The French men’s water polo team came very close to the feat but was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the world championships by Spain, defending champion (7-6).
For the first time since 1986, the French men’s water polo team played in a world championship quarter-final. And like 37 years ago in Madrid, the Blues will not see the last four in Fukuoka. Second in their group and then victorious over Australia in the play-offs, France had it all in the quarter-finals since they were opposed to Spain, who is none other than the defending champion.
The Blues resisted magnificently, and were even in the lead five minutes from the end of the match, but they finally lost 7 goals to 6, at the end of a very close match. At the end of the first quarter, the French were leading 2-1, then they were still ahead on the scoreboard at halftime (2-4). But on the restart, the Spaniards tightened the game and came back to 4-5 at the end of the third quarter. With five minutes left to play, France led 6-4. And suddenly, the black hole! The Blues have conceded three goals and therefore say goodbye to the last four. How many regrets…
Objective fifth place!
Captain Ugo Crousillat finished the game with two goals, as did Alexandre Bouet, while Rémi Saudadier and Pierre-Frédéric Vanpeperstraete scored one each. In goal, Hugo Fontani stopped 13 out of 20 shots, or 65% success. France, in the absence of the last four (the semi-finals will oppose Greece to Serbia and Hungary to Spain), will play two classification matches to try to finish fifth, it whose best result dates back precisely to 1986, and an eighth place. The Blues will first face the United States on Thursday, then Montenegro or Italy. The preliminary phase of the high-flying dive was also on the program for this day. At 20m, Madeleine Bayon (25) occupies the 15th after the first two rounds (out of four). At 27m, the legendary Gary Hunt (39) is fifth.