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Doha 2024: Men’s Water Polo Team Defeats Italy in Dramatic Battle

Hungary Today 2024.02.08.
Soma Vogel in the goal

As expected, Hungary and Italy played a fierce match in the second round of Group D at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha. The Italians were perhaps a little fresher and sharper, but in the break, the Hungarian team equalized, and Soma Vogel was again unbeatable. After 9-9 they won the penalty shootout 6-5, and with it the match. The Hungarian national team has now reached the last eight, reports Magyar Nemzet.

Not only Dénes Varga, but also Tamás Kásás arrived in Qatar to watch the match in the company of their former teammate, Norbert Madaras, who is now the President of the Hungarian Water polo Federation. While Kásás and Madaras are no longer players, Dénes Varga is still in the squad, but as head coach Zsolt Varga said on Monday, he needs time to get back into the rhythm after his illness. Alongside the experienced Varga, one of the newcomers, Dávid Tátrai, was left out of the squad for the game with Italy.

Both goalkeepers (Marco Del Lungo and Soma Vogel) lived up to their reputations, not only in terms of goals but also in the penalty shootout.

The first quarter ended 2-2; in the second quarter Hungary was up 4-2, but in the last minute and a half the Italians equalized 4-4. The last eight minutes started with a draw again (7-7). After that, the Italians were leading by two goals (9-7) and it looked like the game was over, but with a minute and a half to go, Szilárd Jansik reduced the deficit to one goal, and then Gergő Zalánki equalized (9-9).

Gergő Zalánki. Photo via MTI/Kovács Tamás

The last Italian attempt was saved by Vogel, thus the score remained 9-9, but the result could not be a draw, so the penalty shootout was on.

The team and the fans were confident, because Vogel is a specialist in this genre- he was the hero of the World Cup final in Fukuoka, Japan as well.

“We won this match by not playing well,” admitted Zsolt Varga after the match, and added: “It is matches like this that will make us a united team again. The rhythm of our game is still at a lower level, nowhere near 100 percent. Such a stressful match takes a lot out of the players, but to win in such circumstances, to come back with a minute and a half to go, can give you a lot of strength.”

Group standings:

  1. Hungary (5 points)
  2. Italy (4 points)
  3. Romania (3 points)
  4. Kazakhstan (0 points).
Defending World Champions Men’s Water Polo Team Kicks Off with a Win
Defending World Champions Men’s Water Polo Team Kicks Off with a Win

Hungary won 15-8 against Romania.Continue reading

Via Magyar Nemzet; Featured image via MTI/Kovács Tamás

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