Gergely Csurka, FINA Media Committee

Surprises didn’t stop coming in Rotterdam where Romania claimed a point against Russia in the opening match. France beat the Germans who once more had to stage a comeback, this time from four goals down, and indeed they even took the lead but were unable to keep it and a second loss might well could be the end of their Olympic dreams. After a bumpy start, Greece enjoyed an easy cruise against Brazil while Montenegro was the first team to pass the 20-goal barrier right upon its debut in this tournament while thrashing Canada. The Croats followed them soon as they netted a meet-high 25 against the Netherlands.

Despite a heavy defeat against Croatia on the opening day, Romania came back strong against Russia and the underdogs managed to claim a point at the end. It could have been an even bigger upset but with some luck the Russians could equalise 81 seconds from time (and then missed a man-up to win the game).

Romanian goalie Florian Tic gets mad at his defenders after they failed to clear the rebound after his save and the Russiand could equalise at the end - Photos: Marcel tel Bals

The clash of France and Germany couldn’t have been any more exciting – which was understandable as a second loss to either side would have meant pretty bad consequences. The Germans took a disastrous start against the Netherlands on Day 1 and despite a late surge after being 2-8 down, they could not save the game to at least a tie. It seemed they didn’t learn the lesson as they fell 0-3 behind and early in the third they were trailing 4-8. But they kept maintaining the good old German traditions and this time did that in a spectacular way as they staged a 5-0 rush to take the lead still inside the third period. However, they could not build on that momentum, not even on killing a 6 on 4 early in the fourth – the French managed to halt their scoreless phase after 8:23 minutes and after 9-9 it was a ‘one-ball’ game. And that one ball landed in the German net 54 seconds before the final whistle and again they failed to claim at least a point as they missed their last man-up. So the Germans suffered their second single-goal defeat while France responded to its 12-13 loss to Russia with a 13-12 win this afternoon.

The Germans tried hard but the French defence functioned just a little bit better...

After the nerve-wrecking moments of the first two matches Greece supplied some relaxing moments for water polo lovers as they beat Brazil with ease. Unlike on the opening day, when their defence lacked the usual tightness, this time they didn’t let their rivals enter the game and took some relaxing moments in the last period only – it didn’t matter as they already led 14-5 after three quarters.

The young Brazilians could not stop the Greeks in front - here is another goal in the making by Konstantinos Gkiouvetsis

Montenegro, one of the favourites of this tournament, blew away the Canadians in its first match (after they had a bye on the opening day). The two sides were not in the same weight category by all means - a 6-0 opening from the European powerhouse set the tone and they never looked back. In a game like this the goalkeeper(s) of the weaker side may come up with a performance which prevents the bigger beating but Canadian netminder Milan Radenovic was unable to help his team as he could have only a single save on 18 incoming shots and that partly explains how Montenegro's shooting percentage could reach 70.0%, a rarity even on their level.

There was no way to stop the Montenegrins...

The last match did not differ – Croatia downed the Netherlands with ease. The Dutch did a tremendous job one day earlier while beating the Germans but this time they faced an elite squad which outpowered them in every aspect of the game. The goalies were no help for the hosts either, could not handle the Croats' blasts so the favourites' shooting percentage reached 80% as they netted 25 in the evening.

Standings

Group A

1. Greece 4, 2. Montenegro 2 (1 match), 3. Canada 2, 4. Georgia 0 (1), 5. Brazil 0

Group B

1. Croatia 4, 2. Russia 3, 3. France 2, 4. Netherlands 2, 5. Romania 1, 6. Germany 0