Wednesday, 29 June 2022

FINA World Championships: Croatia Beats Serbia for Semifinal Spot!

June 29, 2022 - Croatia was brilliant against Serbia on Wednesday in Budapest, winning 14:12 for a semifinal spot at the FINA World Championships! 

Since Croatian independence, the Croatia water polo team has played against the national teams of 38 countries. Croatia has a positive ratio against 36 of them, but two have always been better - Hungary and Serbia, the latter of which Croatia met in the FINA World Championship quarterfinals on Wednesday in Budapest. 

Croatia and Serbia have met many times at the World Championships alone, including in 1998 in Perth - 6:6 (Group), in 2005 in Montreal - 4:5 (semifinals), in 2007 in Melbourne - 10:7 (semifinals), in 2009 in Rome - 11:12 (semifinals), in 2015 in Kazan - 4:11 (final), and in 2017 in Budapest - 12:11 (semifinals). 

Both national teams have been significantly rejuvenated since the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last year, when Serbia took home the gold medal. 

"Croatia has shown potential and energy, they are a young team and on a good path to develop into a very competitive team," said water polo legend Ratko Rudić in an interview with HRT before the match. 

The former Croatia coach also shared his recipe for victory against Serbia, the current Olympic gold medalist. 

"It is also a new team, they have two top players, Mandic and Jaksic. The task is to neutralize the two of them, if we succeed, Croatia has great chances," Rudic believed. 

Croatia was convincing against Georgia in the FINA World Championships round of 16 earlier this week, and Serbia finished first in their group and did not play that phase of the competition. 

Match report 

1st quarter 

Croatia won the sprint and thus the first attack of the match, which resulted in an attacking foul and Serbia's ball. Kragic scored the first goal of the match for 1:0 Croatia with 5:36 on the clock. Popadic made three brilliant saves in goal to keep Croatia ahead. With 3 minutes left, Popadic continued to deny Serbia a goal. Serbia finally scored with 1:19 on the clock for 1:1. The first quarter ended at 1:1. 

2nd quarter 

Croatia won the sprint again to start the second quarter. Zuvela scored for the Croatia lead with 5:22 to go. Serbia equalized 20 seconds later. Kragic scored his second goal for 3:2 Croatia with 4:37 to go. Serbia equalized for 3:3 one minute later. Kharkov scored a penalty for Croatia for 4:3 with 3:13 on the clock. Serbia came back for 4:4 with 2:39 to go. Vrlic scored for 5:4 in the next attack. Croatia went into halftime leading 5:4. 

3rd quarter

Serbia won the sprint and scored in the first attack for 5:5 with 7:44 on the clock. Vukicevic scored for 6:5 Croatia with 6:56 left. Krapic scored for +2 (7:5) with 6:02 on the clock. Croatia was on fire - Vrlic scored for +3 (8:5), though Serbia scored in the next attack - 8:6. Lazic scored for +3 again - 9:6. Serbia came back to -2 in the next attack (9:7). Mandic scored a penalty for Serbia to put them behind by just one goal - 9:8 with three minutes to go. Lazic scored for +2 Croatia with 1:48 on the clock (10:8). Serbia scored for -1 with 52 seconds left in the quarter. Croatia went into the final quarter leading 10:9. 

4th quarter 

Serbia won the sprint and the first attack of the final quarter but it was Bukic to score first for 11:9 Croatia! Serbia scored for -1 again with 6:28 to go. Zuvela was brilliant, scoring his second goal for 12:10 Croatia moments later. Another extra man success for Croatia saw Basic go back up to +3 with 4:45 left to go in the match. Serbia scored for -2 (13:11) with just over two minutes left in the match. Fatovic lobbed the Serbia keeper for +3 with 1:55 on the clock! Serbia scored for -2 with a minute left. Serbia was unable to score in the next attack and Croatia secured the 14:12 win for a spot in the semifinals! 

Croatia will play the winner of Spain - Montenegro played after this match. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Saturday, 15 January 2022

EHF Euro 2022: Croatia Beats Serbia 23:20!

January 15, 2022 - Croatia beats Serbia 23:20 in the second match of Group C at the EHF Euro 2022 in Szeged, Hungary. 

The Croatia men's handball team met Serbia on Saturday night to advance to the second round of the European Championship in Hungary. Recall, Croatia fell to France in the first match of Group C on Thursday. 

Coach Hrvoje Horvat is still battling the coronavirus among his players. Today, Zvonimir Srna and young goalkeeper Matej Mandić dropped out of the squad. This match saw the return of Luka Cindrić, which was certainly a huge advantage for Croatia. 

The hall tonight was also sold out, with around 8,000 fans estimated and several Croatia fans in the stands. 


The match started with Croatia's first attack saved by the Serbia keeper. A controversial foul on Cupic saw Marsenic receive a 2-minute suspension and Croatia retook possession. Serbia received another exclusion in the 2nd minute of the match. Croatia scored the first goal with 2 extra players for 1:0. 

Croatia intercepted the ball on Serbia's first attack and Cupic scored for 2:0 in the 3rd minute. Martinovic made it 3:0 in the 4th minute! 

Serbia made it 3:2 in the 7th minute. Jaganjac scored for 4:2 one minute later. Serbia made it 4:3 in the 10th. An incredible goal by Martinovic made it 5:3 in the 12th. Lucin scored for 6:4 two minutes later. 

Serbia scored a penalty to equalize for 6:6 in the 16th minute and took the lead for the first time in the match in the 18th minute (6:7). Jaganjac equalized for 7:7.  

Cindric put Croatia back in the lead in the 22nd minute for 8:7.  

Serbia retook the lead in the 26th minute for 8:9. Cindric equalized at 9:9 in the 27th minute. Lucin put Croatia back ahead a minute later for 10:9. 

A quick counter-attack saw Cindric score for 11:9 going into halftime. 

The second half started with no goals from either side in the first 3 minutes. Serbia scored for 11:10 in the 33rd. Martinovic scored for 12:10 moments later. 

Martinovic made it 13:12 in the 37th. Two huge saves by Sunjic stopped Serbia's attacks. Cupic made it +3 in the 39th - 14:11. 

Martinovic scored his 5th goal from a penalty for 15:12 in the 41st. Cupic scored for 16:13 a minute later! 

Lucin scored for 17:13 in the 44th and again in the 46th for 18:15. 

Cupic scored for +4 in the 49th minute - 19:15. Lucin made it 20:16 in the 53rd. Martinovic made it 21:17 with 4 minutes to go! 

Cupic scored for 22:18 with less than 2 minutes to go. Goalkeeper Sunjic scored in an empty goal for 23:18! The match ended 23:20 for Croatia!

Croatia plays Ukraine in the final match of Group C on Monday, January 17 at 18:00. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.  

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Croatia and Serbia to Meet in Davis Cup Semifinals on Friday

December 2, 2021 - The Croatian men's tennis team will play against Serbia in the Davis Cup semifinals in Madrid on Friday. Serbia defeated Kazakhstan 2-1 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, although they lost the first match.

The first point for Kazakhstan was secured by Mikhail Kukushkin, who after three hours and 18 minutes of play defeated Miomir Kecmanovic 7:6 (5), 4:6, 7:6 (11).

Kukushkin was in a good position when he won the first set and led 4:2 in the second, but Kecmanovic's series of seven games followed, which gave him a 3-0 advantage in the decisive third set. The Serbian tennis player had two consecutive match points at 5:3, but Kukushkin managed to break and took the game to a tie-break in the third set.

In that decisive game, Kecmanovic was the first to reach the advantage, had two more match points, one at 6:5, the other at 7:6, but even then he did not finish the match. Kukushkin reached his first match point with two consecutive points at 8:7, but the Kazakh also missed four. However, he managed to get the 5th match point in his 12:11 lead on Kecmanovic's serve.

In the second singles match, world #1 Novak Djokovic defeated Aleksandar Bublik 6:3, 6:4, bringing Serbia equal. An hour and 16 minutes of play were enough for Djokovic to win against Bublik, more than two hours less than it took Mikhail Kukushkin to bring Kazakhstan to the lead with a victory against Miomir Kecmanovic.

The winner was then decided by the doubles match, in which Djokovic and Nikola Cacic defeated Andrej Golubjev and Aleksandar Nedovjecov 6:2, 2:6, 6:3 after an hour and 37 minutes of play, bringing Serbia the semifinal match against Croatia, which is scheduled for Friday.

Recall, Croatia defeated Italy 2-1 in the quarterfinals in Turin on Monday.

Germany also reached the semifinals with a 2-1 victory against Great Britain on Tuesday, and Russia and Sweden will play in the last quarterfinal match on Thursday. The semi-final match between Germany and the better of the Russia-Sweden match will be played on Saturday.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Olympic Games: Masterful Croatia Beats Serbia in Game 4 (14:12)

July 31, 2021 - A masterful Croatia beats Serbia in the crucial game 4 of Group B at the Olympic Games in Tokyo! Croatia has confirmed their spot in the quarterfinals. 

After opening with a win against Kazakhstan (23:7), unexpected defeat to Australia (8:11), and victory against Montenegro (13:8), Croatia and Serbia met in game 4 of Group B. It was a replay of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games final. The Barracudas then won silver, losing the final 7:11. Croatia and Serbia also met at the 2008 Beijing Games, and the 2nd round match went to the Barracudas at 11:8.

The last time these two national teams met was in June 2019 in the final of the World League in Belgrade, in which Serbia celebrated 12:11.

After Serbia, Croatia closes out Group B with the toughest opponent yet - top-of-the-table Spain. 

1st Quarter

Croatia won the sprint for the first attack, in which Joković scored for 1:0. Joković scored for 2:0 Croatia with 6:16 on the clock. An absolutely brilliant start for Croatia saw Bušlje score 45 seconds later for 3:0! 


Slobodan Kadic 

Serbia scored its first goal with 5 minutes to go in the 1st quarter. 

Lončar scored on a quick counterattack for 4:1 Croatia with 4:06 to go. Bijač was brilliant in the goal to save Serbia's next attack. Obradović made it 5:1 with 2:30 left on the clock. 


Slobodan Kadic 

The 1st quarter ended 5:3 for Croatia.  

2nd Quarter

Serbia's Filipović opened the 2nd with a goal for -1 (5:4.) Bijač saved the following three Serbia attacks to keep Croatia in the lead at 5:4. 

Obradović scored his second goal of the match to increase Croatia's lead to 6:4 with 1:26 left on the clock. The 2nd quarter ended at 6:4 for Croatia. 

3rd Quarter

Vukičević opened the 3rd quarter with an excellent goal for Croatia and a +3 lead (7:4).  Serbia came behind by just one goal with 4:32 to go in the 3rd (7:6), but Joković scored 15 seconds later to give Croatia a better advantage (8:6). 


Slobodan Kadic 

Serbia equalized at 8:8 with 2:48 on the clock.  Obradović was on fire, scoring his 3rd goal of the game to put Croatia back in the lead with just over 2 minutes to go (9:8). 

Luka Bukić made it 10:8 for Croatia with 1:23 on the clock, which was the final score of the 3rd quarter. 

4th Quarter 

Luka Bukić scored his second goal of the game and second consecutive in the game for 11:8 Croatia with 7:44 left in the game. Bijač and Croatia's defense denied Serbia's next attack. The unstoppable Obradović scored for 12:8 Croatia with 6:17 on the clock! 

Bukić brought calm to Croatia with a goal for 13:9 with 5 minutes to go, and Joković scored for 14:9 with 4:16 left! Serbia came back slightly at -3 for 14:11 with 2:13 to go. 

Bijač saved a rocket from Mandić with a minute and a half left, but Serbia scored for -2 (14:12) with 1:11 left in the match. Croatia denied Serbia's final attack to win the game 14:12! 


Slobodan Kadic 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Friday, 7 May 2021

Croatia Handball against Serbia, France, and Ukraine at Men's EHF EURO 2022

May 7, 2021 - A tough draw - Croatia handball against Serbia, France, and Ukraine at the Men's EHF EURO 2022, to be played from January 13 to 30 next year. 

The Croatia handball team will play the first part of the 2022 European Championship in Group C, hosted by Szeged, against the national teams of Serbia, France, and Ukraine, the draw revealed in Budapest on Thursday.

The hosts of the handball Euro, which is scheduled for January 13-30 next year, are Hungary and Slovakia. Twenty-four national teams will compete for medals, divided into six groups, played in Szeged, Debrecen, Budapest, Bratislava, and Košice.

The Pick Arena in Szeged, where Croatia will play their first-round matches, has a capacity of 8,143 spectators, and the Budapest Arena in the Hungarian capital, where second-round matches and the final part of the tournament will be played, can accommodate 20,000 spectators.

The Croatia national team will play the first game in the group on January 13 against France. Two days later, Croatia will meet Serbia. The last game of the first round will be played on January 17 against Ukraine.

The two best national teams from each of the six groups in the first round will advance to the second round, in which the teams from A, B, and C groups will merge into one group, and the other from D, E, and F. The second-round matches will be played in Budapest and Bratislava.

The first two national teams from each group will advance to the semifinals, while the third-placed teams will play a match for fifth place.

The semifinals are scheduled for January 28, and the final and third-place match on January 30.

"We have an exciting group ahead of us. As always, what we repeat is that we hope to be healthy and ready. We have seen many times that there is no weak opponent at the European Championship, and every game will be interesting and difficult. Of course, we have to think only of ourselves, we have to prepare well, and we must not be relaxed at any point. As always, we will go from game to game and do our best," said captain Domagoj Duvnjak.

“Of course, I watched the draw. For me, it’s an excellent group. There is no need to waste words on France because we all know how strong they are. Serbia has great players on paper, and with the new coach, we saw in the qualifications that they have become a serious team. Ukraine only seems the easiest at first glance, but let's not forget that Motor, from which most players come, is practically a permanent participant in the Champions League. I can't wait for the championship to start, and I hope with fans!" added Marin Šipić. 

2022 European Championship groups:
Group A (Debrecen): Slovenia, Denmark, Sj. Macedonia, Montenegro
Group B (Budapest): Portugal, Hungary, Iceland, Netherlands
Group C (Szeged): CROATIA, Serbia, France, Ukraine
Group D (Bratislava): Germany, Austria, Belarus, Poland
Group E (Bratislava): Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Bosnia, and Herzegovina
Group F (Košice): Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Lithuania

Source: HRS

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Monday, 13 January 2020

Euro 2020: Croatia Handball Team Brilliant in Big Win against Serbia

January 13, 2020 - The Croatia handball team met Serbia for their final game of Group A in the European Championship on Monday in Graz. Croatia already secured first place in the group and a spot in the second round before Monday, while Serbia had no chance of moving forward regardless of Monday’s result. 

Despite Croatia’s security in the second round, coach Lino Cervar did not want to disappoint Croatian fans and promised a solid Croatian side against Serbia. 

Croatia started the game with the ball and Mandic scored for 0:1 in the first minute. Goalkeeper Sego made a few great saves to keep Croatia in the lead until the 5th minute, when Serbia finally equalized for 1:1. That didn’t last long, and Croatia’s Stepancic retook the lead in the 6th minute for 1:2. Radivojevic equalized in the 7th. 

Croatia lost the ball moments later, which resulted in a Serbia counter-attack. Sego brilliantly defended to keep Croatia ahead. Karacic scored in the 8th minute for 2:3, and Stepancic for 2:4. Sego continued with his brilliant goalkeeping, and Duvnjak scored for 2:5 in the 10th minute. Serbia came back for 3:5 a minute later. Sego saved a penalty in the 13th, and Musa increased Croatia's lead to 4:6 in the 15th.

 A 7-meter shot for Serbia in the 17th minute saw an equal score for the first time - 6:6. However, a Horvat shot put Croatia back in the lead one minute later (6:7). Stepancic scored for 6:8, though Serbia returned for 7:8. The game was equal again in the 21st, and Serbia took the lead for the first time in the 23rd minute for 9:8. In the 24th minute, it was 10:8 for Serbia.

Over the next few minutes, Croatia was unable to score. Approaching the 28th minute, it had been seven minutes since Croatia's last goal. With 9 seconds to go in the first half, Mandic hit the post to keep it 10:8 for Serbia.

Croatia opened the second half with a super save by Sego, and Cindric scored for 10:9 in the 30th minute. Serbia increased its lead to 11:9 in the 32nd, however, brilliant goals by Stepancic and Duvnjak put Croatia back in the game.

The Croatia handball team was awarded a 7-meter shot in the 36th minute, which Horvat scored for the equalizer (12:12). In the 41st minute, Serbia was back up to +2 (14:12). Sego's defense ensured it wasn't any higher, and Croatia came back to score for 14:12 in the 42nd.

An incredible counter by Duvnjak saw Croatia back in the lead - it was 14:15 in the 44th minute! Mandic increased the lead to 14:16, and Horvat made it 14:17 in the 46th minute. Sipic scored for +3 in the 48th and Karacic for +4 in the 49th (14:19). On fire from his last goal, Karacic scored again for Croatia's five-goal lead in the 50th minute.

Serbia unraveled under pressure, and Duvnjak scored for 15:21 in the 51st. Serbia began making a comeback, though a Cindric goal made it harder with a goal for 19:22 in the 56th minute. A Sego defense was followed by a Croatia counter-attack where Mandic was one-on-one with the keeper to score for 19:23. At this point, Croatia's victory was inevitable. Cindric scored for 19:24 with two minutes to go. Croatia slowly kept possession, though Serbia was able to come back to 21:24 in the final minute. The game ended 21:24 for Croatia. 

Marin Sego was named the man of the match.

Croatia will now travel to Vienna, where they will continue their competition on Thursday. Croatia's opponent is yet to be announced, though it is likely Austria.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Croatia Water Polo Lose FINA World League Title to Serbia in Belgrade

June 23, 2019 - The Croatia water polo team lost to Serbia by a goal in the dramatic FINA World League final in Belgrade (12:11). 

The 18th edition of the World League has come to an end, and while the final tournament of this competition is officially called the ‘World League Super Final’, the last game, the one for the gold, really was a super final.

Croatia vs. Serbia, two of the world’s water polo giants, met on Sunday in Belgrade to determine not only who would win the World League, but who would secure their spot at the Tokyo Olympics next summer. 

This ‘El Classico’ of water polo was held for the second time this week, after Serbia defeated Croatia by a goal in the group stage of the competition on Wednesday. Thus, Sunday became the rematch of rematches, with more than a medal on the line. 

It’s no coincidence that we’ve seen these two nations often meet - recall, they were finalists in the 2015 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, and met in the semifinals of the World Cup in Budapest 2017 and the Euros in Barcelona in 2018.

"What is more beautiful than playing at this pool in Belgrade, one of the water polo temples? Another final, against Serbia. Where do you get more motivation? This is why we live for sport. That's what I'm going to tell my players, and be assured that we will welcome the match in that respect,” coach Ivica Tucak said before the game. 

“Today, my boys and I will give our all, our whole heart, and I hope, I think we have a very, very great chance of winning.”

At 4:45 pm, the game was off. 

The first half of the first quarter saw goals by Buljabašić and Vukičević for 0:2 Croatia, and thanks to a goal by Maro Joković with a second to go, the first quarter ended 1:3 for Croatia. 

Serbia woke up in the second quarter - and Filip Filipović tied the game for Serbia at 4:4 with just over three minutes to go. With a minute to go in the second, Serbia led 6:4. 

Croatia won the sprint in the third quarter. Vukičević scored for the equalizer, and Fatović scored to retake Croatia's lead for 6:7! With a minute to go in the third, the game was tied at 7:7, but Bušlje threw a rocket for 7:8 Croatia with less than 30 seconds to go. The third quarter ended at 7:8. 

The final decisive quarter was met with a downpour, which is no surprise, considering Belgrade's dark sky hinted at it throughout the game. With extremely difficult conditions to play in, Serbia managed to equalize for 8:8 with seven minutes to go. Croatia retook the lead thanks to Vrlić for 8:9 with six minutes to go. The final minutes wouldn't go without excitement, and Serbia managed to equalize at 9:9, but Croatia came back for 9:10! 

With four minutes left, Bijač made an incredible save to keep Croatia in the lead, but Serbia came back for 10:10 with three minutes to go. Filipović scored for Serbia - it was 11:10 with one minute to go. But Vukičević saved the day, and brought Croatia back with a goal. Serbia was granted a shot from 5 meters with 20 seconds to go, and scored to take the lead. In Croatia's final attack, they were unable to equalize. The game ended 12:11 for Serbia.

Serbia has thus won the FINA World League and qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Unlucky Against Serbia (10:11)

June 19, 2019 - The Croatia water polo team lost to Serbia 10:11 in Belgrade on Wednesday. 

The ‘El Classico’ of water polo took place on Wednesday between Croatia and Serbia who met in the second game of Group B at the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

The outdoor Tašmajdan pool, which can accommodate 4000 spectators, was filled to the brim for the highly anticipated spectacle, though it’s not hard to see why -  Serbia v. Croatia. In Belgrade. We think that says enough. 

The best of the best in the world of water polo met at 9 pm on Wednesday and were fortunate to play without rain. Belgrade has been experiencing summer thunderstorms over the last few days, which interrupted Serbia’s game against Australia on Tuesday night. 

Both sides came out fierce in the first quarter. It was Croatia to ultimately come out on top, though both sides could have scored many more goals. By the end of the quarter, Croatia had a two-player advantage but failed to increase their lead. The first quarter ended at 3:2 for Croatia. 

The second quarter saw a much more balanced duel. Garcia scored for 4:3 and Buljubašić for 5:4.

Croatia fell in the third quarter. While they were up 6:5 thanks to a goal by Joković, Serbia equalized at 6:6, and Stefan Mitrović put Serbia in the lead at 6:7. Filip Filipović increased Serbia's lead to 6:8 at the end of the third quarter. 

Serbia was up 6:9 in the fourth quarter, though Joković brought Croatia back to 7:9, and Garcia to 8:9. A penalty by Joković brought the game to an even 9:9 with three minutes to go. With two minutes to go, Serbia was up by a goal (9:10) - but with just over a minute to go, Loren Fatović equalized for 10:10! 

Serbia retook the lead at the minute mark for 10:11, and Croatia had one last attack to equalize but were unlucky. Joković lost the ball in the last 10 seconds, and Serbia won 10:11. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Croatia Handball Tops Serbia in Zadar, Secures Spot at Euros!

In the fourth round of the 2020 European Championship qualifiers, the Croatia handball team achieved their third victory.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Croatia Handball and Serbia Draw in Dramatic Finish

In the third qualifying round for the 2020 European Handball Championship, the Croatia handball team and Serbia drew in Belgrade. 

Page 1 of 2