Croatia Takes Gold at European Water Polo Championships in Split!

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

September 10, 2022 – Croatia is the new European water polo champion!!! Croatia beat Hungary in the final of the European Water Polo Championships in Split on Saturday. 

At the sold-out Spaladium Arena in Split on Saturday, Ivica Tucak and his Croatia team sought their second gold medal in their fourth final at the European Championships. The ‘Barakudas’ won their only European title in 2010 in Zagreb when the team was led by Ratko Rudić.

“What we will have to do perfectly if we want to win, and we clearly want to, will be an aggressive defensive block. At the cost of, I don’t know how many exclusions, I don’t want us to leave them bombarding Marko Bijač without interruption from five or six meters away. Hungary’s strongest weapon is shooting, they have perfect shooters, and they are not shooters, they are bombers. We have to prevent that,” said coach Tucak before the match. 

Recall, that Croatia beat Italy in the semi-final match on Thursday after beating Georgia in the quarter-final on Tuesday. 

Croatia beat Malta and France and drew against Greece in the group stage, which was enough to win first place in Group B with seven points.

Match Report

1st Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off and the first attack of the match, which the Hungary keeper saved. Hungary shanked their first chance at goal. Croatia’s second attack at goal was blocked by the Hungary defense. Kharkov scored Croatia’s first goal for 1:0 with 5:28 left in the quarter! Hungary equalized for 1:1 with 4:59 on the clock. Hungary increased their lead to 2:1 with 4:11 left. Bijac saved Hungary’s next attack to keep them only one goal ahead. Buric nailed the back of the net for 2:2 with 3:08 left. Croatia retook the lead for 3:2 thanks to Ivan Krapic with 1:20 to go. Hungary equalized in the next attack – 3:3. The first quarter ended at 3:3. 

2nd Quarter

Hungary won the swim-off for the first attack of the second quarter, but Bukic intercepted their attack. Croatia could not find the back of the next in their first attack. Hungary hit the post in the next play, and Kharkov put Croatia back ahead for 4:3 with 4:19 left in the quarter. Bijac with the save of the match so far put the ball back in Croatia’s hands. And another two saves after that! Fatovic hit the post in Croatia’s next attack. The match went into halftime 4:3 for Croatia. 

3rd Quarter

Croatia won the swim-off for the first attack. Buric scored his second goal of the match for 5:3 Croatia! Hungary scored for 5:4. Hungary called a time-out with 7:04 to go. Croatia defended Hungary’s next attack and called for a time-out with 6:22 left. Basic lost the ball in the 5th minute and Hungary went to attack the goal again. Hungary was given a penalty with 4:30 left and scored for 5:5. Basic hit the post in the next play. Bijac saved Hungary from taking the lead. Buric was on fire tonight and scored for the Croatia lead at 6:5 with 3:10 to go in the quarter! Hungary equalized in the next play for 6:6. Kharkov nailed the back of the net with just under 2 minutes to go for 7:6! Hungary made it 7:7 with 53 seconds left. Basic made it 8:7 with 18 seconds left, which is how the match went into the final quarter. 

4th Quarter

Croatia got the first attack of the final quarter and couldn’t get a shot off. Hungary equalized for 8:8 with 6:55 left in the game. Bijac saved Hungary’s next attempt at goal and a lob went just over Croatia’s goal. Hungary’s next attempt hit the post. Fatovic’s next shot did the same. Kragic hit the side post, too. Croatia was lucky again as Hungary missed the goal in their next two attacks. A penalty was called for Croatia with 2:47 to go. Kragic scored for the Croatia lead – 9:8! A penalty was called for Hungary in the next play – Hungary hit the post! Croatia was given another penalty – Kragic scored for 10:8 with 2:07 on the clock! Bijac kept Croatia ahead with yet another save. Hungary was given a penalty with 32 seconds left and scored for 10:9. A time-out was called with 20 seconds on the clock. And Croatia won it 10:9! 

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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