World Championships: Croatia Water Polo Tops USA, Secures Quarter-final

Daniela Rogulj

In the second game of Group B of the FINA World Championships, the Croatia water polo team topped the United States 17:7 (4:1, 5:3, 4:2, 4:1), thus securing first place in the group and direct placement in the quarter-final, reports HRT on July 17, 2019.

This is the second win at the World Championships for Ivica Tucak’s squad after defeating the Australia national team in the first round (14:4). After overcoming the US early this morning, Croatia has thus secured a spot among the top eight national teams before the last match of the group stage, which will be played on Friday, July 19 at 1:30 pm Central European Time, which can also be watched on HRT 2 in Croatia. 

Croatia is looking to defend their World Championship title in South Korea this summer after winning the tournament two years ago in Budapest. Croatia is also fighting to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The most effective for Croatia was Maro Joković, Josip Vrlić and Ante Vukičević, who each scored three goals, while Andro Bušlje, Luka Lončar, and Hrvoje Benić scored two. Croatia’s goalkeepers were brilliant – Marko Bijač collected 11 saves and Ivan Marcelić five.

In the first game of Group B, Australia overcame Kazakhstan 17:8. Thus,  the match between Australia and the US on Friday will decide who wins second place in Group B.

The first team in each of the four groups will directly place in the quarter-final, and the second and third teams from each group will play for a spot among the top eight.

The crossover matches are scheduled on July 21 and the quarter-final games on July 23. Only the two teams that play in the final will secure the Olympic Games next year, and if one of them is Serbia, who already qualified for the Olympics by winning the World League, then the third-placed team from World Championships will travel to Tokyo.

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