January 14, 2020 – The Croatia water polo team opened their European Championship campaign against Germany in Budapest on Tuesday.
After difficult preparations, the ‘Barakudas’ opened the European Championship against Germany, the national team they last met in the World Cup in Gwangju.
“It’s important to open the tournament properly. We have a solid and strong opponent at the start, Germany is all but a harmless team,” the Croatia coach said in an interview before the game.
“Germany is a good team and it is certain that we will have to be at our maximum to win,” said Croatia goalkeeper Marko Bijac.
“We know them well, they are unpredictable, as they showed at the World Cup. We must not enter the game relaxed and easy. I expect a physically difficult match,” added Maro Jokovic.
And Croatia made sure they stuck to their word.
Germany, however, was the first to score thanks to a Maurice Juengling goal. Croatia finally equalized after almost seven minutes when Josip Vrlic scored for 1:1. Marin Restovic brought Germany back into the lead for 2:1, which is how the first quarter ended.
At the opening of the second quarter, Lovre Milos made it 2:2. Denis Strelezkij returned Germany to the lead, though Andro Buslje scored the equalizer for 3:3. Milos’ second goal finally gave Croatia the 3:4 lead and Hrvoje Benic gave Croatia a two-goal advantage (3:5). Ante Vukicevic scored for 4:6 and Luka Bukic for 4:7.
Thirty seconds into the third quarter, Croatia was up by four (4:8) thanks to Buslje’s second goal. The ‘Barakudas’ then became unstoppable, and Vukicevic scored for 4:9. Milos scores his third goal of the game for 5:11, while Loren Fatovic increased the lead to +7 (5:12). Fatovic closed the third quarter with another goal and a 5:13 advantage for Croatia.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Luka Loncar increased Croatia’s lead to 5:14, while Fatovic scored again for 6:15, and Bukic scored his third goal of the game for 7:16. Josip Vrlic made it 9:17 with one minute to go.
In the second round on January 16 (8:30 pm), Croatia will play against Montenegro. In the final match of Group A on January 18 (4 pm), Croatia will play against Slovakia.
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