Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Water Polo World League: Croatia Tops Greece 12:11

January 18, 2022 - Croatia tops Greece in the 1st round of the Water Polo World League in Athens. Croatia faces Russia next in February. 

The Croatia national water polo team has finished preparations and played its first competitive match after the Olympic Games in Athens on Tuesday against Greece. It was the first game of a somewhat rejuvenated, and definitely different national team in which there are no more legendary players like Bušlje, Joković, Lončar, Garcia, and Obradović. 

Croatia thus met Greece in the 1st round of the World League's Group D, a strong rival that won the silver medal in Tokyo, which is the greatest success in the history of Greece water polo. 

The Barracudas started the new World League season with a victory, winning 12:11 with a great defense with a player less, and an even better attack with an extra man. 

Before tonight, these two teams had met 53 times, with Croatia being much more successful - 37 wins, 9 draws, and only 7 defeats with a goal difference of 490:377. Croatia's last match against Greece before this was at the European Championships in Budapest, in January 2020, when the Barracudas celebrated 14:11. Greece last beat Croatia in the qualifications for the European Cup, in Split in 2018, when it was 6:4 for Greece. 

World League 2022

Group A: Hungary, Romania, Montenegro

Group B: Germany, France, Spain

Group C: Serbia, Italy, Slovakia

Group D: Croatia, Greece, Russia

Each team in the group will play two games (Croatia plays next in February against Russia, in the 2nd round). The two first-placed teams will compete in the final European qualifying tournament from April 14 to 16 this year. From that tournament, 3 or 4 national teams will advance further, depending on whether the final tournament will be in Europe or abroad. If played in Europe, 3 teams move on because the host of the final tournament acquires the automatic right to play.

The final tournament or Super Final of the World League will take place from July 25 to 30. The hosts of these tournaments have not yet been determined.

Source: HVS

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Thursday, 18 November 2021

European Qualifications: Croatia Learns FINA Water Polo World League Rivals

November 18, 2021 - Croatia has learned who they are up against in the FINA Water Polo World League European qualifications next year, beginning in January 2022. 

The Croatia water polo team will play against Greece and Russia in Group D to qualify for the Water Polo World League in 2022, which was decided in a draw of European groups held on Wednesday at the International Water Sports Organization (FINA) headquarters in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

In Group A are Hungary, Montenegro, and Romania; in Group B, Germany, France, and Spain; and Group C Serbia, Italy, and Slovakia.

The Croatia national team will play the first match on January 18 away against the gold medalist at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Greece. The second match will be played at home against Russia, on February 15 next year. After that, Russia and Greece will play in the 3rd round of Group D. 

Two national teams from each group move forward. In the quarterfinals, groups A and B crossover with groups C and D. The winners of the quarterfinal matches advance to the final FINA World League tournament.

Water polo group draw:

GROUP A: Hungary, Montenegro, Romania

GROUP B: Germany, France, Spain

GROUP C: Serbia, Italy, Slovakia

GROUP D: Greece, Croatia, Russia

Coach Tucak announced the list of national team players for the first, short-term preparations (2-3 days), when the Barracudas last gathered for a friendly match against Italy at the beginning of the month, on November 2. Croatia won 12:11.

Croatia and Italy will have the same three-day joint preparations from December 5 to 7, 2021, but this time in Zagreb. Croatia will later travel to Belgrade for preparations with Serbia at the beginning of January 2022. 

Recall, five key players retired from the Croatia national team this year. Already in Tokyo, Xavi Garcia and Paulo Obradović announced they would be retiring from the national team, followed by the legendary captain Andro Bušlje, deputy captain Maro Joković, and center Luka Lončar.

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

Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Croatia Water Polo Future: Coach Tucak Asks for Patience with New Generation

October 27, 2021 - With five key players retiring in the last few months, how does the Croatia water polo future look? Croatia coach Ivica Tucak and Federation director Perica Bukić weigh in on what to expect with the new generation. 

Uncertain days are ahead of the Croatia water polo team after losing five core players since the Tokyo Olympics, reports Gol.hr.

A generation change is now inevitable, and Ivica Tucak wants a national team ready for big competitions next year. Recall, the European Championship is played in Split next September, after all. 

The last few weeks have been turbulent for Croatia water polo as five key players said goodbye to the Barracudas.

Already in Tokyo, Xavi Garcia and Paulo Obradović announced they would be retiring from the national team. Next, the legendary captain Andro Bušlje followed in their footsteps, then the deputy captain Maro Joković, and the center Luka Lončar.

Croatia coach Ivica Tucak and the Croatian Water Polo Federation thanked everyone for their contribution and decided to turn a new page. Next up are preparatory matches, in which coach Tucak invited 15 players from three Croatian clubs to the redesigned national team.

"We are entering a new cycle of patience, it will take time, but these are guys who have been going through preparations for several years, and the team will be a little easier, but we have a lot of work to do, that's for sure," said Tucak. 

The director of the Federation, Perica Bukić, is also aware that it will take some time and patience but doesn't believe there will be any problems.

"Of course, the generation change carries its own, and it will take us some time to sort it out, but I personally really believe in these guys, I believe in the coach and his staff, and I expect that Croatia will continue to be competitive and fight for the top and at European and world competitions," added Perica Bukić.

The real challenge will be European Championship, which will take place in Split next year. Tucak is aware of high expectations.

"We will certainly have one national team that will be able to play on an equal footing with everyone, but I cannot promise gold, Olympic, or European medals at this moment. We have a difficult period ahead of us, I repeat, but we must be optimistic, and I believe that we will continue to be at the top of world water polo," added Tucak. 

And while there is no fear for the water polo team at the moment, the problem is much deeper in club water polo.

"Unfortunately, there is a gap in the status of sports in our country, primarily team sports concerning our competitors, Hungary; Italy, Spain, and even Serbia and Montenegro in the segment of professional work, the status of coaches, the status of the best players, national team players, and that is something that I think is the most important problem in the long run," says Bukić.

While there are always young talented athletes in club sports, including water polo, competent institutions must find a way to create new great successes in Croatian sports, concludes Gol.hr.

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Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Captain Andro Bušlje, Maro Joković, Luka Lončar Retire from Croatia Water Polo

October 19, 2021 - The Croatia water polo team will look slightly different moving forward, as captain Andro Bušlje, co-captain Maro Joković, and center Luka Lončar retire from the national team. 

In the last two national water polo competitions, Croatia had one of the oldest national teams. At the European Championships in Budapest in January 2020, the Barracudas were the second most senior national team with an average of 29.4 years (behind Serbia, 30.7 years). At the Olympic Games in Tokyo in August this year, Croatia reached the top with an average of 31 years and 77 days or slightly ahead of Serbia with 30 years and 325 days, reported HVS.

It was thus clear that the team would need to be rejuvenated; it was inevitable that some players would retire. 

The oldest Croatia player, Xavi Garcia (38), announced he would end his playing career at the Olympic Games. During the tournament in Japan, national team captain Andro Bušlje told reporters that he was probably saying goodbye to the national team. After returning from Tokyo, it was agreed in principle that after a short time, the coach would talk to the players, especially the seniors, and discuss how the team would look entering a new Olympic cycle. Now, two and a half months after Tokyo, it has all become clear. 

"Along with Xavi Garcia, who finished playing water polo, and Paulo Obradović, who also finished his Croatia career after Tokyo, captain Andro Bušlje, co-captain Maro Joković, and center Luka Lončar said goodbye to the national team. I still left a slightly open option with Joković and Lončar to make them available in some situations if required, but in principle, it is their decision. I still have to go to Belgrade in the next few days and talk to Josip Vrlić," said coach Ivica Tucak in an interview with Sportske Novosti. 

“These are simply players who have given everything as far as the national team is concerned, which at certain years are tired, saturated and we have to look to the future. We need to move in a new direction. I have always said that the national team's doors will be forever open for some possible corrections if we see that we are thin in some positions or do not have appropriate solutions. However, we need to turn things around. We can no longer go further with people who are 35-38 years old. It doesn't work anymore. Not that we can't, but they can't either. That is inevitable in every sport, but I am not pessimistic. It will take a clear bit of time and patience to sort this out. We already have some players from before, we are counting on them, and now we are going to join new ones," adds Tucak. 

The Croatia coach also indicated some players who are returning to the team. 

“What is certain is that Ivan Krapić is returning to the national team. I had a conversation with him. With his energy, work, and professional qualities, he can offer a lot, give to this national team," says Tucak about the center that formed a tandem with Luka Lončar at the World Championships in Budapest in 2017, when Croatia won the world title for the second time.

“Rino Burić, Marko Žuvela, Franko Lazić. These guys have to get a chance and deserve it with their games in their clubs. With those who will remain like Fatović, Bukić, Vukičević, Bijač, Marcelić, Macan, Benić… and then Kharkov. These are all players who play significant roles in their clubs; they also play in the Champions League. We are also following the young center Lovro Paparić, the slightly older Luka Lozina, both of whom play in Greece, and then Antonio Dužević at Jadran. I am also counting on Jerko Marinić Kragić. He is 30 years old, but he is a player I have been following since 2008, from the junior national team. He is one of the leading players for Jadran today. He deserves to be in the national team, and if he wins a spot, it will be seen through the preparations," said Tucak.

In addition, the national team staff also changed. Tucak's assistants are no longer Mile Smodlaka and Sandro Sukno, who lead big clubs Jadran and Pro Recco. Especially in this challenging and long 2021/22 season, in which clubs will be forced to suspend national and European club competitions in the spring of 2022 due to national team preparations and appearances at the World Cup in Fukuoka, and then immediately resume matches, so that the summer is used to prepare for the European Championship in Split.

“My first assistant will be Zoran Bajić, the coach of Mladost because he will have slightly fewer obligations with his club than the duo so far. Furthermore, I want to include Fran Vićan and Renc Posinković in my work with goalkeepers. This will be a novelty because not only will they be goalkeeping coaches, but they will also sit with me on the bench during matches, and they will communicate with the goalkeepers; they will be in charge of changing the goalkeepers and the like. Whether the goalkeeper's coach will be Vićan or Posinković, we will see from their obligations. I will certainly include Jura Marelja, the coach of Solaris, in the work of the national team, for one part of the preparations," said Tucak. 

In early November, coach Tucak should soon announce the list of national team players for the first, short-term preparations (2-3 days). In the middle of next month, the European club champion Pro Recco will arrive in Zagreb for 4-5 days to train with the Croatia national team. Finally, towards the end of this calendar year, Italy should arrive in Zagreb before Croatia travels to Belgrade for preparations with Serbia in the first days of January 2022. 

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Saturday, 9 October 2021

Jadran Split Tops Barcelona, One Step Closer to Champions League Group Stage

October 9, 2021 - Jadran Split is one step closer to the LEN Champions League group stage! The Split water polo club defeated Barcelona at home in the 2nd qualification round for the competition. Jadran plays against Oradea on Sunday at noon in the 3rd round!

Jadran Split defeated Barcelona 8:4 in a world-class match and is one step closer to the Champions League group stage. With this victory, Jadran secured a place in the play-off round in which they will play at home and away. It will not be an easy task, but Jadran has the strength.

There were no goals until 33 seconds before the end of the first quarter when Antonio Dužević took advantage of the extra man play. Jadran goalkeeper Mate Anić had a particularly great quarter, saving five or six incredible shots from Barcelona.

The same pace continued in the second quarter, and in the second minute of the third quarter, captain Anđelo Šetka also scored. Luka Bukić scored for 4:1 before Barcelona found their way to the net and quickly took the ball in extra-man situations. Barcelona reduced the score to -1, then Jadran led by 5:3 and 5:4. 

In the last eight minutes, it was 7:4 for Jadran. Marin Delic confirmed the victory with a goal for the final 8:4.

"I am very pleased first that we won 8:4, that it is not 16:12, with a lot of goals conceded. We had problems in the attack, we missed goals, but when you play defense as we do now, you win games like this. Mate Anić defended excellently, but when the defense is engaged, when we know where the danger is coming from, it is easier for him to defend as well, and when threatened from all sides, it is not easy. He defended a great few shots, kept us level until the attack worked. As for the attack, this will happen once in 10-15 times. We will always score a couple of goals, but we are in trouble if we receive a lot of them. Now Oradea is waiting for us, I will use it to give a chance to young players, we will not be embarrassed, we are going to win, but young players will have more opportunities," said Jadran coach Mile Smodlaka.

"In Podgorica, we did not arrange properly in the defense. In this tournament, the emphasis was on defense; we justified the coach’s words to emphasize defense and goals will come. Good defenses were played on both sides; we missed in the beginning. When we stepped on the ball and improved our defense, the product was a victory," said Mate Anić.

Jadran will play its third game in the qualifications group against Oradea tomorrow, Sunday, at noon. 

In today's second match, Primorac Kotor beat Oradea 8:6.

Jadran: Podrug, Buric (1), Marinic-Kragic (1), Cagalj, Z. Butic, Pejkovic, Bukic (1), Kharkov (1), Delic (1), Dobud, Setka (1), Duzevic (2) , Anic.

Barcelona: Schneider, Duart, Van den Burg, Ferrer, Urzainqui, Duric (1), Baches (1), Goma Esforzado, Compte, Estrany Esforzado (1), Guell (1), Sesen, Vicente.

Source: Dalmatinski Portal

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Sunday, 8 August 2021

Croatia Water Polo Finishes Tokyo Olympics in 5th Place

August 8, 2021 - Croatia water polo finished 5th at the Olympic Games in Tokyo after beating the USA 14-11 (2-3, 4-2, 4-2, 4-4) on the last day of the Games.

The "Barracudas" concluded the Olympic tournament with a victory where they broke the USA in the second and third quarters.

Luka Bukić was the most efficient for Croatia with three goals, Xavi Garcia, Ante Vukićević, Maro Joković, and Luka Lončar scored two goals each, and Paulo Obradović, Lovre Miloš, and Marko Macan scored one goal each.

Croatia recorded six wins and two defeats in Tokyo. 

"It is difficult for me at this moment to give an overview of the whole tournament, we recorded six wins and two defeats. That defeat in the quarterfinal against Hungary was painful. Certainly, we are not happy with this, we would have signed before the start to win second place in the group, but no one expected Hungary in the quarterfinal. The draw wanted it that way. The last three or four days here have been really hard and painful for me and the players. But at least we finished the tournament with dignity, as athletes," said the coach Ivica Tucak in his concluding remarks.

The Croatian flag will be carried by the captain of the water polo team, Andro Bušlje, at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, on Sunday, August 8 (from noon Croatia time).

Since none of the medal winners stayed until the end of the Tokyo Games, due to the rules for athletes to leave the Olympic venue within 48 hours after the end of the competition, only the Croatia water polo team was left on the last day of the Games.

According to the head of the Croatian delegation in Tokyo, Damir Šegota, the individual choice of the flag bearer was left to the players and the professional staff of the water polo team, and they decided that it would be the long-time captain Andro Bušlje.

Andro is extremely honored and pleased with this choice and thanked his teammates and members of the professional staff to be the Croatian flag bearer at the closing of the Tokyo Games.

Source: HRT

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Friday, 6 August 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Croatia Defeats Montenegro 12:10, Advances to 5th Place Match on Sunday

August 6, 2021 - Croatia defeats Montenegro in the 5th-8th place playoffs on Friday. Croatia will meet the winner between Italy and the USA in the match for 5th place on Sunday. 

The Croatia water polo team met Montenegro in the playoffs for 5th to 8th place at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Friday.

After the quarterfinal defeat to Hungary, Croatia has to play two more games for the 5th to 8th place. The first was today against Montenegro, who lost to Greece in the quarterfinals. 

Croatia led the 1st quarter 1:0, while Montenegro came back in the 2nd which ended 5:4 for Croatia. In the 3rd quarter, Croatia and Montenegro were even, ending with 3 goals each. The score going into the final quarter was 9:7 for Croatia. 

Croatia and Montenegro were equal in the final quarter at 3:3 for the final score of 12:10. 

Croatia has already played against Montenegro in Tokyo, recording a victory in the group (13:8), but then it was an important game in the fight to get to the quarterfinals and the stakes were high. Playing for the ranking is something completely different, and after being eliminated in the quarterfinals, the motivation is certainly lower.

Croatia thus plays for 5th place on Sunday against the winner between Italy and the USA. Montenegro will play for 7th place.

"These are now the two worst games ahead of us. They bring nothing, they mean nothing, but we have to play them. We have to try to give as much as we can and try to win. There will be wishes, but we will see how good it will be on both sides," said Barracuda captain Andro Bušlje.

"I don't see the point of all that, we are the only collective sport that plays from the fifth to the eighth place. Unfortunately, the rules are like that and it is our duty to do it to the end," said coach Ivica Tucak.

The semifinal matches are scheduled today in which Greece and Hungary will meet (8:30) and Serbia and Spain (12:50).

Source: HRT

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Hungary Wins Olympic Quarterfinal, No Medal for Croatia Water Polo in Tokyo

August 4, 2021 - A shock in Tokyo as Hungary defeated Croatia in the final quarterfinal match in Tokyo on Wednesday. Croatia water polo is thus out of the Olympic medal fight. 

The Croatia water polo team met Hungary on Wednesday for a spot in the semifinals of the Olympic Games. The winner will play against Greece, who easily defeated Montenegro in the earlier semifinal match. 

Croatia achieved three victories in Group B (Kazakhstan, Serbia, Montenegro) and two defeats (Australia, Spain), taking second place behind Spain.

1st Quarter

Croatia won the first sprint of the match for the Croatia attack, which was shot wide by Jokovic. Bijač saved Hungary's first attack to keep the scoresheet clean. Vukičević scored Croatia's first goal for 1:0 with 6:34 to go. Bijač saved Hungary's next attack, and Vargas hit the post straight after to keep Croatia ahead. Varga hit the post and after 2 back-to-back saves from Bijač, Hungary finally equalized with less than 5 mins on the clock. 

Bukić's goal was called back for shooting too close to the goal, and the match remained 1:1 with less than 3 minutes left. Bukić got his chance soon after to put Croatia back in the lead for 2:1 with 2:22 left. 

Varga scored for 2:2 with 1:15 to go. Obradović put Croatia back in the lead with 45 seconds on the clock. The 1st quarter ended 3:2 for Croatia. 

2nd Quarter 

Croatia won the sprint again to start the 2nd quarter, but Hungary was the one to successfully attack and equalized at 3:3. Hungary took the lead for the first time with 5:35 left - 3:4. Joković was quick to equalize for 4:4 20 seconds later! 

Bukić put Croatia back in the lead for 5:4 with just over 4 minutes to go, but Croatia and Hungary played goal for goal, and Hungary equalized for 5:5 with 3:43 left. 

Bijač saved Croatia from another Hungary goal with 2 minutes left, and Hungary shot over the goal in their next attack. But. Croatia was unsuccessful in their next attack with one minute left. 

Hungary retook the lead with 46 seconds left - 5:6. Obradović missed Croatia's next extra-man play with 16 seconds left. Hungary scored for the +2 lead going into halftime. 

3rd Quarter

Croatia lost the sprint to open the 3rd quarter and fortunately scored for 6:7 after the referee consulted VAR to rule Bukić's goal over the goal line. 

Hungary retook the +2 lead again for 6:8 with 5:45 to go. Obradović returned with a goal for 7:8! Bijač saved Hungary's next attack, and Miloš equalized for 8:8 with 3:49 left!

Hungary retook the lead for 8:9 with 3:18 to go. It was 8:10 for Hungary with 1:47 to go. Croatia could not capitalize on their next attack. 

It was +3 for Hungary in the final seconds of the 3rd quarter - 8:11. 

4th Quarter 

Croatia failed to score on their first two attacks of the final quarter, and Hungary scored for +4 - 8:12. Fatović scored to restore some hope for 9:12 with 5 minutes to go. Hungary quickly returned for 9:13. Lončar scored for 10:13 with 4:16 left in the match. 

Hungary scored for +4 with 3 minutes to go. Bukić made it 11:14 with 2:36 left. Vrlić missed a clean shot in front of the goal with just over a minute to go, killing Croatia's last hope of coming back. The game ended 11:15 for Hungary. 

Croatia will now play for 5th-8th place at the Olympic Games. 

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Monday, 2 August 2021

Croatia Water Polo Loses to Spain in Final Group B Match, Plays Hungary in Quarters

August 2, 2021 - Croatia water polo loses to Spain in the fight for first place in Group B on Monday. Croatia will thus play Hungary next in their quarterfinal match, while Spain will meet the USA.

The Croatia water polo team played their last game of Group B against Spain. It was the match for first place in the group, and Croatia only needs a victory to sit at the top. 

Given that Spain is currently at the top of the group, and Croatia lost to Australia, the draw would lead Spain as the first in the quarterfinals.

Coach Tucak announced that the great Paolo Obradović, the hero of the great victory against Serbia, would not play due to a rib injury. T

The first-placed team plays the USA in the quarterfinals, and the second against Hungary.

1st Quarter

Spain opened the game with a 5-meter penalty which they scored for an early lead. Croatia missed on its first attack and Spain came back in their next for a two-goal lead. 

Another penalty for Spain was awarded with 5:30 to go, Bijač saved it to keep the game only 2:0 to Spain. Croatia hit over the game in their next attack. Bijač was brilliant in goal to keep Spain ahead by only two goals with 2 minutes to go as Croatia continued to shoot over Spain's goal. 

Luka Bukić scored Croatia's first goal for 2:1 with less than a minute to go, which is how the first quarter ended. 

2nd Quarter

Both Spain and Croatia missed out on scoring in their first few attacks. The first goal of the 2nd quarter was only scored with 3:46 to go. It was 3:1 for Spain. 

That was the only goal scored in the 2nd quarter, which ended 3:1 for Spain. 

3rd Quarter

Macan scored to open the 3rd quarter and brought Croatia back to -1 for 3:2 Spain. Spain came back for 4:2 with 6:12 to go. Bukić scored a rocket from the outside for 4:3 20 seconds later. Spain went back up to +2 with 5:32 to go (5:3). 

It was 6:3 for Spain, their highest advantage yet, with 4:23 left on the clock. Croatia was unlucky in their next attack to keep Spain ahead. 

Spain made it 7:3 with 27 seconds left in the 3rd. 

4th Quarter

Both sides missed their first attacks to start the final quarter. Fatović scored the first goal of the final quarter for 7:4 with 5:23 left in the match. 

Marcelić was in goal for Bijač to finish the game. It was 8:4 for Spain with 2:41 left. Marcelić saved Spain's final attack to end the game 8:4 for Spain.

This was Spain's 5th win of the Olympic Games. Croatia will thus play Hungary next in the quarters. 

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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! 

DSC_0067.JPG

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. 

DSC_9510.JPG

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). 

DSC_8487.JPG

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! 

DSC_9000.JPG

Slobodan Kadic 

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