SPORTS

Water polo: Analysis time

The men’s national water polo side failed to win its first-ever world championship medal after losing 5-3 against Serbia and Montenegro in the match for the bronze medal at Barcelona on Saturday, but the talk of medal prospects at next summer’s Athens Olympics is already plentiful. Greece, which ended fourth and narrowly missed defeating the competition’s eventual champion, Hungary, in their semifinal, improved on its previous best performance, sixth. Hungary defeated Italy 11-9 in the men’s final for their first-world championship gold medal since 1973. Commending his team for its performance in Barcelona, the Greek squad’s coach, Italian Sandro Campagna, said he was already looking forward to the next challenge. «This was Greek water polo’s greatest success. We played superbly and proved that we’re able to challenge the world’s leading sides,» Campagna remarked. «We’ll be ready for even better things in Athens next year. We achieved an historic result by making it into the world’s top four. But, beyond that, I think that we played at 95 percent of our full potential, both in the semifinal and the third-place game,» he added. Campagna, who took over the national team’s coaching position after players rebelled against his predecessor for alleged lack of commitment, refused to take credit for Greece’s impressive run. «No, I’m not the secret. The players – who worked hard, are ambitious, and certainly possess both quality and talent – are the secret,» he said. The Italian, however, did acknowledge putting Greece’s players in the right frame of mind. «Players should not be disappointed by a first defeat. Bad results are followed by analysis in an honest and calm fashion,» Campagna said, referring to Greece’s losing two of its first three games.