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Yu-Sport in 1998
June 08, 1999




The first great joy

Manager of the Yugoslav water polo team, Nikola Stamenic, to the world championship in swimming, water polo, diving and synchronised swimming in Perth took the following players: Dragan Jovanovic, Petar Trbojevic, Dusan Popovic, Aleksandar Nikolic, Dejan Savic, Danilo Ikodinovic, Zeljko Vicevic, Veljko Uskokovic, Aleksandar Ciric, Aleksandar Sapic, Vladimir Vujasinovic, Nenad Vukanic and Nikola Kuljaca.

The Yugoslav sports public was anxious when the water polo team was leaving for Australia. Due to organisational mistakes and financial difficulties, the team's preparations for the championship were not undertaken as the experts and Stamenic had planned. Besides, the Yugoslav team was the youngest at the tournament, which was assessed as the strongest up until then, since there were eight or nine equal teams that were running for medals.


The best scorers: Sapic and Savic

Regardless of that all, the Yugoslav water polo players had shown the disciplined, aggressive and smart play and won the bronze medal. The fact that speaks about the strength of the tournament is that the Italians, former world champions, finished as the fifth.

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RESULTS

Perth, Australia, January 9 - Group "B"

YUGOSLAVIA - Hungary 5:7 (2:2,, 2:2,, 1:0, 0:3)

Replay of the finals in 1997 in Seville, when the Hungarians in a dramatic match won 3:2. Yugoslav players started the fourth period with an advantage of 5:4, but at the end they were punished for badly assessing when to shoot and for playing slightly loose in defense.

Scorers for Yugoslavia: Ikodinovic 2, Popovic, Savic and Vicevic-1.

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Perth, Australia, January 10 - Group "B"

YUGOSLAVIA - Iran 18:4 (4:2, 5:1, 3:0, 6:1)

A match between the two unequal opponents shall be remembered by the fact that the Iranians were in the lead of 1:0 and 2:1. Yugoslav coach Stamenic used the match for exercising some tactical patterns for the important match against Italy.

Scorers for Yugoslavia: Uskokovic 5, Popovic 4, Trbojevic, Savic, Vicevic, Sapic-2, Nikolic 1.

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Perth, Australia, January 11 - Group "B"

Yugoslavia - Italy 11:10 (3:3, 1:1, 3:4, 4:2)

After a colossal match the Yugoslav team beat the current world champion Italy. The decisive moment happened when the score was 8:8 - Italian player Sottoni elbowed Dusan Popovic and was excluded without replacement. Although in the last three minutes the Yugoslav team played with an extra player, the importance of the match did its part. Italian used the current confusion in the Yugoslav team, scored two goals and the last 36 seconds saw a draw - 10:10. The key player was Veljko Uskokovic, who scored the winning goal in the last moments of the match.

Scorers for Yugoslavia: Uskokovic 3, Trbojevic, Sapic and Vujasinovic-2, Savic and Ikodinovic-1.

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Danilo Ikodinovic

Perth, Australia, January 13 - Group "E"

YUGOSLAVIA - Croatia 6:6 (2:1, 1:1, 2:2, 1:2)

When in the lead by 3:1 in the second period, Yugoslav players had several opportunities to score for the fourth time and decide the winner, but the opponent used the weaker concentration and in the fourth period even broke into the lead 6:5. When it looked like it was going to be the final result, Danilo Ikodinovic, five seconds before the end, with a powerful shot from the distance of eight meters, hit the Croatian goal and brought a point to Yugoslavia.

Scorers for Yugoslavia: Sapic 3, Trbojevic, Ikodinovic and Ciric-1.

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Perth, Australia, January 14 - Group "E"

YUGOSLAVIA - Russia 9:7 (3:2, 2:2, 3:1, 1:2)

The Yugoslav team needed to win in order to get into the semi-finals. When it was the most needed, they played the best they could and in a much more convincing way then the result showed, beat the traditionally good opponent, the Russian team. Aleksandar Sapic with his six goals simply 'drowned" the hopes of the Russian team that with a draw they might go into the first four teams in the world.

Scorers for Yugoslavia: Sapic 6, Vujasinovic 2, Ikodinovic 1.

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Perth, Australia, January 15 - Group "E"

YUGOSLAVIA - Kazahstan 16:5 (5:1, 3:2, 4:1, 4:1)

The only uncertainty was with what difference Yugoslavia would beat Kazahstan. Coach Stamenic gave chance to all the players he brought to the world championship.

Scorers for Yugoslavia: Sapic 4, Vicevic and Vukanic-3, Savic 2, Trbojevic, Nikolic, Ikodinovic and Uskokovic - 1.

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Perth, Australia, January 17 - semi-finals

YUGOSLAVIA - Spain 3:5 (1:1, 2:1, 0:2, 0:1)

After the first two periods Yugoslavia was in the lead 3:2 and at that moment nobody thought that until the end of the match its players would not score a goal. Decisive was very bad realisation of a player more - out of nine of such situations Yugoslav players scored only once. It was obvious that in this match they did not have enough courage, energy and wisdom to accomplish the so much wanted goal - placement into the finals.

Scorers for Yugoslavia: Uskokovic 2, Savic 1.

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Perth, Australia, January 18 - match for the third place

YUGOSLAVIA - Australia 9:5 (5:1, 1:1, 0:2, 3:1)

The score after the first period, which Yugoslavia won 5:1 showed that the Australians luckily got into World championship semi-finals and that there was much for them to learn in water polo. When the Yugoslav team at the beginning of the second period were in the 6:1 lead it was clear who the winner of the bronze medal would be. The Australian team used the loosening up of the opponent and came closer to 6:4, but Vujasinovic and Ikodinovic rose the advantage to the unreachable 8:4.

Scorers for Yugoslavia: Vujasinovic and Vukanic-3, Savic, Ikodinovic and Uskokovic -1.


Yugoslav players from the bench at the match against Australia

 

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