GWANGJU, 25 July 2019 – Croatia will fight it out for the bronze medal at the 2019 FINA World Water Polo Championships in Gwangju, South Korea after losing their semifinal against Spain 6:5 on Thursday.
Croatia, who were the reigning champions, suffered their first loss in the tournament at the hands of a strong Spanish team who defended heroically today. Ivica Tucak’s team did not have luck go their way in the semifinal as Lopez in the Spain goal made save after save.
Spain raced out to an early lead of 4:1 thanks largely to Lopez who denied Croatia on four occasions. They would stretch the lead at the end of the third quarter to 6:2 as Croatia saw their shot attempts blocked, hit the post and saved as it was obvious it would not be Croatia’s day.
Croatia narrowed the score to 6:5 in the final quarter but would not have enough time to take the lead. Only Jokovic (3) Fatovic and Garcia could could find the back of the net for Croatia despite numerous attempts during the match.
Croatia topped their group in pool play with wins over Australia, USA, and Kazakhstan before beating Germany in the quarterfinal. Croatia will now play for the bronze medal. They will meet the loser of the Italy v Hungary semifinal.