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Hungary Looking To Win Fourth Straight Men's Olympic Gold Medal

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Hungary is by far the most successful team men's water polo team as they have won the past three Olympic gold medals, nine over and currently are riding a 17-game Olympic winning streak in to the London Games. However, this time around their team is young and has already lost to the United States twice recently.

However, to say they are not the favorite would not be the smartest thing to say. They just may not be the overwhelming favorite as they were defeated last week by Italy 10-9 at the VodaFone Cup which was played in their home pool at Budapest. The Hungary men's team is vulnerable this this time around.

Most people out there still feel that Hungary is the team to beat regardless of how many players they have coming back from the 2008 Olympic Games.

They do have four players who have been on the team for the three prior Olympic Games, and their head coach Denes Kemeny is confident in his teams ability even though they have struggled recently:

"You can see whether a team has a shot at the gold or not," Kemeny told Reuters as his players grouped up in fours in the pool and practiced shooting. They stuck ball after ball in the same spot in the goal a dozen times or more.

"The Hungarian team definitely does have a shot, even if we have narrowly lost a crucial game or two recently," he added. "You have to be pretty brave to bet serious money against Hungary scoring another gold medal."

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"This will be the 30th major tournament we go to under my leadership," he said. "There was not a single time fans expected anything but gold. We're used to this. Moreover, we go to London calmer than others who have yet to win."

That may seem arrogant, but when Hungary has been has so successful in the sport they have that right until someone knocks them off of their pedestal.

Goalkeeper Zoltan Szecsi is one of the four Hungarian players who has won three gold medals, and he acknowledges that there are as many as six teams that can win the gold medal. However, when speaking of the United States he does not like their chances of winning gold:

"The American team is very good," Kemeny said. "They did beat Croatia in Beijing, and they also beat the Serbs. But they can't beat three teams of that level. We were probably lucky to be the third such team they met (in the finals)."

He has a point because outside of the Beijing Games Team USA has not reached a title game in any world championship event since then, and with so many teams capable of winning gold it will be tough for the United States to achieve that feat.

However, Team USA captain Tony Azevedo knows that there are many good teams who can win the gold, and he is confident that if they play the way are capable of winning they can win gold in London:

"Gold is what we're capable of, and I know that if we play all of us to our ability, that we're the best team in the world."

Sports Illustrated has made their medal projections and on the men's side the United States is absent:

Gold: Serbia
Silver: Croatia
Bronze: Hungary

Those are not bad predictions, but the field is so open that Italy, United States, Spain or Montenegro could earn a spot on the medal stand in London.

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