Baku, June 22 AZERTAC
Serbia's unwavering belief was rewarded with a men's Water Polo gold medal on Sunday night as they defeated Spain 8-7 in the final.
It was a close contest from the from the first whistle with no side leading by more than a single goal until Serbia's Jasmin Kolasinac squeezed in a shot at the front post for an 8-6 edge with less than four minutes to play.
"In that moment, I didn't believe that I had scored. I shot from despair and it was like 'goal'," said Kolasinac. "Every second of the tournament we believed in first place. We believed."
Alvaro Granados Ortega struck in reply to that effort, but Spain could not find a way through Serbia's defence to level, as coach Zoran Milenkovic barked instructions from the side-line.
"I said to them, 'Defence, defence. You must play defence to your maximum'. We kept playing and we didn't panic," said Milenkovic.
Spain had beaten Serbia 9-8 in the group stage of the competition, but could not repeat that success to secure gold.
"We lost an opportunity to win the tournament, but we won silver," said coach Svilen Ivanov Piralkov. "Nobody imagined that we would go far at the beginning."
Greece also avenged a group round defeat in overcoming Croatia to claim the bronze medal.
The Greeks were beaten 13-12 on Monday, but won 11-10 earlier on Sunday.
"It's great," said Dimitrios Nikolaidis. "We are excited and exhausted. We'll go back to Greece very happy."