Improved Brazil tops USA Men for World League Bronze

Brasil pregame facebook

The bronze medal match long looked to be in the hands of USA who deservedly led most of the match-up with Brazil and looked well underway of underlining their recent progression with a World League bronze medal. The turnaround however came in the final period and was huge, also in setting up an epic finish in the form of 27-shot penalty shootout. But before that Brazil used a final sprint in the 4th quarter to overcome not only a USA lead throughout most the match but also an excellent performance by USA goalie Merill Moses in the second half who long made sure USA’s lead remain but finally had to capitulate as Brazil via goals from Josip Vrlic and Bernardo Gomes, with just 7 seconds on the clock, levelled the game in its final stages. The shootout then looked to be decided early as well as Moses saved the very first Brazil attempt but his counterpart Thye Bezerra did the same moments later so the score was tied. From that point on the shooting both teams was outstanding as no goalie could make a save until in the very beginning of the 4th series when USA captain Tony Azevedo missed and saw Jonas Crivella hitting on the other end as Brazilian celebrations began. It marked their best result in the World League.

The bronze medal match long looked to be in the hands of USA who deservedly led most of the match-up with Brazil and looked well underway of underlining their recent progression with a World League bronze medal. The turnaround however came in the final period and was huge, also in setting up an epic finish in the form of 27-shot penalty shootout. But before that Brazil used a final sprint in the 4th quarter to overcome not only a USA lead throughout most the match but also an excellent performance by USA goalie Merill Moses in the second half who long made sure USA’s lead remain but finally had to capitulate as Brazil via goals from Josip Vrlic and Bernardo Gomes, with just 7 seconds on the clock, levelled the game in its final stages. The shootout then looked to be decided early as well as Moses saved the very first Brazil attempt but his counterpart Thye Bezerra did the same moments later so the score was tied. From that point on the shooting both teams was outstanding as no goalie could make a save until in the very beginning of the 4th series when USA captain Tony Azevedo missed and saw Jonas Crivella hitting on the other end as Brazilian celebrations began. It marked their best result in the World League.

The hosts have finished 7th at this year’s World League Super Final. Italy after a slow start recovered in the second period to beat China 9-16 in the first match in Bergamo on Sunday. The Italian side suffered from a sloppy start in which China quickly jumped out to a 2-0 and eventual 5-3 lead at quarter-time. In the second period however the Alessandro Campagna coached side restored order and by half-time already led 6-9. That advantage would only be extended in, especially, a one-sided final period where Italy could cruise to the 9-16 victory avoiding a last-place finish. Alex Giorgetti, Fabio Baraldi and Andrea Fondelli earned top scoring honours scoring 3 goals each.

Australia then claimed 5th place thanks to a nice 9-6 win over last year’s finalist Hungary. The difference by the Aussie Sharks was made in the second half in which Hungary’s resistance that got them back in the game during the second period, looked more or less broken. The Hungarians lacked the focus and sharpness especially in defence to ensure a 5th-place finish in Bergamo, were unable to stop the Australian offence in the second half as the Aussie Sharks turned around a 3-4 deficit into an 8-5 lead in the first half of the final period. By then the game was played as Australia, after their semifinal berth at last year’s Super Final in Dubai, this year made sure they came as close as possible to that eventual 4th-place finish. Richie Campbell topped the Sharks’ scorers list with 3 goals.

The final of the tournament brought equal excitement as Serbia completed a 2nd-half turnaround by beating Croatia 9-6 to win to repeat as World League champions and qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It marked their 7th win in the past 9 years. Much like the 2011 edition, won by Serbia in Florence and this qualified for the next Olympics as first team next to the hosts, the Serbs repeated that feature this year. But it certainly didn’t looked like it in the first half. Croatia simply had the better hand as Serbia struggled on offence and especially in extra man situations to beat the tight Croatian defence. The Croats on the other end took command in the second period and seemingly comfortable led 2-4 at half-time. The second half however looked different. Serbia all of a sudden started to convert on their man-up possessions which fueled their 2nd-half performance. The game was levelled 5-5 at the end of the 3rd quarter but even more convincingly Serbia pushed through in the early stages of the 4th period. Consecutive goals by youngster Nikola Jaksic, and nice shots from Milos Cuk and Andrija Prlainovic had the Serbs suddendly leading 8-5 with just under 4 minutes remaining. That run proved decisive. Although Sandro Sukno quickly converted a penalty shot on the other end, the response by Serbia was right there. Dusko Pijetlovic, top scorer of the final scoring 3 goals, tipped in another one from the post on man-up as he sealed the deal with still 3 minutes to go. Croatia got their shots by missed three of them in the remainder as Serbia went on to crown themselves World League champions once more, earning $ 100,000 prize money and thus qualifying for next year’s Olympics.
2015 FINA Men’s World League Super Final
Bergamo, Italy

Schedule and results

Sunday, 28 June

China (L17) vs. Italy (L18) 9-16 (5-3, 1-6, 2-2, 1-5) – 7th/8th place
China scorers: Tao Dong 3, Ninanxiang Liang 2, Feihu Tan, Wenhui Lu, Ze Kai Xie, Jinghao Chen.

Italy scorers: Alex Giorgetti 3, Andrea Fondelli 3, Fabio Baraldi 3, Matteo Aicardi 2, Francesco di Fulvio, Alessandro Velotto, Pietro Figlioli, Nicholas Presciutti, Stefano Luongo.

Australia (W17) vs. Hungary (W18) 9-6 (2-1, 1-2, 4-2, 2-1) – 5th/6th place
Australia scorers: Richie Campbell 3, Aaron Younger 2, Nathan Power 2, Johnno Cotterill, Aidan Roach.

Hungary scorers: Daniel Varga 2, Denes Varga 2, Balazs Erdelyi, Marton Vamos.

Brazil (L19) vs. USA (L20) 24-23 (1-3, 1-3, 3-2, 5-2; penalties: 14-13) – bronze medal
Brazil scorers: Bernardo Gomes 4, Josip Vrlic 2, Guilherme Gomes, Adria Delgado, Felipe Santos, Felipe Perrone.

USA scorers: Tony Azevedo 4, Alex Obert 2, Bret Bonanni 2, Luca Cupido, Alex Bowen.

Serbia (W19) vs. Croatia (W20) 9-6 (1-1, 1-3, 3-1, 4-1) – final
Serbia scorers: Dusko Pijetlovic 3, Dusan Mandic 2, Andrija Prlainovic 2, Milos Cuk, Nikola Jaksic.

Croatia scorers: Maro Jokovic 2, Sandro Sukno 2, Luka Bukic, Ante Vukicevic.

Tournament winner earns berth for 2016 Olympic Games.