Greece defeated the USA by a resounding victory 16-11 on Wednesday and qualified for the semifinals of the FINA World Championships held in Budapest, Hungary.
“Greece belongs on the top tier of world water polo and showed it.” announced FINA on their website, adding the “USA toiled hard, but missed some vital chances and could not play at full tilt for the whole match.”
Following the stunning victory, head coach for the Greek national team Theodoros Vlachos said that ‘the key was the defence’.
“We focused on some of their players and we made a good performance. The teams know each other as we had joint practices together in the last two years. I believe that my team has more quality and we showed it in the second half, when we were clearly better than our rival. We have already qualified for the top four; we want to win a medal, the first step will be the next game when we play for the final. We have different emotions now, we don’t have the pressure, we are in the semi-final. Of course, we are not satisfied with this, we try to do our best, step by step till the end.” noted Vlachos.
Match hero for the Greek team with five goals, Stylianos Agryropoulos noted that the team stayed focus during the whole game and played a good defence, and in the attack found solutions.
“I think Hungary will be tougher for us, the stadium will be full. Yeah, I may face some future team-mates; that’s life, that’s sport. I’m looking forward to that.” he noted.
Acknowledging the Greek team’s superiority Head Coach for the USA team Dejan Udovicic (USA) said “we changed the type of defence two or three times to get the rhythm, but it is not an accident that Greece finished second in Tokyo. We try to win every game, so it is the plan for the next one, also.”
“USA was big and strong and could shoot, but hesitated at times and did not have the spontaneity of the awesome Greeks. There was nothing between the teams in the first half, turning at 7-7. However, USA found the Greek defence too good and could not penetrate in the third. By this time, Greece had marched onward to 10-7 and then 12-7 soon after the fourth quarter started. USA drowned the drought, so to speak, when Hannes Daube drilled his third, this time from the right-hand-catch position, cross cage for 12-8 at 6:15 — nearly 12 minutes since the previous USA goal. Greece responded quickly and the margin was again five. Goals were traded to 15-10, after which Alex Bowen was red-carded for showing the referee what he thought happened with his exclusion foul. An earlier red card was distributed to Greek assistant coach, Anastasios Schizas. USA captain Ben Hallock made it a four-goal difference and a steal and counter in the last minute, gave Angelos Vlachopoulos his third goal and pushed the margin back to five. Greece had arrived at the top four.” reported FINA