Germany puts U.S. away early at worlds

Updated: March 26, 2007, 12:42 PM ET
Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Germany beat the United States 6-3 Monday in a fight-marred men's water polo game, ending the Americans' chances of winning a medal at the world championships.

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Germany outscored the Americans 4-2 in the opening quarter then relied on the goalkeeping of Alexander Tchigir to advance to the quarterfinals against 2004 Olympic champions Hungary.

Andreas Schlotterbeck was involved in a fight with U.S. player Jesse Smith during the third quarter.

"Water polo is a tough sport,'' Schlotterbeck said. "He hit me in the head but the referee saw it differently. He basically hit me right in the face. ... I had to get out of the water because I hurt my eye in the fight."

German coach Hagen Stamm said the physical game proved his team's character. Shortly afterward, Schlotterbeck scored the only goal of the third quarter for a 6-2 lead.

"The Americans tried to provoke us in the end by playing physical," Stamm said. "Schlotterbeck gave the right answer. He let himself get hit and then scored the goal."

World Championships Medals
 
Gold
Silver
Bronze
Total
U.S.
18
13
4
35
Russia
11
4
6
21
China
9
5
2
16
Australia
7
6
9
22
France
3
2
2
7
Germany
2
4
4
10
Japan
1
3
8
12
Through Saturday (in order of golds won)

The game was a playoff involving second- and third-place teams from the round-robin, in which the U.S. finished second in Group B with a 2-1 record. The Americans are now headed to the relegation round.

Tchigir blocked 16 of 19 shots, including a 5-meter penalty attempt by leading American goal scorer Tony Azevedo.

"Our counterattack was horrible, we just couldn't put it away and their goalie was amazing," U.S. player Jeffrey Powers said. "I guess we had pretty good defense since they only scored six goals, but we just couldn't get it in the cage."

Azevedo had nine shots on goal but failed to score.

"From the beginning we worked our tactics," Schlotterbeck said. "We tried to block Tony Azevedo so he could never have a chance to score. We were really, really motivated."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press