The Croatia water polo team welcomes Serbia on Tuesday, March 12 as part of the Europa Cup.
Although it does not have a competitive nature, the sixth round game of the Europa Cup, which will see the national teams of Croatia and Serbia meet in Sisak on Tuesday, March 12, will be a real sports spectacle. While a victory is not pertinent for either team, two of the world’s best water polo nations will fight for prestige and self-confidence, reports Gol.hr on March 8, 2019.
“Although both teams have already placed into the final of the European Cup, apart from pride, our victory is important because it will give us first place in the group. Thus, we will get a potentially weaker opponent in the quarterfinal of the Europa Cup final tournament, which will be held from April 5 to 7 at the Mladost pool in Zagreb,” said the director of the Croatian Water Polo Federation, Perica Bukić, at the press conference on Friday.
According to Bukić, possible opponents for Croatia in the quarterfinal could be the national team of Greece or Spain, and the winner of the match will ensure their place in the final of the World League, which will be held from June 18 to 23 in Belgrade.
Coach Ivica Tucak announced his composition for the duel against Serbia, which includes goalkeepers Marko Bijač (Pro Recco) and Ivan Marcelić (Mladost), centers Luka Lončar (Jug CO) and Josip Vrlić (Barceloneta), defenders Andro Bušlje (Olympiacos), Marko Macan (Jug CO) and Ivan Buljubašić (Mladost), Maro Joković (Jug CO), Xavi Garcia (Jug CO) and Lovre Miloš (Mladost) on the right, and on the left, Loren Fatović (Jug CO), Anđelo Šetka (Jadran) and Ante Vukičević (Marseille).
“These are the 13 players who played at the World Championships in Barcelona and they are our best players at the moment who, in the game against Serbia in Niš, led 5:2 and received an equalizing goal two seconds before the end of regulation time, after which we lost,” said Tucak, adding that the match in Sisak would surely be a sporting spectacle, since the Serbian team, which is the current Olympic and European champion, is also coming with their strongest team.
The second goalkeeper of the Croatia national team, Ivan Marcelić, believes that games between Croatia and Serbia, even when nothing is at stake, always have a note of prestige.
“I can say that in the first match in Niš we proved that we had broken the complex of playing against Serbia, but this will be a new game and I am convinced that in front of full stands in Sisak we can win,” said Marcelić.
Bukić emphasized that the game in Sisak is played on the celebration of 25 years of VK Sisak, but also Sisak’s selection as the European city of sports, and stressed that the water polo team of Croatia would perform in other cities that show interest in the development of water polo. He also announced that a friendly match with the Italian national team would be organized when the new swimming pool in Pula opens.
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