Camillo Cametti, FINA Media Committee Chairman

In Day 6, the eight teams admitted to the Quarters Finals played all their cards in one decisive match to claim an Olympic berth at the coming up 2016 Olympic Games. All four matches were hard fought and their outcome was uncertain until the end.

All the four teams that qualified made it the hard way: the highest ranked - Hungary, Spain and Italy – winning their game with the minimum advantage of one goal (Italy at 7 seconds to the end) and with the identical score of 8-7. France managed to come back to the Olympic Games after 24 years, and after winning the penalty shootouts. Germany, Canada, Netherlands and Romania were valiant opponents but tonight luck was not on their side.

The four teams qualified from this tournament reach in the Olympic Games tournament the eight teams that have already secured a place: Australia, Brazil (as host), Croatia, Greece, Japan, Montenegro, Serbia, USA.

Schedule and Results of Day 6/Friday, 8th April - Quarters Finals
31. 16:00 1A-4B Hungary-Germany 8-7
32. 17:30 2A-3B Canada-Spain 7-8
33. 19:00 3A-2B France-Netherlands 12-11 after penalty shootouts
34. 20:30 4A-1B Romania-Italy 7-8

Game by Game

Game 31 – 16.00 Hungary-Germany 8-7 (1-0, 4-2; 2-1, 1-4)

Hungary: 1. Viktor Nagy, 2.Gergo Zalanki, 3. Krisztian Manhercz (2), 4. Balasz Erdely (2), 5. Marton Vamos, 6. Norbert Hosnyanszky (1), 7. Adam Decker, 8. Marton Szivos (1), 9. Daniel Varga ©, 10. Denes Varga (3, 2P), 11. Krisztian Bedo, 12. Balasz Harai, 13. David Bisztritsanyi. Head Coach: Tibor Benedek.

Germany: 1. Roger Kong, 2. Erik Bukowski (2), 3. Christian Schlanstedt, 4. Julian Real © (1), 5. Tobias Preuss, 6.Maurice Jungling, 7. Heiko Nossek (2), 8. Paul Schuler, 9. Marko Stamm, 10. Mateo Cuk (1), 11. Marin Restovic (1), 12. Dennis Eidner, 13. Tim Hohne. Head Coach: Patrick Weissinger.

Referees: Joseph Peila (USA), Adrian Alexandrescu (ROM).  
FINA Delegates: Khosrow Amini, Manuel Ibern.

Notes – Excluded with substitution Stamm (G) in the 2nd period,  Daniel Varga (H) and Szivos (H) in the 4th period. Extra man goals: Hungary 3/6, Germany 3/12.

Hungary qualified to the  Olympic Games beating Germany 8-7, with a break of 3-0 in the first 11 minutes and 17 seconds. Hungary won the first three quarters but lost badly the last one, eventually winning the game by only goal, after risking the tie and the subsequent penalty shootouts. The Magyars players scored the majority of their goals either on extra man or on penalty.

There was only one goal in the 1st period, scored by Hungary’s n.4 Erdely on extra player. Defenses prevailed with the outstanding contribution of both goalkeepers. Germany missed 2 extra man opportunities, Hungary one. Hungary scored again on extra man less than a minute inside the 2nd period, this time with Manhercz (2-0). At 3:27 from the start Denes Varga sent Hungary up one more goal on penalty. At 3:51, Nossek scored the first goal for Germany on extra man: 3-1. An assist from Erdely prompted Szivos to net nicely a “flying” ball, one of the rare Hungarian action goals in this match. Germany’s answered with its center forward Cuk, also on action. Soon after Erdely, scored his second extra man goal. 5-2 for Hungary the score at half time.

In the second period Hungary took advantage of both their extra man opportunities, Germany only of 1 out of 4. At 2:57 inside the 3rd period Denes Varga converted his second penalty sending Hungary up 4 goals (6-2). At 3 minutes to the end Hungary’s n.10 scored his 3rd goal. At 15 seconds to the end Bukowsky scored for Germany on extra man. The score before the last quarter 7-3 for Hungary.

In the first minute of the last leg Manhercz scored his second goal, again on extra man, soon answered by Nossek’ second goal, on action (8-4). At 3:12 Germany’s captain Real started the charge of the Germans, scoring a goal on a blaze from the middle distance. Less than a minute later left hander Restovic followed up narrowing the gap to 2 goals (8-6). Finally Bukowski scored the third consecutive goal for Germany, and the last goal of the match, on a furious counter attack (8-7). In the last 2 minutes of the game Hungary incredibly missed twice extra man opportunities; Germany missed one too, on expiration. Hungary won by one goal and qualified for Rio.

Patrick Weissinger, coach of Germany: "We are very angry about how we started the game. Then we have reacted and have been very unlucky. We deserved at least penalty shootout, or even more. However it was a good game. Now we will work on young players and will prepare for the next Olympic Games in Tokyo".

Heiko Nossek, Germany’s player: "It's difficult to say what went wrong. I think we played well in the first and fourth periods and not in the middle of the match. Hungary thought that they had already won but we filled the gap. I missed the last shot. I wanted to do a lob. It's hard to us accept the defeat as today we played one of the best match like national team against one of the biggest teams in the world. This is my last tournament and it's a pity that it goes like that but life goes on".

Denes Varga, Hungary’s player: "This match was hard. Germany is a very good team but we had the game in our hands. The advantage of the beginning was worthwhile in the end. In Rio I expect this kind of matches with equality. At the Olympic Games there will be only strong teams".

HUN-GER - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Game 32 – 17.30 Canada-Spain 7-8 (1-2, 2-2; 0-3, 4-1)

Canada: 1. Dusan Aleksic, 2. Constantin Kudaba (1), 3. Oliver Vikalo (), 4.Nicolas Constantin Bicari, 5. Justin Boyd (2), 6. Scott Robinson (), 7. David Lapins, 8. Kevin Graham © (1), 9. Dusan Radoscic, 10. John Conway (1), 11. Giorges Torakis, 12. Jared McElroy (2), 13. Robin Randall. Head Coach: Giuseppe Porzio.

Spain: 1. Inaki Aguilar, 2. Alberto Munarriz, 3. Alejandro Busto, 4. Ricard Alarcon (1), 5. Guillermo Molina (3, 2P), 6. Marc Minguell , 7.Balasz Sziranyi , 8. Albert Espanol (1), 9. Roger Tahull, 10. Francisco Fernandez , 11. Blai Mallarach (1), 12. Gonzalo Echenique (2), 13. Daniel Lopez. Head Coach: Gabriel Hernandez.

Referees: Vojin Putnikovic (SRB), Balasz Szekely (HUN).  
FINA Delegates: Alan Balfanbayev, Takeshi Inoue.

Notes – Exclusion with substitution Bustos Sanchez (S) and Torakis (C) in the 3rd  period, Munarriz (S) in the 4th period. Extra man goals: Canada 4/13, Spain 3/8.

Spain narrowly won the first quarter (2-1), tied the second (2-2), dominated the third 3-0 and lost the 4th period 4-1, to eventually win by one goal, 8-7.

Canada scored first with Graham on extra man. Then Molina scored twice for Spain first on man up and the on penalty. In the 2nd quarter the first goal came again from Canada, on action, with Boyd (2-2). Alarcon put up Spain on man up (2-3). Molina followed up with his third goal. Boyd answered for Canada scoring his second goal from the center. Score at half time 3 for Canada, 4 for Spain.

Spain up one more goal on action with Echenique a 1 minute and a half inside he 3rd period. A minute later one more goal from Spain with Mallarach on extra player (3-6), followed up minutes later by Echenique’s second goal, also on man up. Going into the last period Spain had a comfortable 4-goal edge. Conway scored for Canada (4-7). A goal from Espanol allowed Spain to keep the 4-goal edge at 2:20 from the end (4-8). Then Canada scored three goals in sequence in the last two minutes: with Kudaba, and McElroy (2). A tardive reaction which produced a defeat by just one goal, 7-8: honorable but bitter. On the other side the joy of the winners for the Olympic berth was irrepressible.

Guillermo Molina, Spain’s player: "The Olympic Games are the goal we wanted to reach at the beginning of the season; we are very happy, it was a difficult road. The first defeat of this tournament made us wake up and after that we played better. Canada is a strong team, they showed it in this tournament. I'm very satisfied about this success".

Alberto Espanol: "This match has put on us a lot of pressure, as the work of an entire sports career was at stake. Going to Olympic Games is the result of the work of a lifetime. In Rio de Janeiro we will aim to win a medal".

Giuseppe Porzio, coach of Canada: "It was a beautiful experience. We always played quite well. Today there were great tension and emotions. We were often wrong in extra play. We shook out at the end but too late. The team with more talent and experience won. Lose for one goal against the big Spain is a good beginning."

CAN-ESP - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Game 33 – 19.00 France-Netherlands  12-11 after penalty shootouts - 8-8 after regular time (1-3, 2-1; 2-2, 3-2 ;4-3)

France: 1. Remi Garsau, 2. Remi Saudadier, 3. Igor Kovacevic, 4. Romain Blary, 5. Enzo Khasz, 6. Thibaut Simon (1), 7.Ugo Crousillat, 8. Michal Izdinsky (1), 9. Mehdi Marzouki (2), 10. Mathieu Peisson (1), 11. Petar Tomasevic, 12. Alexandre Camarasa © (3), 13. Billy Noyon. Head Coach: Florian Bruzzo.

Netherlands: 1. Eelco Wagenaar, 2. Yoran Frauenfelder (1), 3. Jorn Winkelhorst (1), 4. Ruud Van der Horst, 5. Lucas Gielen (2), 6. Robin Lindhout (2), 7. Lars Cottemaker, 8. Lars Reuten, 9. Josep Van der Bersselaar, 10. Roeland Spijker ©, 11. Jesse Koopman, 12. Thomas Lucas (2), 13. Ruben Hoepelman. Head Coach: Robin Van Galen.

Referees: Radoslaw Koryzna (POL), Filippo Gomez (ITA).  
FINA Delegates: Alan Balfanbayev, John Whitehouse.

Notes - Extra man goals: France 1/5, Netherlands 2/5.

France won the game after penalty shootouts and qualified for the Olympic Games, a fantastic result for the side coached by Florian Bruzzo. Netherlands drove the match for the most part but in the final minutes France came back strongly and managed to impose the tie at 8-8.

The drama of penalty shootouts was resolved in favour of the French side when Marzouki scored the last penalty. Before him France had missed one, Netherlands two. This was the sequence: Lindhout (N), Peisson (F) missed, Gielen (N) missed, Simon (F), Gottemaker (N), Crousillat (F), Koopman (N), Izdinsky (F), Spijker (N) missed, Marzouki (F).

Netherlands up 2 goals in the first half of the first period thanks to action goals from Gielen and Lucas on counterattack. At half time the score was 3-4: for France 3 action goals, for Netherlands 2 goals on action and 2 on man up.

Lucas scored his second goal for Netherlands after two minutes and a half inside the third quarter, soon answered by Izdinsky for France. Frauenfelder pushed the Netherlands up 2 goals again. With few seconds to the end of the period Marzouki scored his second goal for France. The teams went into the 4th quarter on 5-6, and the game was still wide open. 43 seconds inside the last period Winkelhorst scored on extra man (5-7). France answered with three action goals from its captain Camarasa and went one goal up, 8-7, before Lindhout managed to tie 8-8. The last minute was dramatic but it did not change the result. Penalty shootouts were needed.

Mehdi Marzouki , France’s player: "I scored the last penalty for the victory but it's a team work. It could have been another player, he would score it too. During the game we have fought against the opponent up to the Camarasa's goal. But we didn't give up. At the end we had the possibility to win on extra player but we didn't score. France didn't qualify for the Olympic Games from Barcelona 1992. We are proud".

Alexandre Camarasa, France’s captain: "My team worked very hard but when Netherlands was 7-5 we thought that the match was finished for us, but it didn't go that way. The Olympic pass is incredible: just four years ago we were playing for the European qualification tournament! It's very exciting that after 24 years we are going to the Olympic Games again".

Robin Van Galen, coach of Netherlands: "We played a good match but we were unlucky. Sometimes you win other times you lose".

FRA-NED - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia

Game 34 – 20.30 Romania-Italy 7-8 (0-2, 3-2; 3-3, 1-1)

Romania: 1. Dragos Stonescu, 2. Cosmin Radu © (1), 3. Tiberiu Negrean (1), 4. Mihnea Gheorghe (3), 5. Nicolae Oanta, 6. Dan Andrei Busila, 7. Daniel Teohari, 8. Mihnea Chioveanu, 9. Dimitri Goanta, 10. Roland Szabo, 11. Alexandru Ghiban (2), 12. Alex Popoviciu, 13. Marius Tic. Head Coach: Dejan Stanojevic.

Italy: 1. Stefano Tempesti©, 2. Francesco Di Fulvio (2), 3. Niccolò Gitto, 4. Pietro Figlioli (2), 5. Alex Giorgetti, 6. Michael Bodegas, 7. Alessandro Velotto, 8. Alessandro Nora, 9. Christian Presciutti (1), 10. Stefano Luongo (1), 11. Matteo Aicardi (1), 12. Fabio Baraldi (1), 13. Marco Del Lungo. Head Coach. Alessandro Campagna.

Referees: Georgios Stavridis (GRE), Sergey Naumov (RUS).
FINA Delegates: Takeshi Inoue, Manuel Ibern.

Notes - Red card for Goanta (R) in the 4th period. Extra ma goals: Romania 3/6, Italy 3/9. Attendance 1500. For Romania the goalkeeper was Tic (n. 13).

Italy almost always ahead with Romania always closely behind or even. The Settebello finished the 1st period on 2-0,with goals from Di Fulvio after just 21 seconds and Baraldi in power play. Romania narrowed with Ghiban, scoring the first goal after 12'05, and tied with Gheorghe. Italy went +2 (5-3) with goals from Di Fulvio on extra man and Aicardi. Presciutti scored to keep the 2-goal lead.
Romania answered with two goals from Negrean and Ghiban for 6-6. Figlioli scored the last goal of the 3rd quarter (7-6 for Italy). In the last period Romania tied with Gheorghe, Figlioli scored the winning goal on extra man at 7 seconds from the end.

Two goals for Italy in the 1st quarter – a fast opener from Di Fulvio at 21 seconds after the start of the game, then Baraldi – answered by two goals of Romania – from Ghiban and Gheorghe – in the 2nd quarter. Towards the end of the period, with 1:47  minutes to play, Italy scored his third with Luongo, soon after answered by Ghiban. But Di Fulvio at 18 seconds to the end of the period , scored also his second to allow Italy a one goal lead at half time, 3-4.

In the 3rd period a goal from Aicardi was answered promptly by Radu (4-5). Presciutti on extra man gave Italy its first 2-goal advantage (4-6). A lob shot from Negrean and Gheorge’s 2nd goal enabled Romania to tie 6-6 at about 2 minutes from the end of the period. A missile from Figlioli at 22 seconds from the end of the period gave Italy a new one-goal lead. The score at the end of the 3rd fraction 6-7. The prize of the Olympic qualification was still at stake.

In the last period Gheorghe’ third goal prompted Romania’s tie at 7-7. Italy claimed the Olympic qualification with another missile from Figlioli on extra man at 7.7 seconds to the end. Final score 7-8.
 
The team and the public on the tribunes, crowded at full capacity, could finally celebrate. The Romanians, who fought with bravery and had given it all in this match, were left in despair. The two faces of sport.

Italy’s coach Alessandro Campagna was relieved: “Winning the match, and such an important and emotional match was very important for the maturation of my team. Winning in such dramatic circumstances will help my players to grow up”.

 

ROU-ITA - Photo by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia