Sunday, 25 July 2021

Water Polo at Olympic Games: Easy Win for Brilliant Croatia against Kazakhstan in Game 1 (23:7)

July 25, 2021 - It was an easy win for Croatia against Kazakhstan in their Olympic opener on Sunday in Tokyo. 

Croatia water polo opened its Olympic campaign against Kazakhstan on Sunday at 12:50 Croatia time. Ivica Tuck's team was the clear favorite to win the match, which they convincingly showed. 

Croatia lineup:

Marko Bijač, Marko Macan, Loren Fatović, Luka Lončar, Maro Joković, Luka Bukić, Ante Vukičević, Andro Bušlje, Lovre Milos, Josip Vrlić, Paulo Obradović, Javier Garcia Gadea

1st Quarter

Croatia opened with a goal by Maro Joković with 6:48 to go in the 1st quarter and Bijač defended Kazakhstan's attack straight after. Luka Bukić scored Croatia's second goal for 2:0 with 4:23 to go. 

Fatović scored from 5 meters to make it 3:0 with 3:33 to go. Garcia scored Croatia's 4th goal for 4:0 with less than a minute to go. Kazakhstan's scored their first goal for 4:1 with 22 seconds left. Croatia closed out the 1st quarter 4:1.

2nd Quarter

Luka Bukić scored his second goal for 5:1 at 6:49. Kazakhstan made it 5:2 20 seconds later. Obradović sored from the outside for 6:2.

Luka Bukić nailed the goal for a third time with 3:24 to go (7:3), and again for 8:3. Joković scored from 5 meters for +5 (9:4). 

Fatović scored Croatia's 10th goal for 10:4 with 6 seconds to go, which was the final score of the quarter. 

3rd Quarter 

Vrlić scored for 11:4 to open the 3rd quarter and again for 12:4 seconds later! Croatia was in a very comfortable lead. Garcia scored for 13:4 before Maro Joković nailed a rocket (and potential goal of the tournament contender) for 14:4. Joković scored his 4th goal for 15:4 with 2:38 left.

Obradović scored his second goal of the match for an impressive Croatia lead of 16:4. Vrlić made it +12 (17:5) with less than a minute to go. Vukičević made it 18:5 to end the 3rd quarter. 

4th Quarter

Miloš scored to open the final quarter at 19:5. Croatia's received its third penalty of the game with 6:18 to go in the game. Obradović scored with ease for 20:6. 

Fatović scored for 21:6 with 5:25 left. Joković scored his 5th goal of the game as Croatia's best scorer with 3 minutes to go (22:6).  Bijač saved a Kazakhstan penalty with 2 minutes left. 

Macan scored his first goal of the match with a minute left (23:7). Andro Bušlje and goalkeeper Bijač were the only Croatia players left to score. 

Croatia had the final attack of the match and was unable to score. The match ended 23:7 for Croatia! 

Croatia will play Australia next. The match is scheduled for Tuesday at 12:50 pm. 

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Sunday, 25 July 2021

Croatia at Olympic Games: Canoeist Matija Marinić in Semis, Gymnast Ana Đerek without Finals

July 25, 2021 - It is the third day of the Olympic Games in Tokyo which has already revealed some great results for Croatia. Namely, canoeist Matija Marinić is in the semis!

Croatian athletes will compete in boxing, gymnastics, sailing, canoeing, swimming, table tennis, archery, tennis, water polo, and rowing.

Croatian gymnast Ana Đerek did not make it to the finals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

After three of the five subdivisions, Đerek is in 46th place on the beam with a score of 11,633, while on the floor, she is 34th with a score of 12,433. Only the eight best qualify for the finals.

Croatia sailing team member Jelena Vorobjeva took an excellent third place in the Laser Radial class after the first two races of the Olympic regatta held near Kamakura. The next two races are scheduled for Monday.

Croatia wildwater slalom canoeist Matija Marinić won a place in the semifinals with the fifth-best result in the qualifications.

Marinić had the fifth-best result in both runs and was slightly faster in the second run (99.66 seconds), but he got a two-second penalty for touching the 11th goal, so the overall result of the first run (100.33) was better, and he was counted for the final ranking.

Rower Damir Martin won in his single scull quarterfinal group and advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic Games.

Martin completed the course in 7.17.71 minutes, leaving the Hungarian, Japanese, Peruvian, Czech, and Kazakh rowers behind by at least seven seconds. In the last 500 meters, Damir rested and kept his strength for the semifinals, scheduled in three days.

Croatian shooters Petar Gorša and Miran Maričić failed to qualify for the finals of the 10-meter air rifle discipline.

Croatian table tennis player Andrej Gaćina finished his fourth appearance at the Olympics in the 2nd round of the individual competition, after being defeated by left-handed Frenchman Emmanuel Lebasson 4-0 (6, 8, 10, 11) in 38 minutes.

Next up, we await the results of Donna Vekić and doubles team Ivan Dodig and Marin Čilić in tennis and Croatia water polo, which faces Kazakhstan at 12:50 pm. Sailor Tonči Stipanović will compete once the conditions are better. 

Source: HRT

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Thursday, 22 July 2021

From Water Polo to Rowing, Will Fitness Trainer Pero Kuterovac be Behind Croatia's Olympic Success?

July 22, 2021 - Fitness trainer Pero Kuterovac is known for bringing Olympic medals to Croatia. Will he do the same this year for Croatia water polo and rowing? 

Pero Kuterovac is a great strength for the Croatia water polo team - and his qualities in the fitness training of athletes are known outside of water polo. Pero Kuterovac was directly involved in three Croatia medals in Rio, including Damir Martin, who later, according to one study, was the most prepared athlete in Rio. He also worked with boxer Filip Hrgović, reports Sportske Novosti

For Tokyo, Kuterovac is again involved in three sports, and only one change has occurred.

"Yes, I worked with water polo players again, as well as with Damir Martin, but now swimming is the third sport because I worked with swimmer Nikola Miljanić before Tokyo."

Before the Games, Kuterovac advocates the thesis that the best results will be achieved by those who are the best to adapt to the unusual circumstances and all that they bring in terms of compliance.

"It will be something we are not used to. Admittedly, behind all of us is a season in which we learned what it means to be in a bubble, under measures. However, our mentality does not allow some prohibitions. We are all professionals, and we will do it all. But when the Chinese are told they have to sit there for three days, they sit and do not move. With us, it's a little harder. However, there is too much in the game; these are the Olympic Games, for which water polo players have been preparing painstakingly hard. Just take that we spent seven weeks in preparation, there was so much torment and tears, but we knew why we were doing all this. Now we are all a bit nervous and crazy, but we will channel everything, endure everything, arm ourselves with nerves because we have a big goal ahead of us."

Kuterovac has experience with athletes from different sports. Can he say firsthand how much harder it is for water polo players to prepare for a big competition than others?

"Water polo is the most demanding team sport. First, there is the highest energy consumption, then everything takes place in water, and this is not a medium that is specific to man, and thirdly, there is a lot more to train here than with land sports. In some shock microcycles, we now know how to train for eight hours a day. First, there was gym, swimming, then water polo. It’s challenging, difficult, but there’s a goal above all; it's the biggest motivator for a serious athlete. It was not difficult for me to motivate them to work; they did everything to the maximum. I am delighted that no one had any problems with injuries, and I take credit for that because we worked very hard on prevention. Athletes don’t like to do prevention, those stupid and boring things, but I insist on that. Every lost day due to stretching can be disastrous for our ultimate goal. And that is always a medal for us."

What secrets does Pero Kuterovac use in working with the best athletes?

"I'm a little different than everyone here. I’m quite talented; I’d say creative in manipulating people; I get into their heads easily. For example, Andro Bušlje and Maro Joković are here with about fifty medals won. Still, with them, it is the same as when I work individually, for example, with Bojan Bogdanović, who earns a lot of money. And that makes me successful because emotional and social intelligence at this level of sport is more important than anything. And I'm pretty good at it."

You mentioned Bušlje, Joković, Bogdanovć; they all turned 30. Do athletes work more when they are older than in their formative years?

"That's right, and that's, unfortunately, wrong. When they suffer an injury, they are cathartic. In general, the body is such that when you are younger, you recover faster; you can not sleep all night and train normally tomorrow. When you get to some more serious years, it’s different. Contrary to some books, I think the first threshold for that is 27 years, and then comes the threshold of 33, 34 years. So there are already some things to do more and in more detail, to take more care of recovery, training planning is different."

Pero Kuterovac will be at his sixth Games in Tokyo. From Sydney until now, he has always been part of the Croatian delegation. How satisfied would he be with a medal in Tokyo?

"Somehow, I think there should not be less than five, and ideally, there should be eight. That’s my estimate, but I hope I made a mistake, and there will be ten like Rio. Five, I say, should be with us because we have some athletes who dominate, such as the Sinković brothers, Sandra Perković, and Tin Srbić. Something is always won in archery, now there is a chance in martial arts, and there is, of course, water polo. So five minimum, eight would be great."

And finally, what kind of Damir Martin can we expect in Tokyo?

"Damir had a severe hip injury; he was in surgery in Munich, after which it took nine months to recover. For him, the pandemic turned out well because if the Games had been as planned last year, he would not have been able to perform. Since January, he is completely ready in every segment; there is no pain, there are no obstacles. In some of our tests, he almost returned to the level he had in 2016 in strength, power, endurance, speed endurance. I am looking forward to Damir's performance, and I think it will be a very nice surprise."

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Sunday, 11 July 2021

Croatia Water Polo Team Wins Sardinia Cup ahead of Olympics!

July 11, 2021 - In the 2nd round of the Sardinia Cup in Cagliari, Croatia defeated the host Italy 15:12. Since they also beat Russia the day before (14:5), Croatia took home the winning trophy with a maximum of 6 points.

The match proved to a solid extent that this is still a preparatory period. In the second quarter, Croatia won 6:1, and a quarter later, Italy celebrated 6:2. The first quarter was equal with alternating team leads (1:0, 1:2, 3:2, and 3:4 for Croatia). With the goals of Miloš and captain Bušlje, Croatia took the lead at 6:3, Renzuto reduced it, but immediately afterward, Bukić, Lončar, Obradović, and Fatović scored for 10:4 for Croatia at halftime.

Italy managed to reduce Croatia's advantage to just two goals for 12:10 Croatia. In the last quarter, the hosts were just one goal behind on two occasions (11:12 and 12:13) but could not equalize. Obradović shook Italy's net at 11:12, a goal by Michael Bodegas reduced Croatia's lead (12:13), and two consecutive Croatia goals followed. Bukić scored with less than three minutes to go, and 53 seconds before the end, the left-handed Joković scored for the final 15:12.

Italy and Russia will play for second place on Sunday at noon. Croatia will return to Split and Zagreb via Rome on Sunday. After that, they will have three days off and then the final gathering in Zagreb on Thursday, July 15. Croatia travels to Tokyo on Monday, July 19. 

"We played another great tournament and deservedly won it. This is a good overture to the most important thing that follows, the Olympic Games. I'm looking forward to a good game. Although we witnessed a phenomenal game in the first two quarters, I am sorry that we did not stay in the same high rhythm until the end. We got into some trouble in the third quarter, which is good to be happening to us now, in these tournaments. But we knew how to react and pull ourselves together. I am glad that we had a game like this, which was not a one-way street, but that we got into certain problems and reacted in a good way and won," said coach Ivica Tucak. 

"We did what we imagined. We fixed the game, but it’s still far from our best. I am sure that these few days off that follow will come in handy, after which we will make good use of the preparations in Zagreb and go to Tokyo in ideal shape," concluded captain Andro Bušlje. 

Source: HVS

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Sunday, 21 February 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Croatia Draws Group B with Serbia, Montenegro

February 21, 2021 - Croatia draws Group B with Serbia, Montenegro, and more top national teams at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

After a thrilling end to the Olympic qualifying tournament in Rotterdam on Sunday, Croatia secured the final 12th spot for the Tokyo Olympics.

Recall, Croatia and Russia met in the 3rd-place match of the Olympic qualifying tournament on Sunday afternoon. A win was enough for Croatia to automatically secure a spot in Tokyo, as the top three national teams from the qualifiers advance to the Olympic Games. 

Croatia finished the tournament with six victories and two defeats. Croatia won their first match against Romania at 16:6, defeated the Netherlands 25:8, topped France 10:13lost to Russia 13:14, and beat Germany 22:8 in the final group stage match. 

Croatia thus finished the group stage with eight points, four wins, and a defeat against Russia, which finished first with nine points. 

In the quarterfinal match on Friday, Croatia was better than Georgia (15:6), but lost to Montenegro in the semifinal match on penalties on Saturday. In the match for 3rd place, Croatia topped Russia on penalties 25:24

After Montenegro and Greece met in the final of the qualifiers, the national teams were drawn into two groups, in which Croatia was placed in Group B with Serbia, Australia, Spain, Kazahstan, and Montenegro. 

Namely, Croatia is in the company of the World Championship finalist - Spain, the defending Olympic gold medalist and 2019 World League winner - Serbia, the bronze medalist from the last European Championship in Budapest - Montenegro, and Australia, led by Croatian coach Elvis Fatović, the silver medalist from the last FINA Cup and the strongest team outside Europe. The only weaker team in the group is the national team of Kazakhstan.

On the other hand, Group A includes South Africa, the United States, Hungary, Greece, Japan, and Italy. 

The top four teams from each group move onto the quarterfinal stage of the competition. 

The Olympic Games in Tokyo are scheduled from July 24 to August 8, 2021. 

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

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Olympic Qualifiers: Croatia Falls to Montenegro on Penalties, Plays in 3rd Place Match Sunday

 February 20, 2021 - Croatia falls to Montenegro in the semifinal match of the Olympic qualifying tournament and will play in the 3rd-place match on Sunday for a spot in Tokyo. 

Croatia and Montenegro met in the semifinal match of the Olympic qualifying tournament in Rotterdam on Saturday evening. A win was enough for Croatia to automatically secure a spot in Tokyo, as the top three national teams from the qualifiers advance to the Olympic Games. If Croatia lost, they would have to play (and win) the match for 3rd place. 

Behind Croatia are six rounds made up of five victories and one defeat at the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Rotterdam thus far. Recall, Croatia won their first match against Romania at 16:6, defeated the Netherlands 25:8, topped France 10:13lost to Russia 13:14, and beat Germany 22:8 in the final group stage match. 

Croatia thus finished the group stage with eight points, four wins, and a defeat against Russia, which finished first with nine points. 

In the quarterfinal match on Friday, Croatia was better than Georgia (15:6).

Montenegro v. Croatia

Montenegro opened the game with a goal for 1:0 with 7:07 to go in the first quarter. Maro Jokovic scored Croatia's first goal for 1:1 a minute later. 

Croatia led for the first time thanks to a goal by Vukicevic for 1:2 with 2:36 to go, though Montenegro retook the lead for 3:2 with just under a minute to go, which is how the first quarter ended. 

Andro Buslje opened the second quarter with a rocket for 3:3. Vukicevic scored his second goal of the game for 4:4 with 4:15 to go in the second. Croatia retook the lead thanks to a penalty by Luka Bukic with just over 3 minutes to go (4:5). The second quarter ended at 5:5. 

Fatovic and Bukic made it 7:7 in the third quarter and Buslje equalized for 8:8 with 1:43 to go - and scored again for the Croatia lead in the final seconds of the third quarter (8:9). 

Bijac was brilliant in goal with two crucial saves to start the final quarter and keep Croatia head. Montenegro equalized at 9:9 with four minutes left in the match. Luka Bukic nailed the goal for 9:10 Croatia with 2:32 to go. Montenegro equalized for 10:10 with 24 seconds to go. The game went to penalties, in which Montenegro was better. 

Greece and Russia will meet in the second semifinal on February 20 at 20:00.

The finalists of the qualifying tournament, as well as the national team that wins the match for third place on February 21, will qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are scheduled from July 24 to August 8, 2021. 

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

Friday, 19 February 2021

Olympic Qualifiers: Croatia Water Polo Defeats Georgia in Quarterfinal (6:15)

February 19, 2021 - Croatia water polo defeats Georgia in the quarterfinal match of the Olympic qualifying tournament in Rotterdam on Friday evening. They will meet Montenegro in the semifinal match tomorrow!

Behind Croatia are five rounds made up of four victories and one defeat at the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Rotterdam thus far. Recall, Croatia won their first match against Romania at 16:6, defeated the Netherlands 25:8, topped France 10:13, lost to Russia 13:14, and beat Germany 22:8 in the final group stage match. 

Croatia thus finished the group stage with eight points, four wins, and a defeat against Russia, which finished first with nine points. 

To qualify for the Olympics, Croatia needed to achieve two more victories in Rotterdam, the first against Georgia in the quarterfinals, and then on Saturday in the semifinals or on Sunday in a possible duel for third place.

Georgia v Croatia Recap

Maro Jokovic scored Croatia's first goal and the first of the game for 0:1 with 5:26 to go in the first quarter. Garcia made it 2:2 for Croatia nearly four minutes later - and Luka Loncar scored to end the first quarter 2:3 for Croatia. 

Luka Bukic scored 20 seconds into the second quarter for 2:4, and two goals by Ante Vukicevic increased Croatia's lead to 6:2 with 5:24 to go in the quarter. Loren Fatovic made it 2:7 with 4:45 left, and Maro Jokovic scored a rocket from outside for 3:8. Loncar scored for 3:9 with a minute to go, which was the score going into the half. 

Josip Vrlic scored Croatia's first goal of the third quarter nearly six minutes in! Croatia was up +6. Luka Bukic made it 4:11, which is how the third quarter ended. 

Luka Bukic opened the final quarter with a goal for 4:12. Fatovic scored a penalty for 4:13 and again for 5:14. Bukic scored for 6:15, which was the final score of the match. 

The four winning teams will play in the semifinals on February 20. The finalists of the qualifying tournament, as well as the national team that wins the match for third place on February 21, will qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are scheduled from July 24 to August 8, 2021. 

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

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Olympic Qualifiers: Croatia Water Polo Tops Germany in Final Group Stage Match (22:8)

February 10, 2021 - In game five of the Olympic Qualifiers in Rotterdam, Croatia water polo tops Germany (22:8).

On Thursday evening, Croatia and Germany met for the final group stage match, after which we will learn the pairs of the quarterfinals.

Behind Croatia are four rounds made up of three victories and one defeat at the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Rotterdam thus far. Recall, Croatia won their first match against Romania at 16:6, defeated the Netherlands 25:8, topped France 10:13, and lost to Russia yesterday 13:14.

Croatia v. Germany Recap

Luka Bukic scored the first goal of the match for Croatia (1:0), while Luka Loncar made it 2:1 with 6:14 to go in the first. Maro Jokovic scored for 3:2 a minute and a half later. 

Luka Loncar scored for 4:2 and Josip Vrlic scored for 5:3 which was how the first quarter ended. 

Jokovic and Buslje opened the second quarter with goals for Croatia (7:3), and Vukicevic made it 8:4 with four minutes to go. Loren Fatovic scored for 9:5 with just under two minutes to go. Buslje scored twice to end the second quarter at 11:5. 

Vukicevic opened the third quarter with two goals for 13:5 with 6 minutes to go. Lovre Milos scored for 14:5, and Rino Buric for 15:5. Buslje scored to end the third quarter at 16:6.

Thanks to Vukicevic, Buric, and Bukic, it was 18:6 with just under six minutes to go in the final quarter. Loncar scored for 20:7 shortly after, while Bukic scored two goals for 22:8, which is how the match ended. 

Following the group stage, the quarterfinal stage will commence on Friday, February 19, in which the four best teams from each group will meet.  The pairs will be determined by their positions in the standings (A1 - B4, A2 - B3, A3 - B2, and A4 - B1). 

The four winning teams will play in the semifinals on February 20. The finalists of the qualifying tournament, as well as the national team that wins the match for third place on February 21, will qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are scheduled from July 24 to August 8, 2021. 

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

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Olympic Qualifiers: Croatia Water Polo Falls to Russia (13:14)

February 17, 2021 - In game four of the Olympic Qualifiers in Rotterdam, Croatia water polo falls to Russia for their first defeat in the tournament.

On Wednesday afternoon, Croatia and Russia met for the penultimate group stage match, which also carried a bit more importance - it was the match for first place in the group.

Behind Croatia are three rounds and three victories at the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Rotterdam. Recall, Croatia won their first match against Romania at 16:6, defeated the Netherlands 25:8, and topped France 10:13

Russia, on the other hand, was weak in the first two games, though they claimed victory over France and drew their second against Romania. However, in their third match on Tuesday, they topped Germany by 12 goals. 

Croatia v Russia Recap

While Russia was the first to score, Rino Buric equalized 40 seconds later, and a goal by Josip Vrlic made it 2:2 with 6:21 to go in the first quarter. Luke Loncar gave Croatia the lead with 5:33 left (3:2). 

Fatovic scored for 4:3 with 3:05 to go in the first quarter, though missed a penalty a minute later. Fortunately, he scored for 5:3 with just over a minute to go, which is how the first quarter ended. 

Croatia opened the second quarter with goals by Ante Vukicevic and Maro Jokovic for +3 (7:4). Lovre Milos made it 8:5 with 3:58 to go, and Vukicevic scored for 9:5 moments later. 

Russia opened the third quarter with a goal for 9:8, though Croatia's Bukic scored for 10:8 with 5:28 to go. Fatovic scored for 11:8 one minute later and scored his fourth goal of the game for 12:9 with just under 3 minutes to go. 

Andro Buslje made it +4 (13:9), which was the last goal scored for Croatia in the third quarter which ended at 13:11. 

Russia equalized in the final quarter for 13:13 with five minutes to go in the match - and with 2:25 left, Russia took the lead (13:14), which was the final score of the game. 

Croatia will meet Germany (Thursday, February 18, at 8:30 pm) in the final group stage match. 

Following the group stage, the quarterfinal stage will commence on Friday, February 19, in which the four best teams from each group will meet.  The pairs will be determined by their positions in the standings (A1 - B4, A2 - B3, A3 - B2, and A4 - B1). 

The four winning teams will play in the semifinals on February 20. The finalists of the qualifying tournament, as well as the national team that wins the match for third place on February 21, will qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are scheduled from July 24 to August 8, 2021. 

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

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Olympic Qualifiers: Croatia Water Polo Defeats France, Records Third Win

February 16, 2021 - In game three of the Olympic Qualifiers in Rotterdam, Croatia water polo defeats France for their third win of the tournament. 

Behind Croatia are two rounds and two victories at the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Rotterdam. Recall, Croatia won their first match against Romania at 16:6, and on Monday against the Netherlands 25:8

Before their meeting with France on Tuesday, Croatia counted by far the most goals (41), with the best goal difference (+27), and is among the teams with the fewest goals conceded.

However, Croatia still has a long road ahead and played only their third match of eight in Rotterdam on Tuesday, this time against France. France lost to Russia in their first match and topped Germany in their second. 

France took the lead first on Tuesday, scoring the opening goal of the game with 5:47 to go in the first quarter. France scored for 2:0 a minute later. 

Maro Jokovic missed a 5-meter penalty moments later, keeping France in the lead. Luka Bukic scored Croatia's first goal of the game after only 4 minutes - 2:1. 

Josip Vrlic scored the equalizer with 1:39 to go in the first quarter (2:2). Loren Fatovic scored for the Croatia lead to end the first quarter at 2:3.

Loren Fatovic opened the second quarter with a goal for Croatia (3:4). Andro Buslje scored for 5:5 with 49 seconds left to end the second quarter.

Buslje opened the third quarter for 5:6 Croatia, though France came back to equalize with five minutes to go (6:6). Milos put Croatia back in the lead at 6:7. Jokovic scored for +2 with 3:42 to go in the third. 

Bukic scored from 5-meters for Croatia's biggest lead yet - 6:9, and Garcia scored for +4 (6:10) to end the third quarter. 

Maro Jokovic opened the final quarter with a goal for 7:11. Fatovic scored a 5-meter penalty to bring Croatia back to +3 (9:12). 

Bukic scored another penalty for Croatia with 3:26 to go in the match (10:13), which was the final score of the match. 

Croatia will meet Russia (Wednesday, February 17, at 2:30 pm) and Germany (Thursday, February 18, at 8:30 pm) in the final two group stage games. 

Following the group stage, the quarterfinal stage will commence on Friday, February 19, in which the four best teams from each group will meet.  The pairs will be determined by their positions in the standings (A1 - B4, A2 - B3, A3 - B2, and A4 - B1). 

The four winning teams will play in the semifinals on February 20. The finalists of the qualifying tournament, as well as the national team that wins the match for third place on February 21, will qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are scheduled from July 24 to August 8, 2021. 

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

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