into the game midway through the final quarter, narrowing the game to 7-6 when Stratan dragged down a ball on extra but it was too late.

IRAN 6 vs FYRO MACEDONIA 11

Referees: Jan BOHAT (SVK), Mariano DAVALOS (MEX)

Quarters: 0-2, 1-3, 2-3, 3-3

Teams:

IRAN: Ali Reza SHAHIDIPOUR, Arameh AGHAZARIAN (1), Seyed MIR MEDI, Mahdi KARAMIZARANDI (1), Mohammad MEHDI TEIRAN (1), Ali PIROZKHAH, Kambiz AFSHARI (2), Khadempir SOHEIL, Mohsen JALILI, Shirijian ALIAKBAR, Sadjad ABDIHANJANI, Amir HOSSEIN KHANI, Meisam JAFARI (1). Head Coach: Nevan KOVACEVIC.

FYROM: Dalibor PERCINIC, Risto MAGKOVIC, Ivan VUKSANOVIC (2), Goran KRSTONOSIC, Hebojsa MILIC, Saso POPOVSKI (1), Marko MICIC (2), Vladimir KRECKOVIC, Dusan KRSTIC (2), Marko BASIC (1), Dimitah DIMOVSKI (1), Danijel BENIC (2), Milos UROSEVIC. Head Coach: Alexandar KRSTONOSIC.

Match report:

FYRO’s former Serbian players were too strong for the Iranians, who showed plenty of zest until the final whistle. MKD shot to a 6-1 lead at the start of the third quarter but from then on the game was even. The determination of both teams to play well in the final quarter resulted in better shots and less fumbling as had been displayed earlier. Four of the goals came in the last two minutes with the last two in the final 16 seconds. Mehdi Tieran was spectacular when he drove down the left after Dimovski’s goal at 16 seconds, He picked up and sent the ball into the net with three seconds left on the clock. MKD hadn’t improved as much in the five days as Iran has and former Croatian men’s coach Kovacevic must be pleased with the progression in such elite company.

ROMANIA 19 vs KAZAKHSTAN 2

Referees: Fillipo GOMEZ (ITA), Ulrich SPIEGEL (GER)

Quarters: 5-0, 4-0, 2-1, 8-1

Teams:

ROMANIA: Bertina NENCIU, Cosmin RADU (1), Tiberiu NEGREAN (3), Florin BONCA (1), Andrei IOSEP (3), Andrei BUSILA, Gheorghe DUNCA (2), Ramiro GEORGESCU (2), Edward ANDREI-DINA (3), George GEORGESCU (2), Cosmin BAIDOC, Kalman KADAR (2), Robert DINU. Head Coach: Vlad HAGIU.

KAZAKHSTAN: Dimitriy AXYONKIN, Mixail KOLOTVIN, Amirbek SAPAROV, Nurlan SARTAEV, Alan ORAZALINOV, Roman PILIPENKO (1), Yernur KOILEYEV, Rustam UKUMANOV (1), Mikhail RUDAY, Ravil MANAFOV, Adil TEMRXANOV, Alexex DENCHENKO. Head Coach: Askar ORAZALINOV.

Match report:

Romania settled for second position in the group and looks forward to tomorrow’s all-import battle for the final berth in Beijing. For tonight it was a straight-forward exercise in getting things right, honing skills and combinations and keeping the fans happy. Only about 800 turned up to witness the annihilation of Kazakhstan but they were vocal just as much as previous nights, especially when the word “goaaaaaaaaal” came up on the screen. Kazakhstan tried hard but could only gain a long lob from Pilipenko as a consolation, coming early in the third period. Ukumanov scored late in the fourth quarter. Nenciu was given the night off and Dinu got a decent run in goal. The Romanian intensity was there all game as it will be needed in tomorrow’s clash with Canada. Radu, who has pleased all week, took until the final quarter to gain his goal.

Friday, March 7

Final standings Preliminary Round

Group A: Greece* 1st (10), Romania 2nd (8), Russia 3rd (6),
              Slovakia 4th (4), Brazil 5th (2), Kazakhstan 6th (0).

Group B: Germany* 1st (9), Italy 2nd (8 ), Canada 3rd (7),
              Macedonia 4th (4), Iran 5th (1), Mexico 6th (1).

* Qualified for 2008 Olympic Games.

DAY 6 RECAP

Canada defies predictions and qualifies alongside Italy

By Russell McKinnon
FINA Press Commission

Oradea, Romania (March 7).— A pall hung over the Ioan Alexandrescu Pool here as the unthinkable happened and Romania did NOT qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games.
In a major upset Canada, a team that hasn’t attended the Olympic Games since 1984 when it entered by the back door in the international boycott and by hosting them in Montreal in 1976, beat the home team 9-8 in front of 1500 spectators.

When the crowd had filed out in near silence, head coach Vlad Hagiu was still riveted to his chair in despair. The dreams of nation had been shattered. Canada gained the victory in a spectacular second quarter, coming from 2-0 down to an impressive 6-5 up. The margin increased to two by the final break and then to three in the fourth. With 4:29 remaining there was still time for Romania to come back but despite goals to Georghe Dunca and Ramiro Georgescu, and a chance on extra in the final seconds, a Romanian accidentally handed the ball to Canada and the dream was gone.

Canada’s dream was just starting. Head coach Dragan Jovanovic said he was, naturally, feeling really good. “I told the boys if we survived the first half and the Romanian spectators then we had a chance. The first quarter we did not perform well but all the pressure was on Romania, who was expected to win. “ I tried to keep the team calm and stick to our goals. We have a huge heart and commitment and had an incredible desire in this game.

“The team hasn’t performed this well ever before. We lost two important players (from the World Championships) last year and we have five players aged 18 to 21… We all got together and formed a team plan and we stuck to it from the first moment until the last moment,” Jovanovic said.

On what it means to Canada, he said: “This is huge for Canada that one of our teams qualified (the Canadian women lost the same match in Imperia, Italy two weeks ago). We will mostly likely survive the next four years financially and make some really good progress, he said.“I hope that people in Canada who decide on sports’ futures analyse our path in the last four years and won’t kill teams sports as rumours suggest.”

All the focus was on the main match of the evening but earlier two exciting teams clashed for the 11th berth — Italy and Russia. Italy took the spot at the expense of double champion Russia (as USSR) with an 11-10 margin. Italy had the wood on Russia all night and only had the lead for 28 seconds in the first quarter while four times drawing level in the first half. Italy played the ball sensibly in the final minute, survived a timeout scare and made sure of going to Beijing.

In what is now a relaxed tournament with no medals or prizes but perhaps bragging rights, Greece and Italy will clash in one semifinal and Germany will take on Canada in the other tomorrow evening. At the lower end of the competition, four teams battled for the right to play in the 7-10 bracket and miss the play-off for 11-12. Iran upset Kazakhstan 6-4 and Brazil edged Mexico 8-7. Having a rest today were the group winners, Greece and Germany and the fourth-ranked teams, the Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia and Slovakia.

 

KAZAKHSTAN 4 vs IRAN 6

Referees: Andrej GJORGJIEVSKI (MKD), Mariano DAVALOS (MEX)

Quarters: 2-1, 1-3, 1-1, 0-1

Teams:

KAZAKHSTAN: Dimitriy AXYONKIN, Mixail KOLOTVIN, Amirbek SAPAROV, Nurlan SARTAEV (1), Alan ORAZALINOV, Roman PILIPENKO, Yernur KOILEYEV, Rustam UKUMANOV (1), Mikhail RUDAY, Ravil MANAFOV (1), Adil TEMRXANOV (1), Alexex DENCHENKO. Head Coach: Askar ORAZALINOV.

IRAN: Ali Reza SHAHIDIPOUR, Arameh AGHAZARIAN, Seyed MIR MEDI (2), Mahdi KARAMIZARANDI (1), Mohammad MEHDI TEIRAN, Ali PIROZKHAH, Kambiz AFSHARI (1), Khadempir SOHEIL, Mohsen JALILI, Shirijian ALIAKBAR, Sadjad ABDIHANJANI, Amir HOSSEIN KHANI (3), Meisam JAFARI. Head Coach: Nevan KOVACEVIC.

Match report:

It felt like a game with eight players, the amount of time both coaches were yelling at their charges. Orazalinov, with his booming voice, and Kovacevic with his exhortations were clearly not used to playing at this level. Orazalinov is a multiple Asian Games champion as a player in an era when Kazakhstan dominated Asia and spent plenty of time on the world stage. Kovacevic has coached Croatia and many of his players are currently in the world champion team. In Iran he has gathered a new team and this was going to the game that he needed to win to avoid the bottom-two play-off. Orazalinov looked disappointed as his team probably played its worst game of the tournament. Both teams had plenty of chances but Kazakhstan seemed to miss some open opportunities against a team with excellent defence. Khani’s two goals in the second quarter turned the tide in Iran’s favour and when he added a third inside the last five minutes for a two-goal advantage, Kazakhstan’s hopes had died. Orazalinov had used his two timeouts so couldn’t gain any advantage there. Kovacevic called one at 1:41 and the play was to pass cross-cage from the one-metre line to the far post. It seemed too late but the ball was passed just as the incoming player hit the receiver, Karamizarandi, who snapped the ball into goal for 7-4. It could have been 8-4 but the player sent his one-on-one attempt into Axyonkin. One of the best players for Iran was goalkeeper Shahidipour. Kazakhstan now goes to the 11th-12th play-off while Iran is still in the mix to finish as high as seventh.

The color of the group of the winning team is used for the stats and match report.

BRAZIL 8 vs MEXICO 7

Referees: Sergey NAUMOV (RUS), Nader GHAFOURI (IRI)

Quarters: 2-1, 1-3, 3-1, 2-2

Teams:

BRAZIL: Luis SANTOS, Vicente HENRIQUES (3), Gabriel ROCHA (1), Lucas VITA, Marcelo FRANCO (1), Conrado BERTOWZZI, Bernardo ROCCA, Felipe SILVA, Erik SEEGERER (1), Bruno NOLASCO (1), Mario CAROTINI, Rafael FARIAS (1), Anderson SOUZA. Head Coach: Barbaro DIAS.

MEXICO: Orlando ORTEGA, Diego CASTANEDA (1), Rainer SCHMIDT, Jorge LOPEZ, Daniel VAZQUEZ, Maximiliano AGUILAR (2), Oliver ALVAREZ (2), Fausto VAZQUEZ (2), Armando GARCIA, Richard SCHMIDT, Gonzalo MEJIA, Jorge PEREZ, Andres ONETO. Head Coach: Raul DE LA PENA.

Match report:

After being 4-2 up for three minutes in the second quarter, Mexico must have thought its chances of a high finish were pretty high. The reality shake-up came in the next eight minutes of play when Brazil came back to take the lead 6-5 and go on to a one-goal victory. The win sent Brazil to the 7-10 play-offs while Mexico will have to play Kazakhstan for 11th place. Brazil had a 2-0 lead but allowed Mexico to score in four different manners. Henriques scored on extra both sides of halftime for 4-4. Mexico returned to the lead but by the final break Brazil was back in front with two replica counter-attack goals down the right. Alvarez converted a penalty to draw level but Brazil used its two timeouts to good effect, scoring after both for 8-6 at 4:33. Castaneda narrowed it to one on counter at 2:26 but it was the last goal. Mexico had its final timeout plan thwarted when it lost the ball seconds from fulltime.

The color of the group of the winning team is used for the stats and match report.

RUSSIA 10 vs ITALY 11

Referees: Aaron CHANEY (USA), Nikolaos STAVROPOULOS (GRE)

Quarters: 2-3, 2-3, 3-3, 3-2

Teams:

RUSSIA: Seman DAVITASHVILI, Sergey LISUNOV, Sergey EVSTIGNEEV, Evgeny FINAEV (1), Roman BALASHOV (1), Alexander ERYSHOV (1), Pavel KHALTURIN (3), Dmitry STRATAN, Andrey REKECHINSKIY, Marat ZAKIROV (1), Sergey GARBUZOV (1), Irek ZINNUROV (2), Dmitry DUDKIN. Head Coach: Boris POPOV.

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI, Francesco POSTIGLIONE, Leonardo BINCHI, Fabrizio BUONOCORE, Luigi DI COSTANZO (1), Maurizio FELUGO (2), Andrea MANGIANTE (1), Alberto ANGELINI (3), Fabio BENCIVENGA, Alessandro CALCATERRA (1), Leonardo SOLTANI (3), Federico MISTRANGELO, Fabio VIOLETTI. Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

Match report:

An Olympic berth was up for grabs and both teams weren’t going to make any silly mistakes. However, there could only be one winner and it always looked like it was going to be Italy and it was the case. A return home without an Olympic spot would be unthinkable for the three-time champion. Russia gave up a goal on extra 11 seconds from quarter time, allowing Italy ahead. Khalturin, one of the revelations of this tournament, scored twice but so did Soltani. Just 18 seconds from the long break, di Costanzo scored Italy’s fifth consecutive goal on extra for a two-goal margin. Balashov converted extra at the start of the third quarter but Angelini and Soltani both scored action goals for a three-goal break. Garbuzov nailed a penalty goal and Khalturin collected his third from deep right for 8-7 down. Angelini walked in on extra and sent Italy to the last break two up. Zinnurov scored from the top to bring Russia within one for the third time in the half but on the next attack the ball cleanly arrived in front of Calcaterra and he backhanded for 10-8. Russia took a timeout when Balashov didn’t think he should have been ejected and the slowest goal of the game came when Zakirov, on the right post, accepted the ball, turned and waited for Tempesti to drop before lobbing into goal he had so much time. It was one goal again. Then Felugo sent one into the low right on extra for 11-9 at 3:59. An Italian timeout realised nothing and when Russia lost the ball at the 2:20 mark, the writing was on the wall. Italy used all the time on the next attack. Russia gained an exclusion at 1:20. Garbuzov’s shot rebounded to the left and the ball was passed to Eryshov who scored at 0:58 for 11-10. The crowd and Russia reacted badly when Khalturin was excluded at 0:29, giving Italy a timeout. It tried to keep the ball but at six seconds a timeout was supposedly called leading to mayhem. It was decided there was no timeout but Eryshov kept fouling Felugo and he was suspended for misconduct a second before full time. Italy was off to Beijing. Russia will have a day off to consider the effects of the non-qualification and play off for a meaningless fifth on Sunday.

The color of the group of the winning team is used for the stats and match report.

ROMANIA 8 vs CANADA 9

Referees: Luka VULETIC (CRO), Ulrich SPIEGEL (GER)

Quarters: 2-0, 3-6, 1-2, 2-1

Teams:

ROMANIA: Bertina NENCIU, Cosmin RADU (2), Tiberiu NEGREAN, Florin BONCA, Andrei IOSEP (2), Andrei BUSILA (2), Gheorghe DUNCA (1), Ramiro GEORGESCU (1), Edward ANDREI-DINA, George GEORGESCU, Cosmin BAIDOC, Kalman KADAR, Robert DINU. Head Coach: Vlad HAGIU.

CANADA: Robin RANDALL, Constantine KUDABA (1), Devon DIGGLE, Kevin MITCHELL (2), Justin BOYD (1), Thomas MARKS (1), Brandon JUNG, Kevin GRAHAM (1), Aaron FELTHAM (1), Sasa PALAMAREVIC, Jean SAYEGH (2), Nathaniel MILLER, Nicholas YOUNGBLUD. Head Coach: Dragan JOVANOVIC.

Match report:

A positive Canada beat a defensive Romania who appeared to choke on the big occasion. The opening quarter was very tight with both teams tentative. However, Romania had the better chances scoring through Busila on extra and Radu from a penalty after two players were sent out and one returned early. Marks gave Canada hope with a long shot early in the second quarter but at the other end Radu scored on extra. Mitchell made it 3-2 on extra while soon after Canadian coach Jovanovic was given a yellow when he queried a major foul call. Sayegh sent a disbelieving Romanian crown into silence with a big shot on extra. Iosep replied on extra and Graham sent one in from the top for 5-5. The shock settled in when Feltham added to Romania’s woes, also on extra. Iosep tried to stir up the crowd when he converted extra, raising both fists to the crowd with just 12 seconds left in the half for 5-5. Romania was happier than it had been. Canada went on attack and Miller gained a foul. He spilled the ball but Sayegh picked up and shot into the back of the net for a 6-5 lead two seconds from time. After the restart it didn’t get any better for Romania with Mitchell left free at six metres to score for 7-5. Busila brought up Romania’s first goal of the half when he hesitated and then decided it was best to shoot, scoring at 4:55 for 7-6 down. Canada had an attack and when time was running out Romania allowed Kudaba the luxury of a shot from nine metres he sent his missile into the top left for 8-6. Romania called a timeout on extra at a time when Busila and Feltham had already collected three major fouls. The shot was deflected high and Canada had the ball. Romania was struggling with the big occasion and could not gain a goal by the final break, trailing by an incredible two goals. When Boys threw a goal at 4:29, you could have cut the air with a knife. But Dunca revitilised the mood in the house when he chanced his arm at 4:16 and came up with a goal. Radu took a shot from centre but it fell short of the line as scoring chances were drying up for Romania. Radu gained an exclusion and Ramiro Georgescu converted the extra-man at 1:16. The drama was yet to subside as Canada took the ball and immediately lost it in midfield. Romania had a chance. But to no avail. Dunca collected his second major and Canada just wanted to keep position for the time. Romania went on attack and got Miller ejected after a timeout. Radu had done his job and now it just remained for the shot to be converted and the game to go to extra time, possibly. Sorry. A Romanian player accidentally passed the ball to a Canadian player in the heat of the moment and Canada retained to qualify for the Olympics for the first time through the qualifying process.

The color of the group of the winning team is used for the stats and match report.

Saturday, March 8

DAY 7 RECAP

Italy and Germany to clash in OGQT final

By Russell McKinnon
FINA Press Commission

Oradea, Romania (March 8).— Italy and Germany will play the final of the men’s Olympic Games Qualification Tournament at the Ioan Alexandrescu Pool here tomorrow. Both came through searching semifinals today with the carrot in the final being a top-line position in the draw for the Olympics, to be made in Beijing on March 22. The winner will be paired with Montenegro, the European qualifier in the 12-team competition.

For Italy it was a turnaround from the group play where it lost out to Greece for the second qualification sport. Greece looked underdone and struggled with getting the ball on target while Italy stuck to its plan and controlled the game for most of the match. Italy drew level at 2:15 of the last quarter but Postiglione scored the winner at 0:52 to send his team into the final against Germany. Germany defeated Canada, a surprise Olympic qualifier and responsible for the attendance of only150 Romanians today, by 8-6. Germany had a 5-2 advantage at halftime and never gave away enough opportunities for Canada to get into the game. Canada relished just being in the semifinals, something that was only dreamed about less than 24 hours before.

Ironically, the supposedly weak group, has supplied three of the four qualifiers in Greece, Italy and Canada. In the round of 7-10, Slovakia thrashed Iran 18-4 and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia held out Brazil 10-8. The winners play for seventh tomorrow and the losers for ninth. In the play-off for 11th, the game ended in a brawl with Mexico deservedly winning 11-9.

(11th Place) MEXICO 11 vs KAZAKHSTAN 9 (12 Place)

Referees: Jan BOHAT (SVK), Aaron CHANEY (USA)

Quarters: 1-4, 2-1, 4-2, 2-4

Teams:

KAZAKHSTAN: Dimitriy AXYONKIN, Mixail KOLOTVIN, Amirbek SAPAROV, Nurlan SARTAEV (1), Alan ORAZALINOV (3), Roman PILIPENKO, Yernur KOILEYEV, Rustam UKUMANOV (1), Mikhail RUDAY, Ravil MANAFOV (3), Adil TEMRXANOV (1), Alexex DENCHENKO. Head Coach: Askar ORAZALINOV.

MEXICO: Orlando ORTEGA, Diego CASTANEDA (1), Rainer SCHMIDT (2), Jorge LOPEZ, Daniel VAZQUEZ, Maximiliano AGUILAR (3), Oliver ALVAREZ (2), Fausto VAZQUE (1), Armando GARCIA, Richard SCHMIDT (2), Gonzalo MEJIA, Jorge PEREZ, Andres ONETO. Head Coach: Raul DE LA PENA.

Match report:

Mexico emerged with a well-deserved victory against a Kazakhstan team that lost control of its emotions. The end turned into a debacle as fighting erupted at one end of the pool while Mexico was on attack. Kazakhstan had lost coach Orazalinov near the end of the third quarter when he contested a non-decision of an apparent ball under that led to a goal against his team. He gained the yellow card, closely followed by the red at a time that saw Brazil level the game at 7-7. His side was 4-0 down in the first quarter and levelled at 5-5 and 6-6 before taking the lead through Ukmanunov. Manafov gave Kazakhstan the lead at the top of the fourth quarter but Alvarez converted a penalty goal and Aguilar outmuscled two defenders in centre forward for 9-8. Orazalinov drilled a shot from eight metres to level at 1:38 and the game looked set for extra time but Castaneda converted an extra goal after a timeout at 1:09. Kazakhstan took a timeout at 0:58 but the shot was blocked and Mexico swam away. While on attack and about to shoot, the referee threw out a Kazakh player back on the five-metre line at the other end. Two more Kazakhs were thrown as punches were thrown and “confrontations” in front of the referee. The clock quietly slipped from 15 seconds to one, Alvarez took a penalty after a few minutes of tantrums and Mexico had won 11-9, finishing in 11th place.

The color of the group of the winning team is used for the stats and match report.

SLOVAKIA 18 vs IRAN 4

Referees: Ulrich SPIEGEL (GER), Doriel TERPENKA (CAN)

Quarters: 4-1, 6-1, 5-1, 3-1

Teams:

IRAN: Ali Reza SHAHIDIPOUR, Arameh AGHAZARIAN, Seyed MIR MEDI (3), Mahdi KARAMIZARANDI, Mohammad MEHDI TEIRAN, Ali PIROZKHAH, Kambiz AFSHARI (1), Khadempir SOHEIL, Mohsen JALILI, Shirijian ALIAKBAR, Sadjad ABDIHANJANI, Amir HOSSEIN KHANI, Meisam JAFARI. Head Coach: Nevan KOVACEVIC.

SLOVAKIA: Michal GOGOLA, Peter NEDBAL (2), Juraj ZATOVIC (2), Josef HROSIK (4), Lukas SEMAN, Alexander NAGY, Martin PALASCAK, Karol BACO (1), Andrej JANICEK (3), Martin MRAVIK (1), Michal KRATOCHVIL (2), Thomas BRUDER (3), Michal HRUSKA. Head Coach: Ante NAKIC.

Match report:







Slovakia advanced to the play-off for seventh with a resounding victory over Iran, probably still celebrating its win from yesterday. Slovakia played better than it had all week but against a weaker team. Counter-attack was the norm and the power shooters had a field day. Iran toiled hard for goals with Mir Mehdi leading the charge with three. Hroski, top-scorer with four goals, scored from a penalty as did Afshari for Iran.

 

 

The color of the group of the winning team is used for the stats and match report.

FYRO MACEDONIA 10 vs BRAZIL 8

Referees: Nader GHAFOURI (IRI), Fillipo GOMEZ (ITA)

Quarters: 4-1, 3-1, 2-2, 1-5

Teams:

FYROM: Dalibor PERCINIC, Risto MAGKOVIC (1), Ivan VUKSANOVIC (1), Goran KRSTONOSIC, Hebojsa MILIC, Saso POPOVSKI, Marko MICIC, Vladimir KRECKOVIC (4), Dusan KRSTIC, Marko BASIC (1), Dimitah DIMOVSKI (1), Danijel BENIC (2), Milos UROSEVIC. Head Coach: Alexandar KRSTONOSIC.

BRAZIL: Luis SANTOS, Vicente HENRIQUES (2), Gabriel ROCHA (1), Lucas VITA, Marcelo FRANCO (3), Conrado BERTOWZZI, Bernardo ROCCA (1), Felipe SILVA, Erik SEEGERER, Bruno NOLASCO, Mario CAROTINI, Rafael FARIAS (1), Anderson SOUZA. Head Coach: Barbaro DIAS.

Match report:


By halftime there was little interest in the game, especially on a day when Romania is not playing. However, Brazil seemed to awaken from its slumbers. By squaring the third period and blowing MKD away in the final quarter, it regained some lost pride when 7-1 adrift. Kreckovic gained two of his four goals on counter and his long-range bomb at 0:38 in the last put paid to any slim hope Brazil had of forcing extra time. Franco, though, relished in the final three minutes, gaining three goals and scoring the last on extra from dep right just four seconds from the final hooter.


The color of the group of the winning team is used for the stats and match report.

GREECE 8 vs ITALY 9

Referees: Radu MTACHE (ROU), Mario BRGULJAN (MNE)

Quarters: 3-3, 1-2, 2-2, 2-2

Teams:

GREECE: Nikolaos DELIGIANNIS, Anastasios SCHIZAS, Dimitrios MAZIS, Konstantinos KOKKINAKIS (1), Ioannis THOMAKOS (3), Argyris THEODOROPOULOS, Christos AFROUDAKIS, Georgios NTOSKAS (2), Georgios AFROUDAKIS (1), Dimitriy MITELOUDIS, Matthaios VOULGARAKIS, Emmanouil MYLONAKIS (1), Georgios REPPAS. Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI, Francesco POSTIGLIONE (3), Leonardo BINCHI, Fabrizio BUONOCORE (1), Luigi DI COSTANZO (1), Maurizio FELUGO, Andrea MANGIANTE, Alberto ANGELINI, Fabio BENCIVENGA (3), Alessandro CALCATERRA (1), Leonardo SOLTANI, Federico MISTRANGELO, Fabio VIOLETTI. Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

Match report:

Italy turned the tables on Greece from the preliminary rounds in a game where Greece’s shooting was off-target. Greece held a 2-1 lead after two minutes but Postiglione scored his second to level on extra. Thomakos fired in a shot from the top but di Costanzo levelled on action for 3-3 at the first break. Italy then took control of the game with Bencivenga on extra early in the second quarter and on counter late in the period. Ntoskas levelled at 4-4 but it took nearly four minutes for Italy to take the advantage. Calcaterra snapped in a rebound with a left-hand backhand so fast his opponent couldn’t see it. Thomakos made sure of a penalty Bencivenga upset Christos Afroudakis who didn’t cover on extra man and he scored. Afroudakis claimed his opponent with inside two metres when he accepted the ball. Ntoskas scored on extra to trail by a goal at the last break. Buonocore blasted one in from the top at 6:14 for a two-goal break in the final quarter. Kokkinakis responded on extra, Italy took a timeout to no effect and Mylonakis converted extra at 2:15 to level the game at 8-8. The game went into the final minute with a player excluded from both sides and Greece picking up another to be two down. A Greek returned but the defence didn’t shift fast enough and Postiglione scored what was the winner at 0:52. Greece took a timeout with less than a seconds to go. When the horn sounded to send the players down pool, they didn’t move. Only when the second horn sounded did they move and the plan to get Deligiannis to rifle a pass into the zone did not eventuate and Italy moved into the final.

The color of the group of the winning team is used for the stats and match report.

GERMANY 8 vs CANADA 6

Referees: Decio PATTELI (BRA), Erhan TULGA (TUR)

Quarters: 2-0, 3-2, 0-1, 3-3

Teams:

GERMANY: Alexander TCHIGIR, Florian NAROSKA, Timo PURSCHKE, Marko SAVIC (1), Steffen DIEROLF, Mark POLITZE, Heiko NOSSEK (3), Thomas SCHERTWITIS (1), Tobias KREUZMANN (1), Moritz OELER (1), Andreas SCHLOTTERBECK (1), Soren MACKEBEN, Michael ZELLMER. Head Coach: Hagen STAMM.

CANADA: Robin RANDALL, Constantine KUDABA (2), Devon DIGGLE, Kevin MITCHELL, Justin BOYD (1), Thomas MARKS, Brandon JUNG, Kevin GRAHAM, Aaron FELTHAM, Sasa PALAMAREVIC, Jean SAYEGH (1), Nathaniel MILLER (2), Nicholas YOUNGBLUD. Head Coach: Dragan JOVANOVIC.

Match report:

Germany had the experience and the firepower to surge into the final against Italy with a solid victory to maintain its unbeaten run in this tournament. Kreuzmann and Oeler scored within a minute in the middle of the first period, the only goals of the period. Schlotterbeck found himself free on there metres right in front to score for 3-0 in the first minute of the second period. Just over a minute later Canada made the scoreboard through Kudaba on counter-attack. Nossek responded two minutes later and 40 seconds after that Miller brought up Canada’s second goal with a backhand from two metres. Savic claimed a 5-2 advantage for Germany to close the half. Germany’s goal scoring dried up in the third as defence proved the main item ion the agenda. Only Kudaba’s nine-metre shot at 1:25 broke the impasses with Germany 5-3 up heading into the last eight minutes. A Germany timeout yielded a Nossek goal at 7:09 for 6-3. Canada then ripped back into the game with Sayegh scoring from deep right on an excellent cross pass. Boyd sent in another from nine metres for 6-5 at 5:18. Nossek redressed the situation for Germany with a drill on extra at 4:15 for 7-5. Canada went to a timeout but lost the ball at centre forward. Schertwitis pounced on a loose ball and shot into an empty net at 1:25 for 8-5. Canada had two attempts on extra, hitting the wood each time as the game moved into the final minute. Canada had the last attack and had two attempts with Miller gaining a goal from two metres. It will have to be content with playing for third against Greece.

The color of the group of the winning team is used for the stats and match report.

Sunday, March 9

DAY 8 RECAP

Germany upsets Italy in OGQT final; Greece third

By Russell McKinnon
FINA Press Commission

Oradea, Romania (March 9).— Germany, fifth at the Athens Olympic Games, took top ranking from the men’s Olympic Games Qualification Tournament here today and will be placed on the top of the draw alongside European qualifier Montenegro.

Second and third place-getters Germany and Greece will be on the next line for the draw, which will take place in Beijing on March 22. Canada will be on the same line as host China. Australia and the United States of America fill another line while world champion Croatia and Spain are paired as are Olympic champion Hungary and World League champion Serbia. Today’s matches were important in that respect as all four teams had already qualified for the Olympic Games by making the semifinals.

Germany beat Italy 10-9 in extra time after the game was tied at 8-8 in front of a disappointing crowd of about 250. Germany was 5-2 up bearing down on halftime but Italy nailed the next five goals to be 7-5 up. Nossek stopped the rot at 7-6 by the final break. Controversy reigned in the final seconds when a Thomas Schertwitis goal was disallowed and the game went to extra time.Both teams scored in the first period of extra but Marc Politze’s bomb in the second period was the final goal and gave Germany a historic victory.

For third place, Greece took a little time to get into the swift scoring mode but turned it on for a rampant 13-4 distance over Canada.

The fifth and sixth play-off, which pitted the two best teams not to make the Olympics, saw host Romania grab a late goal against Russia in what was an unusual finish. Both teams scored an owngoal thanks to the goalkeepers dragging the ball back after a shot was blocked. Barely 500 fans turned out to support Romania, a far cry from the 1500-1800 early last week when Romania had a chance to go to Beijing.

Slovakia finished seventh by holding out the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia 9-7 after being four up at the final break while Brazil claimed ninth spot with a 10-1 rout of Iran.

(9th Place) BRAZIL 10 vs IRAN 1 (10th Place)

Referees: Jan BOHAT (SVK), Andrej GJORGJIEVSKI (MKD)

Quarters: 0-1, 0-1, 0-4, 1-4

Teams:

BRAZIL: Luis SANTOS, Vicente HENRIQUES (1), Gabriel ROCHA, Lucas VITA (2), Marcelo FRANCO (1), Conrado BERTOLUZZI (1), Bernardo ROCCA, Felipe SILVA (1), Erik SEEGERER (4), Bruno NOLASCO, Mario CAROTINI, Rafael FARIAS, Anderson SOUZA. Head Coach: Barbaro DIAS.

IRAN: Ali Reza SHAHIDIPOUR, Arameh AGHAZARIAN, Seyed MIR MEDI, Mahdi KARAMIZARANDI, Mohammad MEHDI TEIRAN, Ali PIROZKHAH, Kambiz AFSHARI (1), Khadempir SOHEIL, Mohsen JALILI, Shirijian ALIAKBAR, Sadjad ABDIHANJANI, Amir HOSSEIN KHANI, Meisam JAFARI. Head Coach: Nevan KOVACEVIC.

Match report:

Iran will return home with just one historic victory that kept it out of the bottom-two play-off. Former Croatian coach Kovacevic was proud of his team, winning an Olympic qualifying match, showing how far the teams has progressed in the past few years. But today it was not to be as Brazil produced a near shutout. The first half showed how tight these teams were and how fantastic Shahidipour is as a goalkeeper. He stopped numerous shots and kept his team in the game. However, the third quarter was all Brazil with four goals, including a penalty to Seegerer. He scored twice in the period and collected a counter-attack goal in the final quarter. Vita scored either side of the break. Iran avoided the zero score when penalty expert Afshari rifled in a shot from the eight-metre line and closer to the side of the pool than the centre at 2:00. Brazil scored a penalty through Henriques and a cross-pass goal from Franco to complete its Romanian sojourn and taken ninth place.

(7th Place)SLOVAKIA 9 vs FYRO MACEDONIA 7 (8th Place)

Referees: Nikolaos STAVROPOULOS (GRE), Mariano DAVALOS (MEX)

Quarters: 1-2, 4-1, 3-1, 1-3

Teams:

SLOVAKIA: Michal GOGOLA, Peter NEDBAL, Juraj ZATOVIC (2), Josef HROSIK (1), Lukas SEMAN (1), Alexander NAGY, Martin PALASCAK, Karol BACO (2), Andrej JANICEK, Martin MRAVIK (1), Michal KRATOCHVIL (1), Thomas BRUDER (1), Michal HRUSKA. Head Coach: Ante NAKIC.

FYROM: Dalibor PERCINIC, Risto MAGKOVIC, Ivan VUKSANOVIC (1), Goran KRSTONOSIC, Hebojsa MILIC, Saso POPOVSKI, Marko MICIC (1), Vladimir KRECKOVIC (2), Dusan KRSTIC (1), Marko BASIC (1), Dimitah DIMOVSKI, Danijel BENIC (1), Milos UROSEVIC. Head Coach: Alexandar KRSTONOSIC.

Match report:

Slovakia finished seventh in a position that was probably the highest it could realistically go in this tournament. MKD held the quarter-time lead but soon after the restart Slovakia drew level through Mravic on counter. It took a further four minutes for Slovakia to take the lead for the first time only to see Benic score from centre forward for 3-3. Bruder scored a screamer from the top and Semen received an offload from Hrosik to score on extra, 22 seconds from time for a two-goal lead at halftime. Hrosik opened the half but Micic responded from the top. Baco countered at 0:50 and Kratochvil had the better of a goalmouth melee to score on the hooter to send Slovakia four clear. Slovakia narrowed that to two before Zatovic returned Slovakia to the clear zone. MKD took two timeouts and Slovakia one but only MKD gained any reward, six seconds after the exclusion period was over via Kreckovic from about five metres. MKD’s final attack saw the ball go wide. Slovakia took a timeout but coach Nakic did not realise there was only three seconds left and told his boys to play as they like with a two-goal margin, which they did to win.

(5th) ROMANIA 10 vs RUSSIA 9 (6th)

Referees: Decio PATTELI (BRA), Fillipo GOMEZ (ITA)

Quarters: 2-1, 2-2, 2-4, 3-3

Teams:

RUSSIA: Seman DAVITASHVILI, Sergey LISUNOV, Sergey EVSTIGNEEV (1), Evgeny FINAEV (1), Roman BALASHOV, Alexander ERYSHOV (3), Pavel KHALTURIN (2), Dmitry STRATAN, Andrey REKECHINSKIY (1), Marat ZAKIROV, Sergey GARBUZOV, Irek ZINNUROV (1), Dmitry DUDKIN. Head Coach: Boris POPOV.

ROMANIA: Bertina NENCIU, Cosmin RADU (2), Tiberiu NEGREAN (1), Florin BONCA (1), Andrei IOSEP, Andrei BUSILA (1), Gheorghe DUNCA (1), Ramiro GEORGESCU (3), Edward ANDREI-DINA (1), George GEORGESCU, Cosmin BAIDOC, Kalman KADAR, Robert DINU. Head Coach: Vlad HAGIU.

Match report:

A harrowing final few minutes saw Romania come through with the victory for fifth place. Two goals were scored where the goalkeepers dragged the ball back into goal and Russia finished without its goalkeeper. Russia shot out of the blocks with two early goals but just after Zinnurov converted extra, Radu did the same at the other end — just 21 seconds apart. Negrean scored on extra several minutes into the second quarter. Busila had to level four minutes later after Rekechinskiy scored on extra from right in front of the goal. Evstigneev gave Russia the halftime lead. Romania had the better of the third period with Ramiro Georgescu, who plays for Oradea, scored from the top on extra. Dunca backhanded a goal for a 5-4 lead. Eryshov and Bonca traded goals with the latter from nine metres bouncing off the right upright and rebounding into goal off the goalkeeper. Finaev, a relative newcomer to the Russian team and possessing a huge shot, scored on extra but Romanian captain Andrei Dina sent in a rocket off the right-hand-catch position. For the lead at three-quarter time. Khalturin converted a penalty at 5:30 in the fourth period. He had to level the game for the second time in the period after Ramiro Georgescu shot from the top. Khalturin swam down the right to score his counter-attack goal for 8-8 at 4:11. Romania took a timeout but no goal eventuated. Romania regained the ball and earned a penalty foul. Iosep elected to shot off the water but when he went to pick up the ball it squeezed out of his hand. He blamed a nearby Russian for kicking the ball from his hand and from upstairs that’s what it looked like. Sorry, said the referee. When the penalty occurred, Russian coach Popov clapped the referee and immediately gained the red card. Russia had a timeout when Ramiro Georgescu was ejected but no goal came as the shot was deflected high. At 1:15 Romania had a shot but the ball was stopped short of the line. However, Davitashvili inexplicably dragged the ball behind him in the goal and the goal judge called the goal. Davitshvili had a mind explosion, chucked the ball on to the water toward the referee and was suspended from the game. Ramiro Georgescu was awarded the goal. Romania had a timeout but no goal. Russia had a shot and just like at the other end, and as if Nenciu didn’t want to be left out of the scoring, he dragged the ball into goal for 9-9 and it was awarded to Eryshov. With 10 seconds remaining, Russia’s Khalturin was excluded and the extra-man play was set up and predictably it went to Radu who scored with only three seconds left on the clock. Russia’s final shot was stopped by Nenciu.

(3rd) GREECE 13 vs CANADA 4 (4th)

Referees: Radu MATACHE (ROU), Luka VULETIC (CRO)

Quarters: 2-1, 5-1, 4-1, 2-1

Teams:

GREECE: Nikolaos DELIGIANNIS, Anastasios SCHIZAS, Dimitrios MAZIS (1), Konstantinos KOKKINAKIS, Ioannis THOMAKOS (1), Argyris THEODOROPOULOS (1), Christos AFROUDAKIS (2), Georgios NTOSKAS (3), Georgios AFROUDAKIS (2), Dimitriy MITELOUDIS, Matthaios VOULGARAKIS (1), Emmanouil MYLONAKIS (2), Georgios REPPAS. Head Coach: Alessandro CAMPAGNA.

CANADA: Robin RANDALL, Constantine KUDABA, Devon DIGGLE, Kevin MITCHELL, Justin BOYD, Thomas MARKS, Brandon JUNG, Kevin GRAHAM (3), Aaron FELTHAM (1), Sasa PALAMAREVIC, Jean SAYEGH, Nathaniel MILLER, Nicholas YOUNGBLUD. Head Coach: Dragan JOVANOVIC.

Match report:

Greece easily romped into third place thanks to a 5-1 second quarter that led to a comfortable win. Canada actually started the scoring through Graham but Thomakos responded quickly and Mylonakis scored at 3:16 for the total scoring of the period. Then came the tsunami as Greece surfed into Canada’s cage five times with four Afroudakis goals, a pair to each brother. A Canadian timeout was ineffective in the scoring department but Feltham did gain a 10-metre shot just before halftime. Voulgarakis on extra and Mazis on counter Graham grabbed Canada’s third goal from five metres on left-hand catch at 4:08. The scoring pace slowed as Greece took a timeout at 2:07 and Ntoskas drilled from the top for 10-3. Theodoropoulos scored on extra to close the period. No goal came in the last until Mylonakis lobbed Randall from well out at 1:21. A minute earlier the Canadian assistant coach who was standing in for Jovanovic who has left the country, was given a yellow card. Graham scored his third goal, a penalty while Ntoskas gained his third on a quick extra-man goal.

(1st Place) GERMANY 10 vs ITALY 9 (2nd Place)

Referees: Aaron CHANEY (USA), Doriel TERPENKA (CAN)

Quarters: 2-3, 1-2, 4-1, 1-2, 1-1, 0-1 OT

Teams:

ITALY: Stefano TEMPESTI, Francesco POSTIGLIONE, Leonardo BINCHI, Fabrizio BUONOCORE, Luigi DI COSTANZO, Maurizio FELUGO (1), Andrea MANGIANTE (1), Alberto ANGELINI (4), Fabio BENCIVENGA (1), Alessandro CALCATERRA (2), Leonardo SOLTANI, Federico MISTRANGELO, Fabio VIOLETTI. Head Coach: Paolo MALARA.

GERMANY: Alexander TCHIGIR, Florian NAROSKA, Timo PURSCHKE, Marko SAVIC, Steffen DIEROLF, Mark POLITZE (3), Heiko NOSSEK (3), Thomas SCHERTWITIS (3), Tobias KREUZMANN (1), Moritz OELER, Andreas SCHLOTTERBECK, Soren MACKEBEN, Michael ZELLMER. Head Coach: Hagen STAMM.

Match report:

In a a match that had its fair share of controversy, Germany scored a rare tournament victory but upsetting Italy in extra time after the game was level at 8-8 by full time. Big Schertwitis, who played a huge part in the match, used his massive muscle power to backhand a slider into goal in the first 23 seconds, showing what Germany intended to do in this match. Angelini scored twice inside a minute, the first with a long lob on extra. Nossek replied on extra and Politze buried a goal on counter for leas the first quarter by a goal. Politze jammed in another from the top on the first attack of the second period. A German timeout came to nought but soon after Kreuzmann scored on extra for 5-2. Calcaterra gained an extra-man goal, receiving the first pass, turning and shooting from two metres to close the first half. Italy was using second goalkeeper Violetti and Bencivenga was sitting on the bench. The third period was all Italy with Calcaterra scoring after sliding to the post and Angelini and Mangiante scoring on extra. Felugo sent in a missile while heavily guarded at the end of possession time from about eight metres. Nossek concluded the scoring with a solo goal for Germany at 0:06 to be behind 7-6. The equalising goal came from Schertwitis at centre forward when he drifted out, turned and lobbed a stranded Violetti at 6:43. Angelini brought his tally to four sending in a snap shot on extra at 6:09. An Italian timeout saw no change in the score and it wasn’t until 0:52 that Schertwitis levelled the game from centre forward. Germany went to a timeout and with three seconds left Schertwitis scored the apparent winner when he gained a minor foul and the defender thought it was a major and started to leave the pool. The pass went into Schertwitis and he scores. The goal was awarded, Italy complained and the referees conferred and decided to replay the last six seconds. No goal came in three seconds, Italy went to a timeout and had the ball turned over immediately. Both teams approached the bench, one more irate than the other. Apparently the goal was disallowed because the free throw was taken closer than where the foul occurred and passed to Schertwitis. The game went to extra time. Nossek scored on the first attack on extra, into the side of the goal where Violetti was not guarding. Surprisingly, he had only his left arm up. Bencivenga replied with a nifty hole-man goal, flicking the ball up in his left hand and sweeping the ball around with his right at 1:58. Politze scored from the top at 2:23 and Germany was 10-9 ahead. Germany had a timeout at 1:00 but lost the ball on the move and Italy took its timeout at 0:35. But the air ball to Calcaterra was swatted away by Politze. Germany even countered and nearly scored but it had first place sewn up.

Special THANKS to Russell McKinnon for the reports, stats, and photos.