20 June 2019 – The Croatian water polo team has beaten Australia 11:9 (2:3, 2:2, 6:3, 1:1) to secure a quarterfinal spot at the 2019 World League in Belgrade after securing second place in their group.
In today’s match, Josip Vrlić led the way with three goals, whilst Krapića and Joković scored two each and Fatović, Vukičević, Bušlje and Garcia one a piece. Maro Joković was named man of the match.
Croatia will face the winner of the Hungary and Japan match for a place in the semifinals.
“It was an expected tough match, given the circumstances or this difficult rhythm of playing matches everyday. It was important to win this game, although a lot of things didn’t function in our play, but no matter how tired we were, I wanted us to give as much as we could. There will be plenty of lessons from this game, but maybe better that this game has come now. But we have to be realistic, playing two games in the period of 15 hours is not humane. Therefore, congratulations to the players who found strength when it was most needed to play as they should, coach Ivica Tucak said.
“We did not start the game properly, the first two quarters we were quite sluggish and slow in our movement and plans. In the third quarter, as soon as we speeded up the rhythm and raised the level in defence, things started to go into place and we routinely completed the match,” said Ivan Krapić.
“We have come here to secure our visa for Tokyo (Olympics). Japan is a very tough side and we will have to prepare well for them if they are our next opponents,” the coach concluded.