Saturday, 10 September 2022

Croatia Takes Gold at European Water Polo Championships in Split!

September 10, 2022 - Croatia is the new European water polo champion!!! Croatia beat Hungary in the final of the European Water Polo Championships in Split on Saturday. 

At the sold-out Spaladium Arena in Split on Saturday, Ivica Tucak and his Croatia team sought their second gold medal in their fourth final at the European Championships. The 'Barakudas' won their only European title in 2010 in Zagreb when the team was led by Ratko Rudić.

"What we will have to do perfectly if we want to win, and we clearly want to, will be an aggressive defensive block. At the cost of, I don't know how many exclusions, I don't want us to leave them bombarding Marko Bijač without interruption from five or six meters away. Hungary's strongest weapon is shooting, they have perfect shooters, and they are not shooters, they are bombers. We have to prevent that," said coach Tucak before the match. 

Recall, that Croatia beat Italy in the semi-final match on Thursday after beating Georgia in the quarter-final on Tuesday. 

Croatia beat Malta and France and drew against Greece in the group stage, which was enough to win first place in Group B with seven points.

Match Report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match, which the Hungary keeper saved. Hungary shanked their first chance at goal. Croatia's second attack at goal was blocked by the Hungary defense. Kharkov scored Croatia's first goal for 1:0 with 5:28 left in the quarter! Hungary equalized for 1:1 with 4:59 on the clock. Hungary increased their lead to 2:1 with 4:11 left. Bijac saved Hungary's next attack to keep them only one goal ahead. Buric nailed the back of the net for 2:2 with 3:08 left. Croatia retook the lead for 3:2 thanks to Ivan Krapic with 1:20 to go. Hungary equalized in the next attack - 3:3. The first quarter ended at 3:3. 

2nd Quarter

Hungary won the swim-off for the first attack of the second quarter, but Bukic intercepted their attack. Croatia could not find the back of the next in their first attack. Hungary hit the post in the next play, and Kharkov put Croatia back ahead for 4:3 with 4:19 left in the quarter. Bijac with the save of the match so far put the ball back in Croatia's hands. And another two saves after that! Fatovic hit the post in Croatia's next attack. The match went into halftime 4:3 for Croatia. 

3rd Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off for the first attack. Buric scored his second goal of the match for 5:3 Croatia! Hungary scored for 5:4. Hungary called a time-out with 7:04 to go. Croatia defended Hungary's next attack and called for a time-out with 6:22 left. Basic lost the ball in the 5th minute and Hungary went to attack the goal again. Hungary was given a penalty with 4:30 left and scored for 5:5. Basic hit the post in the next play. Bijac saved Hungary from taking the lead. Buric was on fire tonight and scored for the Croatia lead at 6:5 with 3:10 to go in the quarter! Hungary equalized in the next play for 6:6. Kharkov nailed the back of the net with just under 2 minutes to go for 7:6! Hungary made it 7:7 with 53 seconds left. Basic made it 8:7 with 18 seconds left, which is how the match went into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter

Croatia got the first attack of the final quarter and couldn't get a shot off. Hungary equalized for 8:8 with 6:55 left in the game. Bijac saved Hungary's next attempt at goal and a lob went just over Croatia's goal. Hungary's next attempt hit the post. Fatovic's next shot did the same. Kragic hit the side post, too. Croatia was lucky again as Hungary missed the goal in their next two attacks. A penalty was called for Croatia with 2:47 to go. Kragic scored for the Croatia lead - 9:8! A penalty was called for Hungary in the next play - Hungary hit the post! Croatia was given another penalty - Kragic scored for 10:8 with 2:07 on the clock! Bijac kept Croatia ahead with yet another save. Hungary was given a penalty with 32 seconds left and scored for 10:9. A time-out was called with 20 seconds on the clock. And Croatia won it 10:9! 

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

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Croatia Crush Georgia for Spot in European Championship Semifinals!

September 6, 2022 - The Croatia men's water polo team has secured a spot in the European Championship semifinals! 

The Croatia men's water polo team met Georgia in the quarter-final match of the European Championships in Split on Tuesday. 

The winner of the match will play in the semi-finals against Italy, who beat France 16:8 in the quarter-finals.

Croatia did not reach the quarterfinals easily. They lost the first half to both France and Greece in the group stage and failed to score against Greece in the first 16 minutes of the match. However, a draw against Greece was enough for Croatia to win first place in their group with seven points.

Georgia beat the Netherlands 12:8 (2:3, 5:1, 2:2, 3:2) in the round of 16. Croatia last played Georgia a little over two months ago at the World Championships in Budapest and won 13:7 in the round of 16. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match but lost the ball to Georgia. Georgia hit the post in their first attack. Croatia won a penalty with 6:09 on the clock. Kharkov scored for 1:0 Croatia. Bijac saved Georgia's next attack. Croatia's next attack resulted in another penalty which Kharkov scored again for 2:0! Bijac kept the goal clean in Georgia's next attack, and Fatovic scored for 3:0 with 3:39 left. Zuvela made it 4:0 with 6 seconds on the clock, which is how the first quarter ended. 

2nd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off but didn't score in their first attack. Georgia scored for 4:1 with 7:09 on the clock. Georgia hit the post in the next attack but scored for 4:2 with 5:22 to go. Buric scored for 5:2 with 4:48 left. Bijac was solid in goal to deny Georgia’s next attacks. Kharkov made it 6:2 with 1:19 to go. Georgia won a penalty with 52 seconds but hit the post. Croatia hit the post in their next attack. 

3rd Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off again and the first attack of the 3rd quarter. Basic nailed the back of the net for 7:2 with 7:30 on the clock. Georgia answered back in their next attack for 7:3 with 7:02 to go. Bukic made it 8:3 for Croatia with 6:32 left. Fatovic scored a penalty for 9:3 with 5:49 left. Bijac saved a Georgia penalty with 5:20 on the clock. Nothing was getting past Bijac in this match. Fatovic had a one-on-one and faked the Georgia keeper for 10:3 with 3 minutes left! Bukic made it 11:3 with 1:29 to go in the third quarter - and 12:3 with 42 seconds left. 

4th Quarter

Popadic replaced Bijac in goal for the final quarter. Georgia got the swim-off in the final quarter of the match. Georgia made it 12:4 with 7:17 to go in the match. Buric answered back with a goal for 13:4. Croatia called a time-out with 4:21 to go. Bukic scored for 14:4 with 2:24 left. Georgia scored for 14:5 with 1:45 on the clock. Kragic made it 15:5 with 42 seconds left. Croatia had the final attack and ran out the clock. The match ended 15:5! 

Croatia and Italy will meet in the semi-final on Thursday in Split!

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

 

Friday, 2 September 2022

Croatia Tops Greece for Spot in European Championship Quarterfinals!

September 2, 2022 - Croatia and Greece draw 5:5 in Split on Friday, a result that brought Croatia first place in Group B and a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals! 

The Croatia men's water polo team played their last match in Group B at the European Championships in Split on Friday. Croatia and Greece met in the final group game, which was also the game for first place - the spot leading directly to the quarterfinals. 

The Croatia women's team already secured a historic quarterfinal on Tuesday, and after the men's side's opening win against Malta, they defeated France 13:7 on Wednesday. 

The Croatia men's side entered tonight's match with great optimism as a draw was enough for them to win the group. 

Losing, however, would give Croatia second place in Group B, which meant playing in the round of 16 on Sunday against the third-placed team from Group D.

Recall that Greece and France drew 12:12 on Monday. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match. Biljaka hit the post. Bijac saved Greece's first attack. Vrlic tried backhanding into the goal in the next attack, but the Greece keeper punched it out for Croatia's ball. Kharkov's attempt was saved in the same play. But Greece couldn't store either with Bijac in goal. The first four minutes of the match didn't see a goal. Greece was the first to score with 3:40 on the clock for 1:0. Fatovic hit over the post with just over 3 minutes to go. Bijac kept Greece from increasing their lead. With 32 seconds to go in the first quarter - Greece made it 2:0, which is how the first quarter ended.

2nd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off of the second quarter as well. Kragic hit the post in Croatia's first attack. Another chance for Croatia also just missed the goal. Bijac continued to be brilliant in goal with save after save, but Greece's keeper also denied Croatia from seeing the back of the net. Kragic hit the post again with 4 and a half minutes left. Bijac was unstoppable, but Greece's defense was the same to protect theirs. Another shot for Croatia - another miss. With 1:58 to go, Croatia had a corner without any luck. Another great defensive play with a minute to go kept Greece ahead by only two goals. The match was 2:0 for Greece going into halftime. 

3rd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off to start the third quarter but could not get a shot off. Croatia denied Greece's first attack, too. Zuvela finally scored Croatia's first goal with 6:28 on the clock - it was 2:1.  And Josip. Vrlic scored a screamer for the equalizer - it was 2:2 with 5:22 left! Bijac brilliantly defended before Greece found a way back ahead for 3:2 with 3:15 left. Kharkov equalized with 2:35 left for 3:3! Greece hit the post in the next play with just over a minute on the clock. Kragic tried shooting from far out, which was played for a corner. Greece called for a time-out with the attack and 15 seconds to go in the quarter. Croatia called for a time-out after a Greece goal was called back. It was 3:3 going into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter

Croatia won the final swim-off of the match, and Kragic nailed the back of the net for the Croatia lead! It was 3:4 or Croatia. Bijac, yet again, saved the day in Greece's first three attacks to keep Croatia ahead. Greece hit the post with 4:52 on the clock and Bijac defended again. Greece equalized at 4:4 with 4:29 to go. Greece score for 5:4 and the lead again with 3:36 left. Rino Buric answered back for 5:5 with 2:52 on the clock. Bijac saved Greece's attack and Croatia missed in their next attack. Greece had the ball with a minute to go. But Bijac, being Bijac, let nothing go past him. The match ended at 5:5 for Croatia! 

This result means that Croatia takes first place in Group B and secures a spot in the European Championship quarterfinals! Croatia plays the winner of the ranking game 4 on Tuesday at 16:30.  

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Impresses against France for Second Win at Water Polo Euros in Split!

August 31, 2022 - Another win for Croatia at the European Water Polo Championships in Split! After beating Malta on Monday, Croatia secured a victory against France on Wednesday at Spaladium Arena (13:7). 

The European Water Polo Championships continued in Split on Wednesday. The Croatia women's team secured a historic quarterfinal on Tuesday, and after their opening win against Malta, the Croatia men's team faced France in the second round of Group B. 

"It is important that we be good. France is not as strong as, say, Hungary, but they showed quality. They drew against Greece, which is enough of a warning," said Croatia coach Ivica Tucak.

Beating France definitely separates Croatia from the worst or third place in the group - and is even better going into their final Group B match against Greece on Friday. Greece and France drew 12:12 on Monday. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match. France hit the crossbar in their first attack. Bukic shot at the keeper in Croatia's next attack. Luka Bukic scored Croatia's first goal with 5:39 on the clock for 1:0! France equalized for 1:1 with 5:20 to go. The next two minutes went without goals. France scored with 2:08 left in the quarter for 1:2. Kragic nailed the net with 1:30 left for 2:2! France went back ahead for 2:3 with 1:09 left. The first quarter ended 2:3 for France. 

2nd Quarter

France won the swim-off this time and the first attack but could not find the goal. Lazic's shot skipped over Croatia's goal in their first attack of the quarter. France was awarded a penalty with 6:53 to go. Croussillat scored or 2:4. Loren Fatvovic made it 3:4 with 6:11 on the clock. No goals for the next two minutes and a few questionable missed calls by the ref resulted in a timeout for France with just over 4 minutes to go. Bijac made two super saves in France's next attack. Kragic hit the post in the next play. Bijac kept a clean net in the next France attack, but Croatia was unable to score either. With less than a minute to go, it was still 3:4 for France. Andrija Basic equalized with 32 seconds on the clock. The second quarter ended at 4:4. 

3rd Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off to start the third quarter. Croatia's first attack was saved by the France keeper, though France was unlucky in their first attack as well. Kharkov put Croatia back in the lead at 5:4 with 5:42 to go in the quarter. France hit the post and then won a penalty. Lazic was also given his third exclusion. Bijac brilliantly saved the penalty to keep Croatia ahead! And in the next attack - Zuvela scored for 6:4 with just over 4 minutes on the clock. France scored for 6:5 with 2:51 left. Basic nailed the net with 2:23 left for 7:5! And another rocket by Zuvela for 8:5! Croatia had the last attack of the 3rd quarter, which Kragic scored for 9:5 going into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter 

Croatia won the swim-off of the final quarter, and Bukic scored immediately in the first attack for 10:5. A quick counter for Croatia aw Kharkov one-on-one with the France keeper to score for 11:5! Croatia called a time-out with 5:48 left in the match. Bukic scored for 12:5 with 5:28 left. Bijac continued to keep Croatia's net clean with a save in France's next attack. France scored for 12:6 with 3:53 left. Rino Buric scored for 13:6 with 3:27 left! Croatia called a time-out with 1:26 left in the game. France scored for 13:7 with 37 seconds to go in the game. And Croatia won it 13:7! 

Croatia and Greece play in the final Group B on Friday at 20:30. 

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

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Croatia Women's Water Polo Write History at European Championships in Split

August 31, 2022 - The Croatia women's water polo team defeated Romania 15:6 in the 3rd round of the European Championships in Split and secured a historic quarterfinal spot at the tournament! 

After beating Germany 15-8, Croatia claimed another huge win, netting 15 goals again, this time against Romania. This result likely sends them to the quarterfinals for the first time in history.

Head coach Aljosa Kunac called for a time-out after just 3:03 minutes – with 0-0 on the scoreboard. Then, in just 2:40 minutes, Croatia led 4-0, scoring from four straight possessions. Another 4-1 quarter followed the first, and Croatia led 8-2 at halftime.

The second half continued on the same path. With this second win, Croatia secured their spot in the quarterfinals – a historical result for the hosts as they couldn't achieve the same in their previous three appearances.

“We needed him to achieve this historical result (holding his baby boy on his arm). Seriously, I had to call that time-out as the players started taking shots from everywhere without setting up anything; they thought it was just about shooting and once they’d score. I told them to stop this; we have a plan, stick to that, and play according to it as a team. It turned out that it was worth listening to me, the plan worked, so we are really happy now," said Croatia coach Aljosa Kunac. 

In the 4th round, Croatia will play against Hungary, and they still have Greece.

"We have done our job, but we do not intend to stop there. There will be more games in the battle for 5th to 8th place where we can look for another victory. The first task before us is preparing for Hungary, our next opponent. We will prepare as best as possible, try not to make a big difference, and for the girls to play it without stress."

“First, I would like to congratulate the whole team as this victory truly was a team effort. Today was my day; I scored 4/5, but five players plus the goalkeeper worked hard so the sixth player could score, and today that was me. I am proud of everything we have done so far. We did everything we said we would before coming here. Only the first match with the Netherlands didn’t go as planned, but that was normal. It was our first official game together, and the pressure of playing at home in this great arena made an impact. We will now try and prepare for Hungary and give our best again," said player Matea Skelin.

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

Monday, 29 August 2022

Brilliant Start for Croatia at LEN European Water Polo Championships in Split

August 29, 2022 - An easy win for the Croatia men's water polo team in their first match at the 35th LEN European Water Polo Championships in Split. Croatia crushed Malta 19:5 at Spaladium Arena on Monday night. 

The third day of the 35th LEN European Water Polo Championships at Spaladium Arena in Split was held on Monday, which finally featured the men's competition and, of course, Croatia's Barracudas!

After the Croatia women's water polo team defeated Germany on Sunday, the men took the stage after the official opening ceremony. 

The opening ceremony also welcomed the highest state, county, and city officials, including Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Split Mayor Ivica Puljak, and Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Blazenko Boban. 

"We are expecting a lot of guests, from the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, ministers, representatives of the city government, heads of the boards of many Croatian companies and our partners, and most importantly, the people of Split and everyone who loves water polo to come and support both our national teams. I am convinced of a good game against Malta in a spectacular atmosphere, as well as I hope that we will reach the fight for a medal with the intimate desire to reach the final," said Perica Bukić, vice-president and executive director of the Croatian Water Polo Federation, before the opening ceremony. 

The opening ceremony also featured Croatian music greats Zorica Kondža, Goran Karan, Tedi Spalato, Lidija Bačić, and Ante Gelo, among others. 

Croatia and Malta met in the 1st round of Group B from 21:00. 

"We are looking forward to the start of the European Championship, which is the end of long preparations, a tiring summer in which we also played the World Championships. We have done everything necessary, the national team is ready for the start of the competition, and we are starting to achieve the biggest and best result possible," said coach Ivica Tucak before the match. 

Match report

1st Quarter

Kharkov won the sprint for Croatia to kick off the first quarter, but the attack went without a goal. Malta's first attack was also unlucky. Loren Fatovic scored Croatia first goal with 6:53 on the clock for 1:0. Malta's next attack also went without a goal. Krzic made it 2:0 for Croatia with 6:19 left.  A brilliant save by Bijac kept Croatia ahead with 3 minutes to go. The first quarter ended 2:0 for Croatia. 

2nd Quarter

Malta won the swim-off for the first attack of the 2nd quarter but failed to score. Croatia did not score in their first or second attack. Malta hit the post with just over 5 minutes to go but still couldn't find the back of the net. Ivan Krapic made it 3:0 for Croatia with 5:15 left. Zuvela intercepted Malta's next attack though Kragic's shot was blocked. Croatia's defense blocked Malta's next attack, and Rino Buric had a quick counter. Buric passed to Kragic, who scored for 4:0. Buric found the back of the net with less than 2 minutes to go until the half - 5:0 Croatia! Malta's first goal of the match came with 1:09 left. A brilliant interception and one-on-one for Loren Fatovic was ultimately called for a Malta ball, and the match went into halftime 5:1 Croatia. 

3rd Quarter

Malta won the swim-off of the third quarter and scored for 5:2 in their first attack. Croatia was unable to score in the next play. Kharkov's shot hit the post, which found Fatovic, who scored for 6:2 Croatia with just over 6 minutes on the clock. Luka Bukic made it 7:2 for Croatia in the next play. Kragic scored a rocket for 8:2 with 5:10 left. Kragic scored for 9:2 with less than 4 minutes to go in the quarter. Rino Buric scored for 10:2 Croatian with 2 minutes left. Fatovic scored for 11:2 with just over a minute to go before the final quarter. Fatovic scored for 12:2 with 44 seconds on the clock. Malta scored for 12:3 to end the third quarter. 

4th Quarter 

Zuvela won the swim-off for Croatia's first attack of the final quarter. Zuvela scored for 13:3. A penalty was called for Croatia with 6:05 on the clock, which Kragic scored for 14:3. Zuvela impressed with a backhanded move around the Malta defender and lob over the keeper for 15:3 with 5:34 left in the match. Fatovic scored for 16:3 with just over 3 minutes in the match. And it was 16:4 after a Malta goal seconds later. A brilliant play in the Croatia attack found Buric alone in front of the Malta goal to score for 17:4. Malta found the back of the net again with 2 minutes to go in the match - 17:5. Krapic scored with 39 seconds left for 18:5. And Kharkov scored the final goal of the match for 19:5 Croatia! 

Croatia plays France next on Wednesday at 20:30. 

Upcoming schedule of concerts at Spaladium Arena's Jana - Water City

Tuesday, August 30

21:00 – Matija Cvek

Wednesday, August 31

22:00 – Mladen Grdović

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

Friday, 26 August 2022

Stage Set for 35th LEN European Water Polo Championships in Split!

August 26, 2022 - The 35th LEN European Water Polo Championships will be held in Split at the Spaladium Arena from August 27 to September 10, 2022. 

Head of the organizers, Renato Zivkovic, said at the opening press conference on Friday morning that since Split had earned the right to host the event in 2018, they had to overcome the impacts of the pandemic and now the ongoing war – but with the support of the Government, the city and their partners, they were able to deliver everything they had planned.

“Despite all these difficulties, we remained calm and solved the problems in the best possible way over the last six months, though this was very demanding. But now what matters is that we have 28 teams here, 92 matches to play in 15 days – two pools were constructed, the arena is decorated, and
everything is ready for the great show. I hope that everyone will enjoy the next two weeks.”

“I’ve been here for many events, handball championships, concerts, but for me, the Arena looks the most beautiful now, and it would be nice if the pool could stay forever,” said Milos Mracevic, speaking on behalf of LEN as Bureau Member and water polo liaison.

“We can’t wait for the start of the competition and pass the floor to the main stars of the event. On behalf of LEN President Antonio Silva and First
Vice-President Josip Varvodic, we are all grateful to the Croatian Water Polo Federation for what they have done in the last year and the enormous efforts they’ve put in to have a successful event in Split. I’m sure that in the end, everyone will leave with the most positive impressions.”

LEN Operational Manager Marco Birri highlighted that 34 broadcasters would have live coverage of the championships, and LEN also offers a free live stream of each game with on-site commentary.

“On our new platform, which is available through our website, we’ll feature even more content, while you may relive each and every goal scored in Split by visiting our livescoring site, where the goal clips will be featured almost immediately as the game progresses.”

The championships begin with the first two rounds of the women’s tournament on Saturday and Sunday, while the men’s tournament starts on Monday.

Ivica Tucak, coach of the Croatia men’s team, spoke at the press conference as well: 

“We had the privilege to play a practice game with Serbia in this beautiful venue – congratulations to Renato and the entire organizing team who worked on this wonderful project. I’m sure we’ll have a fantastic championship here in Split. As for the team, everybody will give his absolute top to represent the country in the best possible way. We have ambitions, but we have a completely new team compared to Tokyo. Going through all the changes and forming a new team is never easy, and we also had to deal with injuries and sickness, so we’ll miss a couple of players. Still, we proved our strength at the World Championships and the warm-up tournaments, we have a lot to offer, and we have the same goal as always – that is, reaching the semis and playing in the medal round. It’s difficult to predict anything, but we are ready to play in this beautiful city, in front of our fans, show our best and go as far as we can.”

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

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Preparations Underway for 35th European Water Polo Championships in Split (VIDEO)

July 20, 2022 - Spaladium Arena, the central venue of the 35th European Water Polo Championships, played from August 27 to September 10, 2022, is slowly transforming into a water polo stage.

Installing the built-in swimming pools is underway, which will host the creme de la creme of European water polo at the end of the summer and give birth to new European champions, reports Dalmacija Danas.

"In addition to the preparations that have been ongoing for some time, now the foundation of the whole story, the symbol of this sport, has arrived at the Spaladium Arena, which is the swimming pool. The assembly will last exactly one month, after which the finishing works will follow, all to ensure that all participants, as well as visitors, enjoy a real spectacle at the end of summer in the heart of Dalmatia," noted Renato Živković, general secretary of the Croatian Water Polo Federation and executive director of the European Championship Organizing Committee.

 

There will be two swimming pools inside the Spaladium Arena hall. The central pool, where the European matches will be played, is 36 meters long, 25 meters wide, and 2.20 meters deep, giving a total capacity of 1,980 liters of water to fill. The Spaladium's small hall will have a smaller pool for team warm-ups, 25 meters long, 18 meters wide, and 2.20 meters deep. The volume of the small pool is 990 liters.

"While the pools are getting their contours, we remind you that tickets for the water polo spectacle, co-organized by LEN and the Croatian Water Polo Federation, are on sale online and at all Adriaticket points of sale. In addition, for everyone who wants an unforgettable experience and those who want to be a part of the European championship, there are applications for volunteers. 

The stage in Spaladium is in good condition, and the mascot Roko is in full operation. He participates in the works every day on assignment and can't wait for the arrival of numerous cheerleaders and fans from all over Europe, selfies, autographs and lots of good fun. And that's why you should be part of this magnificent water polo story at the end of the summer," concluded the organizers. 

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

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Josip Vrlić Retires from Croatia Water Polo? Coach Tucak and Player Misunderstanding

July 12, 2022 - The Croatian Water Polo Federation announced on Tuesday that 36-year-old center Josip Vrlić retired from the Croatia water polo team ahead of the 2022 European Championships in Split at the end of August. However, that no longer seems to be the case. 

Croatia water polo coach Ivica Tucak announced a broader list of players he'll use to prepare for the European Championships in Split (August 27 - September 10). There are 22 water polo players on the list, and compared to the team that recently played at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, there is no Josip Vrlić, announced HVS on Tuesday. 

Namely, HVS reported that Croatia's oldest player (36), who has played for Croatia since 2018, spoke with coach Tuck after the World Championships, and taking into account the strenuous upcoming preparations, combined with his age of 36, he thanked the coach and said he is no longer ready to contribute at the highest level needed by the national team. He was thereby opening up space for a younger player. 

But that's not quite what happened. 

“Vrlić called me after the announcement of the list of the players. He said that he wanted to remain part of us, that we didn't understand each other very well, at least. I accepted his request. He will skip the basic preparations in Kranj. Vrlić will join the team in Šibenik before the match against Hungary. He is experienced enough that he has no problem missing training because there are players like him who need rest more than training. In any case, better news than what originally was announced for all of us," coach Tucak said for Sportske Novosti on Tuesday evening. 

The list of candidates does not include Hrvoje Benić, who missed the FINA World Championships in Hungary due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. The recovery process of the defender is still ongoing, and he is not ready for the upcoming preparations. However, goalkeeper Ivan Marcelić, who missed the World Championships in Hungary due to injury, returns to the roster. 

Goalkeepers

Marko Bijač
Toni Popadić
Ivan Marcelić
Jerko Jurlina

Centers

Ivan Krapić
Lovro Paparić
Branimir Herceg
Antonio Dužević

Defenders

Rino Burić
Marko Žuvela
Matias Biljaka
Kristijan Milaković

Attackers

Luka Bukić
Loren Fatović
Konstantin Harkov
Ante Vukičević
Franko Lazić
Jerko Marinić Kragić
Andrija Bašić
Dario Rakovac
Filip Kržić
Ivan Domagoj Zović

Preparation plan:

– July 17-28: basic preparations in Kranj (Slovenia)

– August 1-6: preparations in Šibenik with a Croatia-Hungary friendly scheduled (August 5)

– August 8-10: tournament in Cagliari (Italy) – Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Greece

– August 15-19: preparations in Šibenik

– August 20-22: tournament in Belgrade (Serbia) – Serbia, Croatia, France, Italy

– August 25: final preparations in Split

The first match at the European Championships in Split will be against Malta on August 29 (9 pm).

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

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Croatia Water Polo Finishes 4th at FINA World Championships, Greece Takes Bronze

July 3, 2022 - Greece beat Croatia 9:7 in the fight for the bronze medal at the FINA World Championships in Budapest on Sunday. Croatia thus finished in 4th place. 

The Croatia national water polo team met Greece on Sunday in the fight for the bronze medal at the FINA World Championships in Budapest.

Croatia and Greece already met in the group stage of this competition in Debrecen. The match finished 8:8.

By winning bronze, the Barracudas would have increased their medal count at the World Championships to eight. It all started back in 2007 in Melbourne.

In the semi-finals, Croatia was defeated by Spain, and Greece by Italy.

Match Report

1st quarter

Croatia won the sprint and thus the first attack of the match. Vukicevic's shot was saved by the Greece keeper. Bijac saved Greece's first shot on goal. Five minutes into the first quarter and neither team had scored yet. Greece scored the first goal of the match with 2:20 left in the quarter. VAR held the match up for a potential Croatia goal but the referee ultimately did not count it. The first quarter ended 1:0 for Greece.

2nd quarter 

Greece won the second sprint of the match and thus the first attack of the second quarter. Greece scored for 2:0 with 7:35 on the clock. Greece made it 3:0 with 6:57 left. And it was 4:0 for Greece with 4:19 left. Bukic scored Croatia's first goal for 4:1 with 3:34 left. Greece scored for 5:1 with 3:08 on the clock. Fatovic scored for 5:2 with 2:26 left in the quarter. Kharkov's penalty was saved by the Greece keeper with less than a minute left until halftime. Zuvela made it 5:3 with 3 seconds left, which is how the match went into halftime. 

3rd quarter  

Bukic scored for -1 Croatia with 6:21 left (5:4). Greece scored for 6:4 with 5:51 to go. Greece went up by 3 goals again with 3:36 left - it was 7:4 for Greece. Greece made it 8:4 moments later. The Greece keeper continued to deny Croatia at the goal. Kharkov finally found the back of the net for -3 - 8:5, which is how the match went into the final quarter. 

4th quarter   

Croatia won the final sprint and the first attack of the last quarter. Kragic scored for -2 (8:6) with 7:21 left in the match. Greece scored for +3 (9:6) with just over two minutes to go. Bijac saved Greece's penultimate attack and Vrlic scored for 9:7 with 24 seconds on the clock, which is how the match ended. The Greece keeper finished with 16 saves.

Croatia thus finished the 2022 FINA World Championships in 4th place. 

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