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 womenâ€™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 â€“ one of the Croatian born aces of the Georgians, the others, Tsrepulia and Elez added three apiece â€“ 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 Hungariansâ€™ 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 Magyarsâ€™ hero with 5 goals.
The womenâ€™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 wasnâ€™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 â€“ the Croats netted only a single goal in the last 25:10 minutes â€“ and sailed away with a fine 4-8 win.
The groupâ€™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