Croatia Water Polo Learns Opponents for Final Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Daniela Rogulj

February 12, 2020 – Croatia water polo will have their last chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics next month. reports that the Croatia water polo team will have one final chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics this summer in a qualifying tournament to be held in Rotterdam from March 22 to 29, 2020. Croatia will test their strength in a group against Germany, Russia and the Netherlands.

At the draw held at FINA’s headquarters in Lausanne on Tuesday, Croatia was placed in Group B, with teams from the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Argentina, and the second Asian representative, while Georgia, Canada, Brazil, Montenegro, Greece, and the first Asian representative are in Group A.

At the Olympic qualifying tournament, after the group stage, the top four teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals (1A – 4B, 1B – 4A, 2A- 3B, 2B – 3A). The winners of the quarterfinal matches will play in the semifinals, and the three first-ranked teams will qualify for the Olympic tournament, which will be held in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9.

The tournament favorites are three European teams – Montenegro, Croatia, and Greece.

“It would certainly be better for us if we got Greece or Montenegro in the group, because now in the semifinal we will certainly have an extremely tough rival, as it will be one of those two teams. But we know our way. We have to be the best and finish this story,” said Croatia national team coach Ivica Tucak who watched the draw from Varazdin, where Croatia played the 3rd round of the World League against the tournament hosts and rivals in the Olympic qualifying group, the Netherlands. Croatian topped the Netherlands 16-7 (5-3, 2-2, 4-1, 5-1) in Varazdin and advanced to the quarterfinals. With this expected win, Croatia finished second in the group behind Serbia and will play in the quarterfinal against the winners of Group D, Montenegro or Spain, who play later.

Maro Jokovic was the best for Croatia with six goals. Luka Bukic and Rino Buric scored two goals each, as did Milos Filipovic and Jesse Koopman for the Netherlands.

Croatian coach Ivica Tucak said that there was a considerable difference in quality. However, the fourth place from the European Championship in Budapest still weighed heavily on the player’s minds.

“Everyone missed a lot of shots. Surely this is still mental from Budapest. It’s a good thing this game has come. Let’s deal with all the ugly that has left a psychological trace. Budapest remains in the minds of the players,” Tucak said.

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


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