Russell McKinnon, FINA Media Committee

Serbia will play defending champion Greece in the gold medal final of the FINA World Men’s Junior Water Polo Championships at the Al-Nasar Sport Club Kuwait on Friday.

In the first round 1-4 semifinals, Serbia booked a gold-medal-final spot by defeating European champion Italy 9-7, thanks mainly to the goalkeeping of Pavle Gavrilovic. Serbia led all the way and Italy could not level at any stage. In the second semifinal it was all Greece, steamrolling Croatia by an incredible nine-goal margin (15-6) and nine of those goals coming from the hands of Konstaninos Gkiouvetsis (5) and Alexandros Papanastasiou (4).

In the round 5-8 semifinals, Montenegro beat Japan 18-11 with Sava Cetkovic scoring a defining seven goals, mainly from two metres. Montenegro blew the match apart with a 4-1 third quarter. Spain needed sudden-death penalty shootout to send off United States of America 13-12, finishing regular time at 7-7 and then claiming the shootout 6-5.

In the classification matches, Hungary took out ninth with a 15-6 margin over Canada, built on an 8-2 opening quarter; Australia headed off New Zealand 9-8 for 11th, the second one-goal victory for the Aussies over the Kiwis here in Kuwait. Russia downed South Africa 20-10 for 13th spot; Egypt had the better of China 14-9 for 15th position; Brazil beat Uzbekistan 22-7 for 17th.

The play-off between Iran and Kuwait for 19th position was abandoned due to fighting in the third period when Iran was 12-4 ahead.

Thursday Schedule:

Classification 17-18
Match 60, 08:00, UZBEKISTAN 7 BRAZIL 22

Classification 15-16  
Match 61, 09:20, CHINA 7 EGYPT 22

Classification 13-14
Match 62, 10:40, RUSSIA 20 SOUTH AFRICA 10

Classification 11-12
Match 63, 12:00, NEW ZEALAND 8 AUSTRALIA 9

Classification 9-10  
Match 64, 13:20, HUNGARY 15 CANADA 6

Classification 19-20
Match 59, 14:40, KUWAIT IRAN — match abandoned

Classification 5-8 Semifinals
Match 65, 16:00, MONTENEGRO 18 JAPAN 11
Match 66, 17:20, SPAIN 13 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 12 in sudden death penalty shootout (FT: 7-7. Pens 6-5).

Classification 1-4 Semifinals
Match 67, 18:40, SERBIA 9 ITALY 7
Match 68, 20:00, CROATIA 6 GREECE 15

Friday Schedule:

Classification 7-8
Match 69, 13:30, L65 JAPAN L66 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Classification 5-6 
Match 70, 15:00, W65 MONTENEGRO W66 SPAIN

Classification 3-4
Match 71, 16:30, L67 ITALY L68 CROATIA

Classification 1-2
Match 72, 18:00, W67 SERBIA W6 GREECE