Croatia Women’s Water Polo Team Qualifies for Euro 2020!

Daniela Rogulj

October 27, 2019 – Croatia will have two national teams at the European Water Polo Championships in Budapest next January! 

Namely, Croatia’s female side won their second qualifying match against Portugal in Sibenik on Saturday and thus qualified as one of the 12 women’s teams in Europe next year. The victory can be attributed to the second and third quarter of Saturday’s game, when Croatia led for the first time by 2 and 3 goals, respectively.

Portugal led from the start (0:1), though Domina Butic and Ema Carevic quickly reversed the result (2:1). Machado equalized (2:2), to which Miljkovic answered with a goal for the new lead (3:2). Portugal closed the first quarter with a goal for 3:3.

Although Croatia wasn’t particularly good at realizing their chances with a player up, Portugal was even weaker, mostly due to Croatia’s defense, headed by the goalkeeper Ratkovic.

In the second quarter with a 3:3 result, Lousa failed to realize a five-meter shot for Portugal, and from that moment, Croatia began to improve. By the end of that stretch, Domina Butic scored her second goal, and a minute before halftime, Emma Miljkovic led Croatia to a 5:3 advantage. When Ana Miroslavic scored for 6:3 before the end of the match, Croatia could already begin celebrating. Especially when Portugal’s best player, Ines Braga, earned her third personal foul four minutes before the final buzzer.

For the third consecutive European Championship and fourth time ever, Croatia will have two national teams in the tournament. 

The Croatia women’s national team coach Mario Caleta did not hide his enthusiasm for the win.

“In Sibenik, in front of our audience, we qualified for the European Championships. We got together here for the first time two months ago, and have completed this action in the most successful way possible. First of all, we had a solid defense, which brought victory, and that’s why I won’t single out any players. They are all deserving. Now the girls will take a little break before reuniting in mid-December to begin preparations for the European Championships. The group is basically ideal; we have the chance for a spot in the quarterfinal, and that will be our goal.”

In addition to the match between Croatia and Portugal, other qualifying games for the European Championships in Budapest were played on Saturday night. Germany, Israel, Slovakia, France, and Serbia also qualified for the Euros next year. 

Other results: Germany – Romania 14:11, Switzerland – Israel 10:16 (6:13), Turkey – Slovakia 9:16 (9:19), Serbia – Czech Republic 19: 8 (25: 6) and Ukraine – France 6:13 (1:20).

The results of the first matches are in parenthesis. 

The European Championships will be held in Budapest from January 12 to 26, 2020. 

Source: HVS

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