Croatia Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Teams Complete Ahead of Euros

Daniela Rogulj

January 7, 2020 – The Croatia men’s and women’s water polo coaches have released the final lists of players for the upcoming European Championship.

Croatia’s men’s and women’s water polo teams will participate in the European Championship in Budapest from January 12 to 26, 2020. Men’s coach Ivica Tucak and women’s coach Marijo Caleta announced the final list of players for this competition on Tuesday.

Ivica Tucak has selected the following players for the 34th LEN European Water Polo Championship: Marko Bijac, Ivan Marcelic, Andro Buslje, Marko Macan, Hrvoje Benic, Maro Jokovic, Javier Garcia, Lovre Milos, Ante Vukicevic, Loren Fatovic, Luka Bukic, Luka Loncar and Josip Vrlic.

Compared to last year’s World Cup in South Korea, where Croatia won the bronze, only Luka Bukic is a new face in the national team, while there is no Andelo Setka.

In addition to the coach, Mile Smodlaka (assistant), Sandro Sukno (assistant), Pero Kuterovac (fitness coach), Igor Pezelj (goalkeeping coach) and Damir Luketic (physical therapist) are also part the staff.

Women’s coach Marijo Caleta selected the following national team players for the European Championship: Dina Lordan, Petra Bukic, Emmi Miljkovic, Matea Skelin, Domina Butic, Ivana Butic, Ema Carevic, Ana Miroslavic, Mia Topic, Julija Bozan, Bruna Barisic, Alexandra Ratkovic and Natasha Trojan.

Along with Caleta, the staff also includes Alen Brakus, Mia Simunic, Kristjan Hrbic, Dunja Bracun and Kristina Delas.

The Croatia men’s team will play in Group A with Montenegro, Germany and Slovakia, and the tournament will open on January 14 (2:30 pm) against Germany. The top team in each group will go directly to the quarterfinals, and the second and third teams will make it to the round of 16.

This European Championship carries even more weight, as only the winning team will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The European teams that have already qualified to compete in Tokyo are Serbia, Italy and Spain, so advancing to the semifinals may be enough to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in the end. 

The Croatia women’s team is also in Group A with Greece, Hungary, Russia, Serbia and Slovakia. Coach Marijo Caleta will lead the team through their first game on January 12 (7:30 pm) against Hungary. The four best teams from the group will win a place in the quarterfinals.

Two years ago, Croatia finished 11th among the 12 national teams at the Euros in Barcelona. The best national team from this Championship will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, apart from Spain, as they have already qualified. 

Source: HVS

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