clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Olympic Water Polo: United States Takes On Serbia For Group B Supremacy

New, 30 comments

The biggest match to date for the United States men is against Serbia who is sitting at the top of Group B with Serbia as both teams are 2-0-1. Serbia has already defeated Great Britain, Hungary and have tied Montenegro. The Hungary win was an eye opener since it snapped a 17-game Olympic winning streak for Hungary.

Related: Men's standings

Serbia has looked solid in every game and they easily took care of Great Britain 21-7 which was much better than Team USA's 13-7 win. Just going by head to head comparisons, the United States has the edge since they defeated Montenegro where as Serbia tied them 11-11.

Serbia has won nearly every major tournament over the past few years. Their wins include the 2012 European champions, 2009 world championship and the 2010 and 2011 FINA World League.

and are now a favorite to win the gold, as the United States. Team USA head coach Terry Schroeder feels that Serbia is the favorite to win the Olympics:

"Serbia, I think, is the best team in the world right now," said U.S. coach Terry Schroeder "They're really well-balanced, they've got great centers, a really good outside shooter on the left side, they're going to be tough to beat."

Not sure if Schroeder is still playing the underdog role since Team USA has been competitive on the world stage but not dominant while Serbia has won those major tournaments.

The key players for Serbia are Vanja Udovicic who was named the 2010 world player of the year and Filip Filipovic who won the honor in 2011. Then there is Andrija Prlainovic who is an amazing shooter from the outside and is leading all players with 15 goals.

Center Ryan Bailey knows that this game against Serbia is the biggest game so far for Team USA:

"The next game against Serbia is going to decide if we're going to be first in our bracket," said Bailey, who scored twice in the Americans' semifinal win in 2008. "They're really a physical team, and so when somebody comes and tries to beat you up, you have to match their intensity and match their physical play."

Team USA will need their defense to play their best game to date and get Tony Azevedo more shots on goal. Azevedo did get four goals but it was against an inferior opponent in Great Britain. In his other games against Montenegro and Romania he has only one goal. There must be something done to get him the ball more often in shooting opportunities.

Game Time: 2:20 p.m. ET

TV: NBC. 2:20 p.m. ET/1:20 p.m. CT (Live), 12:20 p.m. MT & PT (Tape Delay)


For more water polo news, join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Google+