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| Event type

Water Polo, Men

Date10 – 24 August 2008
StatusOlympic
LocationYingdong Youyongguan, Beijing Aolinpike Gongyuan, Beijing
Participants153 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.

Hungary had won the gold medal in both 2000 and 2004, but since the Athens Olympics, had made a habit of finishing second in major championships, mostly to Serbia. Serbia & Montenegro won the 2005 World Championships over Hungary, and in 2006 Serbia defeated Hungary in the final of both the World Cup and the European Championships. In 2007 Hungary again placed second at the World Championships, this time losing in the final to Croatia. Serbia was the favorite in Beijing, having won the World Superleague Final earlier in the year.

In group play, Hungary won Group A, while the United States surprisingly won Group B, advancing both teams directly to the semi-finals. There they were joined by Serbia, who defeated Croatia in one quarter-final, and Montenegro, who defeated Spain in the other. Obviously the remnants of Yugoslavia were still top notch in water polo. Hungary defeated Montenegro 11-9, in one semi-final, while in the other, the United States surprised Serbia, winning 10-5. The final was close for three quarters, with Hungary leading 9-8 at the halftime break. The USA scored early in the third quarter to equalize at 9-9, but Hungary then put the match away with five straight goals, before the US added a meaningless final goal with just under two minutes remaining, as Hungary won the gold medal, 14-10.

For Hungary this was their ninth gold medal in Olympic water polo, all by their men, and their 15th medal in all. From 1924-80 they had won medals at 12 consecutive Olympics. The United States won their ninth Olympic water polo medal, but other than the unusual 1904 Olympics, none of these were gold. Serbia won the bronze in Beijing, which was the 10th medal won by Yugoslavia (7), Serbia & Montenegro (2), or Serbia (1).

In a preliminary round match against China, Serbia’s Aleksandar Šapić became the third Olympic player to score nine goals in one match, after Hungarian János Németh in 1932, and Yugoslav Zoran Janković in 1968. Šapić was Serbia’s top player and had led the Olympic tournament in scoring in both 2000 and 2004, but was not available for the semi-final match against the USA in 2008, having hurt his knee, he returned to Serbia for surgery. The leading scorer in the 2008 men’s tournament was Italy’s Alessandro Calcaterra with 27 goals. This was the fourth highest scoring Olympic tournament ever, trailing Manuel Estiarte (ESP) and Nicolas van der Voet (NED), with 33 in 1984 and 1968, respectively; Eraldo Pizzo (ITA) with 29 in 1968; and equalling Estiarte, who also scored 27 in 1988.

PosCompetitor(s)NOC
1HungaryHUNGold
Tibor BenedekPéter BirosIstván GergelyNorbert HosnyánszkyTamás KásásGábor KisGergő KissNorbert MadarasTamás MolnárZoltán SzécsiDániel VargaDénes VargaTamás Varga
2United StatesUSASilver
Tony AzevedoRyan BaileyLayne BeaubienBrandon BrooksPeter HudnutTim HuttenJ. W. KrumpholzRick MerloMerrill MosesJeff PowersJesse SmithPeter VarellasAdam Wright
3SerbiaSRBBronze
Aleksandar ĆirićFilip FilipovićŽivko GocićBranko PekovićDuško PijetlovićAndrija PrlainovićNikola RađenAleksandar ŠapićDejan SavićDenis ŠefikSlobodan SoroVanja UdovičićVlada Vujasinović
4MontenegroMNE
Draško BrguljanVladimir GojkovićAleksandar IvovićMlađan JanovićNikola JanovićPredrag JokićVjekoslav PaskovićZdravko RadićMiloš ŠćepanovićMilan TičićVeljko UskokovićNikola VukčevićBoris Zloković
5SpainESP
Iñaki AguilarÁngel Luis AndreoIván GallegoXavier GarcíaMario José GarcíaDavid MartínMarc MinguellGuillermo MolinaIván PérezFelipe PerroneKiko PerroneSvilen IvanovXavi Vallès
6CroatiaCRO
Samir BaračMiho BoškovićDamir BurićAndro BušljeTeo ĐogašIgor HinićMaro JokovićAljoša KunacPavo MarkovićJosip PavićMile SmodlakaFrano VićanZdeslav Vrdoljak
7GreeceGRE
Khristos AfroudakisGeorgios AfroudakisNikolaos DeligiannisKonstantinos KokkinakisDimitrios MazisDimitrios MiteloudisEmmanouil MylonakisGeorgios NtoskasGeorgios ReppasAnastasios SkhizasArgyris TheodoropoulosIoannis ThomakosAntonios Vlontakis
8AustraliaAUS
Jamie BeadsworthRichie CampbellPietro FiglioliTrent FranklinRhys HowdenRobert MaitlandAnthony MartinSam McGregorTim NeeshamJames Stanton-FrenchRafael SterkThomas WhalanGavin Woods
9ItalyITA
Alberto AngeliniFabio BencivengaLeonardo BinchiFabrizio BuonocoreAlessandro CalcaterraLuigi Di CostanzoMaurizio FelugoValentino GalloAndrea MangianteFederico MistrangeloLeonardo SottaniStefano Tempesti
10GermanyGER
Tobias KreuzmannSören MackebenFlorian NaroskaHeiko NossekMoritz OelerMarc PolitzeJulian RealMarko SavicThomas SchertwitisAndreas SchlotterbeckMarko StammAlexander Tchigir
11CanadaCAN
Justin BoydDevon DiggleAaron FelthamKevin GrahamBrandon JungCon KudabaThomas MarksNathaniel MillerKevin MitchellSasa PalamarevicRobin RandallJean SayeghNic Youngblud
12People's Republic of ChinaCHN
Ge WeiqingHan ZhidongLi BinLi JunLiang ZhongxingTan FeihuWang BeimingWang YangWang YongWu ZhiyuXie JunminYu Lijun

Preliminary Round (10 – 18 August 2008)

Group A (10 – 18 August 2008)

Round-robin pool.

PosCompetitor(s)NOCWinsTiesLossesPointsGoals ForGA
1HungaryHUN41096036
2SpainESP40185234
3MontenegroMNE22164333
4AustraliaAUS21254540
5GreeceGRE10423956
6CanadaCAN00502161

Match #1 ESP 16 – 6CAN
Match #2 HUN 10 – 10MNE
Match #3 AUS 12 – 8GRE
Match #4 MNE 12 – 0CAN
Match #5 ESP 9 – 8AUS
Match #6 HUN 17 – 6GRE
Match #7 HUN 8 – 5ESP
Match #8 MNE 10 – 6GRE
Match #9 AUS 8 – 5CAN
Match #10 GRE 13 – 7CAN
Match #11 ESP 12 – 6MNE
Match #12 HUN 13 – 12AUS
Match #13 HUN 12 – 3CAN
Match #14 AUS 5 – 5MNE
Match #15 ESP 10 – 6GRE

Group B (10 – 18 August 2008)

Round-robin pool.

PosCompetitor(s)NOCWinsTiesLossesPointsGoals ForGA
1United StatesUSA401837311
2CroatiaCRO40185631
3SerbiaSRB30265038
4GermanyGER203433442
5ItalyITA20345750
6People's Republic of ChinaCHN00502564

Match #1 SRB 11 – 7GER
Match #2 CRO 11 – 7ITA
Match #3 USA 8 – 4CHN
Match #4 USA 12 – 11ITA
Match #5 CRO 11 – 8SRB
Match #6 GER 6 – 5CHN
Match #7 CRO 13 – 5GER
Match #8 SRB 4 – 2USA
Match #9 ITA 19 – 7CHN
Match #10 GER 8 – 7ITA
Match #11 USA 7 – 5CRO
Match #12 SRB 15 – 5CHN
Match #13 ITA 13 – 12SRB
Match #14 USA 8 – 7GER
Match #15 CRO 16 – 4CHN

Quarter-Finals (20 August 2008)

Winners of each match advanced to semi-finals.

Match #1 MNE 7 – 6CRO
Match #2 SRB 9 – 5ESP

Classification Round 7-12 (20 August 2008)

Classification matches.

Match #1 ITA 13 – 11CAN
Match #2 GRE 13 – 8CHN

Classification Round 7-10 (22 August 2008)

Classification matches.

Match #1 AUS 17 – 16ITA
Match #2 GRE 13 – 9GER

Semi-Finals (22 August 2008)

Winners of each match advanced to finals.

Match #1 HUN 11 – 9MNE
Match #2 USA 10 – 5SRB

Final Round (22 – 24 August 2008)

Classification round.

Match 1/2 HUN 14 – 10USA
Match 3/4 SRB 6 – 4MNE
Match 5/6 ESP 11 – 9CRO
Match 7/8 GRE 9 – 8AUS
Match 9/10 ITA 10 – 8GER
Match 11/12 CAN 8 – 7CHN