Greece overcame Montenegro 10-9 to secure a place in the semifinals of the water polo World Championship taking place in Japan.
The team of Thodoris Vlachos secured the victory in the final seconds of a thrilling game to win a place among the four best teams in the world, where it will face the winner of the Italy-Serbia match for a place in the final.
The game against Montenegro was a cliffhanger from start to finish, with Greece in control and leading for most of the match.
In the final minutes, the score was tied, with the Greek team performing great defense, but unable to score the winning goal. Finally, with 57 seconds to go, Skoumbakis scored a terrific goal to make it 10-9 and send Greece into the semifinals.
Montenegro had a great chance to send the game to penalties, but the ball hit the post, sparking huge celebrations from the Vlachos team.
Greece has a long tradition in water polo
Greece has a long tradition of strong presence at the international level, with their major successes being the three bronze medals won at the World Championship in 2005, 2015 and 2022.
Greece, which narrowly missed the final after losing to World Champions Italy 11-10, put up a stellar performance to outclass Croatia and claim another medal in international competitions.
Greece has participated 16 times at the Olympic Games, always present in the tournament since 1980.
Their best result is the 2nd place at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, after losing 13–10 to Serbia in the gold medal game. The Greeks have secured a quarter-finals presence in six occasions.
The Greeks have also won a silver medal at the World Cup in 1997, three bronze medals at the World League in 2004, 2006 and 2016, as well as one silver (2018) and four bronze medals (1951, 1991, 1993, 2013) at the Mediterranean Games.
Moreover, they have closely missed a medal in the 2016 European Championship, the 2004 Olympic Games, the 2003 World Championship and the 1999 European Championship, ending up in the 4th place in all four of them.
Greece is one of only nine national teams in the world to have won (at least) a medal in the World Championship, currently occupying the eighth place on the medal table, one above Germany.
They have qualified at least for the quarter-finals in all their World Championship participations since 1994, winning the two aforementioned bronze medals and never finishing below 6th place from 2001 onward.