World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Crushes Kazakhstan in 1st Round

Daniela Rogulj

The Croatia water polo team convincingly defeated Kazakhstan 20-4 (5-2, 6-0, 3-0, 6-2) in the first round of the FINA World League Super Final in Belgrade. The champion of the tournament secures a spot at the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, reports T.potal on June 18, 2019. 

Ante Vukičević scored four goals to be the most efficient player of the Croatia national team, while Andrija Bašić scored three goals. Hrvoje Benić two, Ivan Buljubašić, Anđelo Šetka, Lovro Miloš, and Loren Fatović each scored two goals, while by Luka Lončar, Maro Joković and Andro Bušlje scored one. Besides the Croatian goalkeepers, only Ivan Krapić did not score for Croatia.

Miras Aubakirov scored twice for Kazakhstan, while Medvedev and Shmider each scored one. 

In the second meeting of Group B, Serbia and Australia will play at 21:00, while in Group A, Hungary – Canada (15:45) and Japan – Spain (19:15) will meet. All the teams will play in the quarterfinals of this tournament.

The Croatia water polo team will play their second match of the tournament on Wednesday (21:00) against the host, Serbia, while Ivica Tucak & Co. will face Australia on Thursday (15:00) in the final round of Group B.

Last year’s winner, Montenegro, did not make it to the final tournament this year. Hungary, who won the silver last year, came to Belgrade with their B team as they await the main spectacle this summer – the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. 

Serbia, the host of the tournament, has a total of 10 medals from this competition, 9 of which are gold. However, last year in Budapest, they were left without a medal. 

Spain won the bronze last year and came with their strongest squad to Belgrade. They also won the silver at the European Championship last year in Barcelona and won the bronze in Zagreb this year at the Europa Cup.

The Croatian ‘Barakudas’ won their last World League medal two years ago in Russia where they secured the bronze.

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