World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Tops Japan for Spot in Semis

Daniela Rogulj

June 21, 2019 – The Croatia water polo team and Japan met on Friday for the quarterfinal of the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

Croatia continued their fight for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics next year against Japan in the quarterfinal of the World League Super Final in Belgrade, Serbia. In the group stage of the tournament, Croatia defeated Kazakhstan and Australia and lost by a goal to Serbia. Croatia thus secured second place in Group B. 

Croatia kicked off the quarterfinal match with a goal by Maro Jaković a minute into the first quarter, which was followed by another from Andro Bušlje for 0:2 Croatia. Japan came back with a goal by Inaba with less than 5 minutes to go in the first and equalized with just over three minutes to go. Japan even took the lead a minute later for 3:2,  but Bušlje and Fatović put Croatia back ahead for 3:4 at the end of the first quarter. 

Fatović opened the second quarter for Croatia with a goal, which was followed by another for 3:6 with just under six minutes to go in the second. Japan came back with one for 4:6 30 seconds later, and Krapić increased Croatia’s lead to 4:7. A goal by Vukičević made the game 4:8, and while Japan came back for 6:8 with a minute and a half to go before halftime, Šetka and Miloš pushed the result to 6:10 at the half. 

Croatia continued dominating in the third quarter – Fatović scored for 6:11, and by the middle of the quarter, Croatia was leading by six goals (8:14). The third quarter ended at 8:15 for Croatia. 

Croatia won the sprint at the start of the fourth quarter and increased their lead thanks to a goal by Krapić for 8:16 a minute in. Japan came back with two goals to decrease Croatia’s lead to 10:16, but Buljubašić scored for 10:17. It was 11:17 with four minutes to go, but Joković put Croatia back up to 11:18 seconds later. 

With two minutes to go, Croatia led 12:20, and the game ended an incredible 13:20 for Croatia. 

In the semifinal, Croatia will play the winner of Spain v. Kazakhstan. 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page


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