FINA World Championships: Croatia Beats Japan 21:13, Takes 2nd in Group B

Daniela Rogulj

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Ivica Tucak’s team faced Japan in their final Group B match on Saturday evening. Greece and Germany will meet in the second match at 19:30. Before this game, Greece and Croatia had three points each at the top of the group, in which only the winner goes directly to the quarterfinals. Japan had two points and Germany was without points.

Croatia was able to secure first place in the group if they won by 12 goals or 11 if they scored more than 18 goals. Namely, their competitor for first place, Greece, defeated Japan 18:7 and set the bar high for the Barracudas. Croatia would finish 2nd if they beat Japan with less than 12 goals or a draw.

Match report

1st quarter

Croatia won the sprint and thus had the first attack of the match which did not result in a goal. Vukicevic scored Croatia’s first goal for 1:0 with 6:27 on the clock and Vrlic made it 2:0 with 5:44 left. Japan scored their first goal 20 seconds later for 1:2. Japan scored a penalty with 4:50 left to equalize at 2:2. Japan led 3:2 with 2:55 left. Buric scored brilliantly for 3:3 with 2:35 on the clock. Buric scored again for 4:3 Croatia with 23 seconds to go in the first quarter. 

2nd quarter

Croatia won the sprint and first attack in the second quarter as well, but Japan was first to score. It was 4:4 with 7:18 on the clock. Japan took the lead at 5:4 with 6:47 to go but Croatia soon equalized for 5:5. Japan retook the lead at 6:5 with 5:01 left, and it was 7:5 for Japan with 4:36 left. Kharkov scored for 7:6.  Kharkov equalized for 7:7 with 3:28 to go until halftime. Japan retook the lead for 8:7 with 3:03 left. And it was 9:7 for Japan with 2:22 to go. Japan led 9:7 going into halftime. 

3rd quarter

Fatovic scored for 9:8 with 6:57 to go. Japan went to 10:8 in the next attack. Fatovic scored for 10:9 with 6:11 left. Kharkov scored a penalty to equalize at 10:10 with 5:22 left. Krapic finally put Croatia back in the lead for 11:10 with 4:02 left. Krapic put Croatia ahead by 2 goals with 2:46 left. Popadic saved a Japan penalty 20 seconds later. Fatovic scored for 13:11 with 55 seconds left. Bukic scored for 14:11 to end the third quarter with Croatia up by 3 goals. 

4th quarter

Japan was the first to score for -2 (12:14), but Vukicevic quickly put Croatia back to +3 (15:12). Krapic scored for 16:12 with 4:45 left in the match. Kharkov made it 17:12 for Croatia with 4:00 minutes to go. Krapic scored yet again for 18:12 Croatia with just under 3 minutes to go, and again for 19:12 with 2:15 on the clock. It was 20:12 for Croatia with one minute left. Kharkov scored for 21:12 with less than 30 seconds left. The match ended at 21:13 for Croatia. 

Croatia thus finishes 2nd in Group B, meaning they will need to play in the round of 16. Croatia will play next on Monday for a spot in the quarterfinals. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section


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