Canada, France and Romania in Group A, Netherlands, Spain and Germany in Group B also qualify for the Quarters Finals.
On Day 5, the last of the Preliminary Round, Hungary enhanced its leadership on top of Group A comfortably defeating Slovakia. In Group A Canada claimed a clear cut win over France, the other revelation of this tournament, and placed second, with France in third position. Both teams were already qualified for the quarters finals.
The third match of Group A between Russia and Romania was dramatic: the two Eastern European teams tied 8-8, a result favorable to the Romanians who could advance to quarters as the 4th ranked team.
In Group B all three top teams claimed victory over their respective opponents: Italy beat Germany, Spain defeated Kazakhstan and the Netherlands outscored South Africa. All three have finished the Preliminary Round with 8 points but Italy claimed the top place thanks to a better goal difference. Curiously Netherlands beat Spain who beat Italy who beat Netherlands.
Tomorrow Hungary and Italy will be opposed to the 4th ranked team of the other Group: Hungary will play Germany, Italy will face Romania.
Already qualified for the Quarters Finals both teams played in energy saving mood. Canada was more interested to win this match against France, the other revelation of the tournament and they made by large. It was the third win for the side coached by Giuseppe Porzio, who, having sealed up to games in a tie, finished the Preliminary Round unbeaten.
Energy saving mood also for the French coach Florian Bruzzo, whose voice today was almost never heard, differently from the previous days.
Giuseppe Porzio, coach of Canada): "We represent a serious country and we honor our commitments, we did our duty. Until now we played an awesome tournament. If we're going to play against Spain we'll meet a big team. We'll play our chances".
Kevin Graham, Canada’s player: "Before we started the qualification tournament our target was to make the quarter finals. Today, we get the best position possible in ranking. Our second target is to qualify for the Olympic games and tomorrow we will try."
Alexandre Camarasa, France’s captain: "I'm disappointed how we played. It was a tough game. Canada is a strong team. We'll concentrate for quarter final. It will be a battle".
With two early goals soon after the start Hungary’s captain Daniel Varga put his team on the right path. Hungary managed to control the game all the way quite comfortably. At half time Hungary was leading 10-5. After the 3rd quarter Hungary had again scored twice he goals of Slovakia, 12-6. In the last period the Magyars increased he gap to defeat their neighbours
Hungary finished the Group on top undefeated, with 4 wins and a tie. Tomorrow, in the quarters it will play against Germany, the 4th ranked in Group B. Slovakia collected the fifth defeat and stood at zero points. Daniel Varga was the game’s top scorer with 4 goals, all wrapped within a lapse of 9 minutes.
Tibor Benedek, coach of Hungary: "The beginning of this game was very difficult. We were under pressure because we played for the first place. After the first period we took control of the game and we played very well. Tomorrow we will play Germany. It will be tough because of the pressure and the fact that the Olympic Games are a dream for every player".
Denes Varga, Hungary’s player: "Being the first was our main goal so we had to win. I'm satisfied and now we concentrate on tomorrow. I except victory over Germany".
Antonio Esteller Serrahima, coach of Slovakia: "It was a very hard tournament. We play every day. The players were more tired so it was difficult for us. Slovak water polo doesn't have a lot of players and it's a problem. We arrived here with two players under eighteen years old. And from 16 to 21 there's no player of international level in Slovakia".
Martin Kolarik (Slovakia): "I'm not satisfied how we played. We made a lot of mistakes and we weren't concentrate. We were very happy about the chance to play for the qualifications to the Olympic Games, and we tried our best. However this tournament is a good experience, there are a lot of good teams here".
Russia went into this game with 2 points, Romania with 3. Victory was badly needed for Russia to qualify for the quarter finals, a tie would be enough for Romania to go through. Russia went swiftly up 3 goals, Romania fought back, reaching the tie at 4-4 with 1:07 to the end of the 2nd quarter, on extra man, with their best striker, and the tournament top scorer, Tiberiu Negrean. The sequel of scores tells the story of the first half game: 3-0, 3-1, 3-2, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4. Both teams won a quarter with the identical score of 3-1, Russia the first, Romania the second.
The 3rd quarter did not resolve anything as it was tied 3-3. The score before the last fraction, which would predictably be fast and furious, was 7-7. 4th quarter. 8-7, 8-8 with two minutes to the end. It stayed like that until the expiration of the game. Romania will advance to the quarters.
Cosmin Radu, Romania’s captain: "We played very badly but in the end we managed to tie. They had a great advantage. We were able to get into the match in the last two periods. Now we expect Italy. They are the favorites but we will give our best".
Dmitrii Kholod, Russia’s captain: "It was an hard game. Romania is a strong team. We weren't good at defense. Our tournament is finished. I'm so sad".
With 3 goals in each period, except the third when they scored 7, Spain had no difficulty in controlling the game and winning it on a 12-goal difference, 16-4.
Spain went swiftly ahead 3-0 in the first five minutes, with goals from Sziranyi, Munarriz and Echenique. Then the Iberians controlled the reaction of the Kazakhstanis: 6-3 the score at half time. In the 3rd period Spain crushed Kazakhstan under 7 unanswered goals, to finish the period on 13-3. In the last period Spain scored thrice, Kazakhstan one time.
Gabriel Hernandez, Spain’s coach: "I expect a hard quarter final, where emotions will play a big role. We are in shape".
Marc Minguel, Spain’s player: "This match wasn't too important. I think Kazakhstan is tired after all the matches so it was simple for us to win. At the quarter final we will play against Canada. We are prepared for a difficult game because Canada is very strong, they win all matches they play. In general the tournament is difficult and balanced".
Sergey Drovdov, Kazakhstan’s coach: "It was a very bad game for us. We may analyze this tournament and this experience. In the future we will change the team because some players have finished their careers. I hope you will see a better Kazakhstan".
The Netherlands obtained easily their fourth victory while South Africa inevitably suffered its fifth loss in five matches. The Dutch had a low start allowing their opponents to make a good impression, scoring the first 2 goals of the match and staying close to the Netherlands until half time when the Dutch were just 2-goal up, leading 7-5.
The second half was a different story as coach Robin Van Galen managed to wake up his players: they scored 10 goals, receiving 2 from the South Africans.
Robin Van Galen, coach of the Netherlands: "My players were thinking of the quarter finals and for this reason they didn't start well. After two periods we said that we have to focus on this game. I think that we have the 50% of chances of winning against France".
Lucas Gielen, Netherlands’ player: "We came later into this game. We thought of the game against France tomorrow, a match that will be really hard, very closed. We are a little bit tired but I think we have a real chance, we have a good hope".
Julian Lewis, South Africa’s goalkeeper: "It was a very good tournament. We are amateur players, we came to learn. I really enjoy it. It's an incredible experience".
The first and the last quarters were tied respectively 1-1 and 3-3 while both the central quarters were won by Italy with the identical score, 4-1. Eventually Italy won scoring twice as many goals a Germany, 12-6. The opener came from Figlioli, soon answered from Preuss.
In the second quarter the home team geared up and scored 4 goals, with Gitto, Nora, again Figlioli and Aicardi; Germany’s only goal came from Eidner.
Score at half time 7-5. All 7 goals made in the first half were on action. Italy had missed 5 extra man opportunities, Germany one. A few seconds inside the 3rd quarter Figlioli scored, again on action, his third goal. A couple of minutes inside the third fraction Giorgetti sent Italy up 5 goals on a fast counter attack. Stamm narrowed the gap to 4 goal on a blaze from outside (7-3). After 2 consecutive goals from Luongo Italy’s advantage went up to 6 goal (9-3) and the game was virtually over.
Luongo’s 3rd goal came 2 minutes inside the last period, followed up by Figlioli’s 4th goal (11-3). Stamm on action and Cuk twice, the first on extra player the second on action, narrowed the gap. The last goal of the match came from Gitto, from outside. Final score 12-6 for Italy.
Alessandro Campagna, Italy’s coach: “I’m satisfied with today’s game. My players showed the right concentration though we had some difficulties at the beginning. Germany is a very good team and their defense is outstanding. Then we geared up and managed the game as we wanted. We are already focused on tomorrow’s match: that’s when everything will come together and we will have to finalize four years of work. Romania is a good team, they have a great coach, and deserve a lot or respect”.