Friday, 21 June 2019

World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Tops Japan for Spot in Semis

June 21, 2019 - The Croatia water polo team and Japan met on Friday for the quarterfinal of the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

Croatia continued their fight for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics next year against Japan in the quarterfinal of the World League Super Final in Belgrade, Serbia. In the group stage of the tournament, Croatia defeated Kazakhstan and Australia and lost by a goal to Serbia. Croatia thus secured second place in Group B. 

Croatia kicked off the quarterfinal match with a goal by Maro Jaković a minute into the first quarter, which was followed by another from Andro Bušlje for 0:2 Croatia. Japan came back with a goal by Inaba with less than 5 minutes to go in the first and equalized with just over three minutes to go. Japan even took the lead a minute later for 3:2,  but Bušlje and Fatović put Croatia back ahead for 3:4 at the end of the first quarter. 

Fatović opened the second quarter for Croatia with a goal, which was followed by another for 3:6 with just under six minutes to go in the second. Japan came back with one for 4:6 30 seconds later, and Krapić increased Croatia’s lead to 4:7. A goal by Vukičević made the game 4:8, and while Japan came back for 6:8 with a minute and a half to go before halftime, Šetka and Miloš pushed the result to 6:10 at the half. 

Croatia continued dominating in the third quarter - Fatović scored for 6:11, and by the middle of the quarter, Croatia was leading by six goals (8:14). The third quarter ended at 8:15 for Croatia. 

Croatia won the sprint at the start of the fourth quarter and increased their lead thanks to a goal by Krapić for 8:16 a minute in. Japan came back with two goals to decrease Croatia’s lead to 10:16, but Buljubašić scored for 10:17. It was 11:17 with four minutes to go, but Joković put Croatia back up to 11:18 seconds later. 

With two minutes to go, Croatia led 12:20, and the game ended an incredible 13:20 for Croatia. 

In the semifinal, Croatia will play the winner of Spain v. Kazakhstan. 

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

Thursday, 20 June 2019

World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Tops Australia (11:9)

June 20, 2019 - The Croatia water polo team and Australia met on Thursday at 3 pm to play for the second place of Group B at the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

After Croatia crushed Kazakhstan in the first round and lost to Serbia by a goal the night before, Thursday’s meeting between Croatia and Australia would decide who would finish second in Group B of the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

Not only do Croatia and Australia have a Croatian connection - recall, the Australia coach is Elvis Fatović, whose son Loren Fatović plays for Croatia, but the two teams are no strangers in the pool. You might remember that Australia knocked out Croatia in the quarters of the World Championship in Barcelona back in 2003, which they also achieved yet again at the World Championship 10 years later. Australia even knocked Croatia out of the quarters at the World Cup in Berlin last year! 

However, Croatia wasn’t about to let Australia taste the victory in Belgrade. 

Croatia was the first to take the lead thanks to a goal by Ivan Krapić, though Australia’s Aidan Roach equalized for 1:1. Andrew Ford put Australia in the lead for 1:2, though Croatia was quick to come back after a Bušlje goal. After Hollis scored with 9 seconds to go in the first quarter, Australia was up 2:3. 

In the second quarter, Australia increased their lead to 2:4, and were even at 5:3 with 45 seconds to go in the second, though it ended 4:5 for Australia before the half. 

Croatia kicked themselves into gear in the third quarter - after Krapić equalized for 5:5, Vrlić, Benić, Vukičević, and Garcia put Croatia in the lead for 9:5. Ford and Putt brought Australia back to 9:7 - and with goals from Fatović and Lachlan Edwards, the third quarter ended 10:8 with the Croatia lead. 

We didn't see a goal by either side in the fourth quarter until there were just over three minutes to go - Vrlić scored for 11:8 Croatia. Australia reduced Croatia's lead to 11:9 thanks to a goal by Blake Edwards with less than three minutes to go. Neither team managed to score for the remainder of the quarter, and the game finished 11:9 for Croatia!

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

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Croatia Featured in French Film About Gay Water Polo Team (VIDEO)

“Love Who You Want” was the message on Saturday’s cover of L'Equipe, one of the most influential sports journals in Europe. The French daily’s latest edition is devoted to raising awareness about homophobia in sports. On the cover is a photo of water polo lovers in the pool, reports Index.hr on May 4, 2019. 

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L'Equipe cover

The photo comes from a scene in the movie "Les Crevettes Pailletée" (The Shiny Shrimps) which follows a water polo team during their preparations for the Gay Games. According to the script, the Gay Games are held in Croatia, where the award-winning French crew recorded part of the film. The movie was also filmed in France, and some of the material was from the original Gay Games last year in Paris. The movie follows the main character, Matthias Le Goff, an Olympic winner who made a homophobic statement on television. Instead of punishment, he is tasked with coaching the Shiny Shrimps, a flamboyant and amateur gay water-polo team through their qualifications for the Gay Games in Croatia. 

The screening of the film is followed by a campaign against homophobia in L'Equipe. The front page does not want to shock, but encourage discussion, the editorial staff said.

In the new edition of L'Equipe, the testimonies of people who have firsthand witnessed homophobia in sports and the lives of gay professionals can be read. Among them is the story of Justin Fashanu, the British footballer who first opened up about his homosexuality. For eight years he fought against stigmas, accusations and attacks, and in 1998 he committed suicide.

The L'Equipe front cover is the bravest move in major sports media in Europe to report on homophobia. The US, Australia and Canada media have done this already. ESPN recently devoted a cover story to Simon Dunn, an Australian rugby player who competed in the 2014 Olympic Games in bobsledding and openly spoke about his sexuality.

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

Monday, 8 April 2019

Europa Cup: Croatia Water Polo Fails to Defend Title, Takes Silver Against Hungary

The Croatia water polo team failed to defend the Europa Cup title after losing to Hungary in the final in Zagreb 8:10 (2:2, 1:3, 2:3, 3:2), reports HRT on April 7, 2019. 

However, most important for coach Ivica Tucak is that Croatia’s semi-final victory over Spain secured the team placement in the final tournament of the World League, which will be held from June 18 to 23 in Belgrade. The winner of that tournament in Belgrade automatically qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The “Baraccudas” played a solid game, though there were visible flaws. Hungary opened the match with a 0:2 lead, but Croatia came back to make it 3:2 with Joković’s goal at the start of the second quarter. Unfortunately, Manhercz equalized at 3:3, and when Croatia failed to utilize having an extra player in the pool, Hungary scored again for the 3:4 lead. At the half-time, Hungary was up 3:5, and in the third minute of the third quarter, Kovacs scored for 3:6.

Joković was able to reduce Hungary’s lead (4:6), though nothing could help Croatia come back, and Hungary convincingly managed to hold onto an advantage of two or three goals until the end, which ultimately gave them the 8:10 victory and the Europa Cup title.

Loren Fatović was one of the most effective in the Croatian ranks with three goals, while Maro Joković scored two, and Andro Bušlje, Ivan Buljubašić and Josip Vrlić scored one.

Peter Manhercz was the best for Hungary with three goals.

In the match for third place, Spain was better than Italy 9:7 (3:1, 0:2, 5:3, 1:1), while Montenegro defeated Serbia in the match for fifth place 16:14.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković also attended the final match in Zagreb. 

In other Croatia water polo news, the national team has been grouped with Australia, the USA, and Kazakhstan for the World Championships, to be held from July 14 to 27 in South Korea. The draw for the tournament was held on Sunday at the Westin hotel in Zagreb. 

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

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Europa Cup: Croatia Water Polo Tops Spain for Spot in Final Against Hungary!

The Croatia water polo team won the Europa Cup in Rijeka last year, and now, they have an opportunity to defend the title against Hungary in Zagreb on Sunday.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Europa Cup: Croatia Water Polo Tops Greece in Zagreb for Place in Semis

The Croatia water polo team defeated Greece 13:11 (1:2, 5:4, 4:1, 3:4) in the Europa Cup quarterfinals, which was held in Zagreb on Friday, reports HRT on April 5, 2019. 

Croatia nervously entered the duel and did not take advantage of their first five situations with an extra player in the pool, giving Greece a constant advantage during the first two quarters. However, Croatia resolved the match in the third quarter. In that period, Croatia had three consecutive goals and did not allow Greece to get above a two-goal difference until the end. Greece scored their first goal of the second half seven minutes into the half, and Croatia ended the third quarter with a goal by Fatović for an impressed lead of  11:7. Greece could no longer return.

Loren Fatović scored three goals for Croatia, with Maro Joković, Josip Vrlić, Anđelo Šetka and Javier Garcia each scoring two, and Luka Lončar and Ivan Buljubašić scoring one. Ioannis Fontoulis led Greece with three goals, and Alexandros Gounas and Angelos Vlachopoulos added two.

“We did not expect an easy win. However, when we settled the defense and led by three points, we were able to keep the advantage,” said Loren Fatović.

Fatović also announced the upcoming game against Spain.

“It will be a tough match; they broke Serbia in three quarters.”

In the semi-final on Saturday, Croatia will play against Spain (20:15), who beat Serbia on Friday in the quarters 13:12 (5:4, 3:1, 3:4, 2:3), while Hungary and Italy will play in the other semi-final at 18:30. Hungary defeated Montenegro 11:9 (4:2, 2:3, 1:1, 4:1) , while Italy was better than Russia with 11:9 (3:3, 3:2, 1:3, 4:1).

The Croatian water polo team is defending the title won last year in Rijeka. The top three teams of this tournament will compete in the World League finals, hosted by Belgrade from June 18 to 23. Despite losing to Spain, Serbia automatically qualifies in the World League finals as they are the host of the tournament. The winner of the World League finals will advance to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Of the European teams, Serbia will join the Europa Cup finalists and the winner of the third place in the tournament in Belgrade.

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

Friday, 8 March 2019

Croatia and Serbia Water Polo Prepare for Sports Spectacle in Sisak

The Croatia water polo team welcomes Serbia on Tuesday, March 12 as part of the Europa Cup.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Fourth Attacker on Serbian Water Polo Players Arrested

ZAGREB, February 14, 2019 - Police in Split on Wednesday confirmed to HINA that they had arrested a 22 year-old suspected of being connected to an attack that occurred last Saturday against Serbian water polo players.

The police said that a criminal investigation would show whether the man was indeed connected to the verbal and physical attack against the three players of Belgrade's Red Star Water Polo Club. Unofficial sources, however, said that the man is suspected of the same crimes as three other suspects that have already been apprehended.

The incident is being treated as acts of robbery, grievous bodily harm and hate crime.

This past Saturday, the three Serbian players, who came to a cafe at Split's waterfront promenade, were physically attacked with metal bars and knives by five perpetrators. Two of the players managed to get to their hotel while the third jumped into the sea and sustained light injuries.

They had arrived in Split for a match scheduled for Saturday night, however, the match was cancelled because of the incident.

The police quickly arrested three of the perpetrators. Two were remanded in one-month investigative custody on Monday evening, while the third of them was released pending completion of the investigation.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Serbia can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Police Arrests Three Attackers on Serbian Water Polo Players

ZAGREB, February 10, 2019 - Police in the southern coastal city of Split have arrested three young men on suspicion of attacking three Serbian water polo players on the city's waterfront promenade on Saturday. Two attackers are still on the run, local police said on Sunday morning.

The police said that a club jersey that had been taken from one of the players had been found with one of the men that were brought in on Sunday morning.

The three players are members of Belgrade's Red Star Water Polo Club who had arrived in Split for a game against the local side Mornar BS, which was scheduled for 8.30pm on Saturday. The match was cancelled because of the incident.

The three players were sitting in a cafe on the Riva promenade early on Saturday afternoon when they were approached by five youths who objected to their wearing their club jerseys. The youths first demanded that they take them off and then attacked them. Two of the players, aged 25 and 26, were hit in the back, but managed to run away, while a third escaped by jumping into the sea.

Police soon arrived at the scene, the 29-year-old man was pulled from the sea and taken to the hotel where the Belgrade team were staying. He was later taken to a hospital where he was found to have suffered slight injuries to the head, temple and nose.

The Croatian government strongly condemns this attack by hooligans, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has discussed the incident with Interior Minister Davor Božinović and Split Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara, government spokesman Marko Milić told Hina.

The attack was earlier condemned by the Croatian Water Polo Federation, the Croatian Olympic Committee and many athletes and politicians.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić told the RTS public broadcaster on Saturday evening that his ministry would present a protest note to Croatia over the attack in Split. He said that the incident was the result of an ongoing chauvinist anti-Serbian campaign in Croatia, adding that Belgrade would formally demand that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

The Serbian Water Polo Federation and the Red Star Water Polo Club have announced that they will seek increased security measures for their clubs and national water polo team during Euro Cup matches in Croatia.

More news on the relations between Croatia and Serbia can be found in the Politics section.

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