Italy marches, Hungary comes back from 1-4
Italy looked pretty strong while defeating Romania 11-5 with ease in Group C. In Group D the Hungarians woke up after being 1-4 down against Russia and with a 11-2 rush they finally earned a 12-6 win. The Serbs defeated Croatia again, this time 8-4 in the women’s tournament.
In the opening match Georgia almost stunned the Germans who were perhaps still under the influence of the big defeat from Italy in the first round. Here the Georgians jumped to a 0-3 lead and were still 2-5 up when their rivals started to climb back and trailed only 5-6 at half-time. The equaliser came after one minute in the third and the Germans went 8-7 ahead for the first time with 1:34 remaining, but Marko Jelaca – one of the Croatian born aces of the Georgians, the others, Tsrepulia and Elez added three apiece – levelled the score before the break. It turned out that the Germans had more left in the tank, netted two in 66 seconds for 10-8 and managed to maintain this gap until the end (11-9).
The other match of Group C saw another convincing Italian performance, this time the Settebello downed the Romanians. They rushed to a 6-1 lead by half-time and led 9-2 before the last quarter. Stefano Tempesti was brilliant again in the goal, the veteran posted a 75% saving percentage, this was the key of their success.
In Group D all eyes were on Greece and Hungary who were supposed to go for bettering their goal-difference which might decide the top spot in this group after they had drawn in the opening round. The Greek did their job, though they had a slow start against the Turks, leading only 8-4, but routed their rivals 13-2 in the second half for a 21-6 win.
If the Greek start was slow, the Hungarians’ was disastrous. The young Russian team surprised the Magyars in the first period, led 1-4 after eight minutes and went 2-5 up early in the second. The 2014 runners-up woke up here, their defence was tightened, Viktor Nagy closed down the incoming roads in the goal, shutting out the Russians for 14:06 minutes (he finished with a 71.4% saving percentage). At the other end the Hungarians scored six unanswered goals for 8-5 before Dmitri Kholod had his third blast hitting the back of the net. However, the favourites dominated the remaining minutes and with an 11-2 rush after 1-4 they won 12-6. Bence Batori was the Magyars’ hero with 5 goals.
The women’s competition the Serbian-Croatian derby drew big crowds to the Kombank Arena and they were overjoyed again: after the men, the host girls won as well though it wasn’t that one-sided battle as the one on the opening night. In fact the Croats had a flying start and earned a 3-1 lead in eight minutes. Two action goals put the Serbs back on equal terms by half-time and with a hat-trick from Jelena Vukovic in the third they went 4-6 ahead. The visitors ran out of gas towards the end of the game, only the Serbs could score – the Croats netted only a single goal in the last 25:10 minutes – and sailed away with a fine 4-8 win.
The group’s favourites did a clean job, both Italy and Spain stayed focused for four periods and they clinched +19-goal wins over Germany and France respectively.
Results, Day 4
Germany v Georgia 11-9, Romania v Italy 5-11
Turkey v Greece 6-21, Hungary v Russia 12-6
Spain v France 21-2, Germany v Italy 3-22, Croatia v Serbia 4-8
Press release from LEN
Images courtesy of Giorgio Scala / deepbluemedia