Croatia has beaten the defending World Champions Serbia to reach the final of the FINA 2017 World Water Polo Championships tonight in Budapest.
Croatia, who only took the lead for the first time in the match with just under 5 minutes remaining, took out a close battle 12:11 to knock out the defending champions Serbia on Thursday night.
Maro Joković and Sandro Sukno scored three goals a piece, whilst Luka Lončar, Andro Bušlje, and Ante Vukičević all got braces in the victory for Croatia.
“When you have faith, and I had it, then it is a lot easier. The day arrived when we finally beat them (first time in 7 years). After the match in Rio, we knew we had to defend Mandić and Filipović. Serbia are a fantastic side, but we defended excellently,” said Croatia’s coach Ivica Tucak, before adding.
“We came here for gold. I have had enough of silver, believe me! Hungary is an excellent team and the hosts, but there will be pressure on them and not on us,” he concluded.
Croatia will now meet hosts Hungary in the final on Saturday evening (20:30) after they were too good for Greece in the other semifinal, winning 7:5.
CROATIA – SERBIA 12-11 (1-1, 4-4, 4-4, 3-2)
CROATIA: Bijač, Marcelić; Macan, Fatović, Lončar 2, Joković 3 (2), Buljubašić, Vukičević 2, Bušlje 2, Sukno 3, Krapić, Šetka, Garcia
SERBIA: G. Pjetlović, B. Mitrović; Mandić 1, Rašović, Ranđelović 1, Ćuk, D. Pjetlović 2, Ubović, Aleksić, Jakšić, Filipović, Prlainović 6, S. Mitrović 1
Croatia will be aiming to win their 2nd World Championship after winning in 2007 in Australia.