Men’s Water Polo, Day 1: birthday cheers from the pool?
The olympic and world champion Serbia may set off with a goal gala, Croatia seeks for revenge when starting their tournament with the United States and the team of the hosting country may send a beutiful birthday message to their head coach, Tamás Märcz by defeating Australia in the opening round. Eight matches are going to take place on Monday. We’re looking for an exciting start.
The male water polo players will also start their tournament in the iconic Hajós Alfréd Swimming Complex, participating in the first World Championship organised by Hungary.
According to experts, the World League winner and olympic champion Serbia is the most likely winner of the tournament, but the Croatian, the Italian and the Hungarian teams also have a great chance to become the golden medalist of the game.
09:30 – Brazil–Kazakhstan (Group A)
10:50 – Montenegro-Canada (Group A)
The first game of the male water polo World Championship will be the clash of the Brazilian national team against the Kazakhs. The match will presumably become an exciting fight for prestige as the Brazilian team ended up in the 10th place in the Kazan World Championship, followed tightly by Kazakhstan in the 11th place.
Victory’s going to be important for both teams as they barely have much chance to gain any points in their fights against the olympic 4th Montenegro or Canada, a team that finished their World Championship in the 9th place two years ago. The two teams face off each other at 10:50.
The North American team will have a challenging World Championship this year, not only because of their hardcore opponents but also due to their weak performance in the BENU Cup this year, a tournament in which the team of Giuseppe Porzio ended up gaining zero points.
12:10 – France-Italy (Group B)
Hungarian fans will watch closely the clash of the two teams being in the same group as the hosting country. France is far the least experienced participant in the history of the World Championships, present only for the fourth time in the game now. It’s an interesting question whether they could even challenge bronze medallist of the Rio Olympic Games, Italy.
Alessandro Campagna’s team didn’t get any weaker after last year’s Olympic Games as they finished second in June’s World League Super Final. However, the picture may be a bit cloudy for the Italian head coach as three of his players, Marco Del Lungo, Alessandro Velotto and Valentino Gallo will have to skip the World Championship due to medical conditions.
13:30 – Spain-Greece (Group C)
The third most succesful country in the history of the World Championships may have arrived with a strong determination to Budapest, as it first occurred two years ago that the Spanish national team skipped the event.
The Olympic 7th Spanish team will face off bronze medallist of the Kazan World Championship, Greece, a country reaching up to the 6th place in last year’s Olympic Games.
17:30 – Serbia – South Africa (Group C)
The first match couldn’t be more dangerous for the South African team than jumping into a pool full of sharks. Although the team ended up in the 12th place in Kazan two years ago, in the first round they will face off the olympic and world champion Serbia.
In addition, Dejan Savić’s team is in excellent shape. In this year’s World League Super final the Serbian team won the tournament undefeated. What a demonstration of strength.
18:50 – United States – Croatia (Group D)
The national male water polo team of the United States has participated in all World Championships organised so far, but they are facing a tough challenge right at the beginning of this tournament: in their first match they’re going to play with Olympic and world championship silver medallist Croatia.
The head coach of the American team is the former Serbian water polo star, Dejan Udovičić, appointed to his post in 2013. Under his management team US finished 9th at the Barcelona World Championships, 7th at the Kazan World Championsips and reached up to the 10th place in the Olympic Games last year. The USA could take revenge on the Croatian team for getting defeated 10-4 in this year’s World League Super final.
20:10 – Australia-Hungary (Group B)
The hosts start off this tournament being the most succesful nation in the history of the World Championsips (3 golds, 6 silvers, 1 bronze). As their first match they will face off the Australian team and we may as well say: the kangoroos may become tough opponents when it comes to water polo.
Elvis Fatović’s team finished in 8th place in Kazan, in 9th place in Rio, and in 7th place in the World League’s Super Final.
The Hungarian team became world champion in 2013, two years later they reached up to the 6th place in the World Championships. The disappointed head coach, Tibor Bendek left the team after its relatively weak performance in the Rio Olympic Games, reaching up only to the 5th place.
Afterwards Märcz Tamás was appointed as head coach and he started transforming the Hungarian national team. The team heads toward the World Championship with four newcomers. They won the „last testl” for the World Championships, BENU Cup. If the thirteen Hungarian players don’t want to disappoint their head coach celebrating his birthday, they will open their tournament with an impressive victory against Australia.
21:30 – Japan-Russia (Group D)
The closing match of the day will be the clash of the 13th and 14th participant of the Kazan World Championship, Japan and Russia.
Surprisingly Russia missed the Rio Olympic Games, but in the World League Super Final they defeated the Asian team by a seven goal margin. Japan ended the 2016 Olympic Games in the last place without any points gained.
17th of July, Monday:
M1 9:30 – Brazil-Kazakhstan (Group A)
M2 10:50 – Montenegro-Canada (Group A)
M3 12:10 – France-Italy (Group B)
M4 13:30 – Spain-Greece (Group C)
M5 17:30 – Serbia-South Africa (Group C)
M6 18:50 – United States-Croatia (Group D)
M7 20:10 – Australia-Hungary (Group B)
M8 21:30 – Japan-Russia (Group D)