World League Super Final: Croatia Water Polo Tops Australia (11:9)

Daniela Rogulj

June 20, 2019 – The Croatia water polo team and Australia met on Thursday at 3 pm to play for the second place of Group B at the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

After Croatia crushed Kazakhstan in the first round and lost to Serbia by a goal the night before, Thursday’s meeting between Croatia and Australia would decide who would finish second in Group B of the World League Super Final in Belgrade. 

Not only do Croatia and Australia have a Croatian connection – recall, the Australia coach is Elvis Fatović, whose son Loren Fatović plays for Croatia, but the two teams are no strangers in the pool. You might remember that Australia knocked out Croatia in the quarters of the World Championship in Barcelona back in 2003, which they also achieved yet again at the World Championship 10 years later. Australia even knocked Croatia out of the quarters at the World Cup in Berlin last year! 

However, Croatia wasn’t about to let Australia taste the victory in Belgrade. 

Croatia was the first to take the lead thanks to a goal by Ivan Krapić, though Australia’s Aidan Roach equalized for 1:1. Andrew Ford put Australia in the lead for 1:2, though Croatia was quick to come back after a Bušlje goal. After Hollis scored with 9 seconds to go in the first quarter, Australia was up 2:3. 

In the second quarter, Australia increased their lead to 2:4, and were even at 5:3 with 45 seconds to go in the second, though it ended 4:5 for Australia before the half. 

Croatia kicked themselves into gear in the third quarter – after Krapić equalized for 5:5, Vrlić, Benić, Vukičević, and Garcia put Croatia in the lead for 9:5. Ford and Putt brought Australia back to 9:7 – and with goals from Fatović and Lachlan Edwards, the third quarter ended 10:8 with the Croatia lead. 

We didn’t see a goal by either side in the fourth quarter until there were just over three minutes to go – Vrlić scored for 11:8 Croatia. Australia reduced Croatia’s lead to 11:9 thanks to a goal by Blake Edwards with less than three minutes to go. Neither team managed to score for the remainder of the quarter, and the game finished 11:9 for Croatia!

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