GWANGJU, 15 July 2019 – Croatia has opened the 2019 FINA World Water Polo Championships in Gwangju, South Korea with an impressive win against Australia 14: 4 (4:1, 2:1, 4:0, 4:2) today.
For Croatia, Ante Vukičević top scored with six goals, whilst Miloš scored two. There were also goals to Macan, Lončar, Joković, Benić, Bušlje and Vrlić. Keeper Marko Bijač made 12 saves in a match that particularly pleased coach Ivica Tucak.
“I think we played a brilliant match, we were completely psychologically prepared for the start of the tournament and for such a tough opponent. Congratulations to my boys, a great performance in all segments of the game. But now we have to forget the game as soon as possible, as soon as we sit in the bus I will tell the players. We do not have much time, another very similar opponent, America, awaits us. A win against them will guarantee a quarterfinal spot. But there is still a lot of work ahead of us. Still, I really have to be happy with the game we played today, I think it was borderline phenomenal,” Tucak said after the victory.
“Congratulations to the boys, we were great in all segments, especially in defence, we only conceded four goals and we closed down their play from their two centers brilliantly. Marko was also excellent in goal. In attack we were also in great form coming up with a lot of different solutions. We are always physically fit and prepared and we have adapted to the big time difference. Ahead of us is a match with the Americans, we will try to play our best and win to achieve our goal, which is finishing first place in the group. After that, we can calmly wait for the quarterfinals,” said Croatia’s top goalscorer, Ante Vukičević.
17 July – 2nd round: Croatia – USA
19 July – 3rd round: Croatia – Kazakhstan
Quarterfinals: 21 & 23 July
Semifinal: 25 July
3rd & 4th: 27 July
Final: 27 July