Saturday, 30 April 2022

Croatia Finishes 6th in Water Polo World League European Qualifications

April 30, 2022 - The Croatia men's water polo team took 6th place in the final tournament of the World League European qualifications, which is being held in Podgorica. Croatia lost the match for fifth place to Hungary on Saturday 9-14 (1-3, 3-1, 2-5, 3-5 ).

Jerko Marinić Kragić scored three goals for Croatia, while Ivan Krapić, Ivan Domagoj Zović, Luka Bukić, Josip Vrlić, Hrvoje Benić, and Konstantin Harkov added one goal each. Hungary was led by Marton Vamos with four goals and Gergely Burian with three goals.

"This is a new team after all. A lot of players have ‘retired’ when it comes to national water polo. There are a lot of new players, and I am finally among them. The goal in Podgorica was to work mostly on the team part of tactics, technique, and even some other things outside the pool. To become a real ‘klapa’. Therefore, when it is put in order, everything will be as it should be. This tournament was good for us to see where we are and what we are, since we didn't have much time to prepare. We still have a lot to fix. I think that the Croatia national team must aim for the highest success and I think we will achieve that. The process is long, it is not easy, but we will succeed. We have time to do all this, we have time to come to the next gathering, if I'm not mistaken, on June 5. We are all eager, hungry and thirsty for success," Jerko Marinić Kragić emphasized after the match for HVS.

Qualifying for the final World League tournament, which will be held from July 23 to 29 in Strasbourg, will be won by the three first-placed national teams from the tournament in Podgorica. Namely, the match for fifth place did not matter.

Italy and Serbia took two of the three places with victories in the semifinals on Friday, while Montenegro and Spain will play for the third-place later on Saturday. Earlier, France, the USA, Canada, Brazil, and Australia won a spot in the final tournament.

Source: HRT

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


Friday, 29 April 2022

Water Polo World League: Croatia Competing for 5th to 8th Place

April 29, 2022 - Italy defeated Croatia 8:6 in the water polo World League quarterfinals in Podgorica on Thursday. Croatia will now face France tonight at 5 pm. 

In the first game of the European final tournament of this season's World League, Italy defeated Croatia 8:6. With this result, Italy advanced to the semifinals, while the Barracudas will continue to compete for 5th to 8th place, reports HVS.

Fortunately, this tournament only acts as prep for upcoming major competitions such as the World Champs in Hungary and the European Championships in Split. 

Croatia did not lead for a single moment in the match and only managed to equalize once (Vukičević for 1:1 with an extra man).

Croatia struggled in the attack for the first three quarters and Italian goalkeeper Marco Del Lungo was brilliant in goal, recording 15 saves total. Croatia, on the other hand, had 31 attempts and only 6 goals. 

"Unfortunately, the beginning was not good for us. It’s not easy to play when you lose the whole game. You try to go back, that's where a lot of energy is spent," said Luka Bukić after the match. 

"In the end, we even came to just a few goals, but Italy still managed to score a goal that secured or confirmed their victory. The biggest problem today was certainly in the attack. We need to see where we all went wrong and how to fix it," he added. 

After 1:1 in the first 8 minutes, Italy took the lead at 4:1, 5:2, and then before the last quarter led 7:2. 

In the last quarter, Croatia woke up and even threatened to return completely. In the last five and a half minutes, Croatia used four consecutive extra man plays, and with the goals of Krapić, Burić, Vrlić, and Benić, they were only one goal behind or 7:6 for Italy. There are only 53 seconds left until the end, but the Italian left-hander, otherwise Argentine Gonzalo Echenique scored in the right corner of Marcelić's goal for the final 8:6 for Italy.

Coach Ivica Tucak left behind Jerko Marinić Kragić and Franko Lazić from the players he took to Podgorica. Croatia will play the next match in Podgorica on Friday, April 29 at 5 pm against France who lost to Montenegro on Thursday 

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

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

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