The recent friendly game against the USA served as the final opportunity for the candidates for the Croatian national team to secure their places in a 15-player roster for the upcoming World Championships in Fukuoka.
Sixteen players traveled to California for preparations. Centre-forward Antonio Duzevic did not make the cut and won’t play in Japan.
Head coach Ivica Tucak announced the roster today. He decided to bring two center-forwards to Japan – captain Ivan Krapic (34) and Josip Vrlic (37), who are the most experienced and the oldest players on the team.
Total Waterpolo has already written that three European champions from Split (Loren Fatovic, Ivan Domagoj Zovic, and Matijas Biljaka) are absent. The team welcomed back Ante Vukicevic (who missed the Europeans due to injury) and added Marino Cagalj and Zvonimir Butic to the roster.
Croatia’s team for the World Championships
Goalkeepers: Marko Bijac (Olympiacos), Toni Popadic (Jug AO).
Field players – Center-forwards: Ivan Krapic (Noisy-le-Sec), Josip Vrlic (Jadran), Defenders: Rino Buric, Marko Zuvela ( both Jug AO Dubrovnik), Marino Cagalj (Jadran Split), Andrija Basic (Waspo 98 Hannover), Attackers: Konstantin Kharkov (Jadran S), Luka Bukic (Jadran S), Ante Vukicevic (Marseille), Franko Lazic (Jug), Zvonimir Butic (Jadran S), Filip Krzic, (Jug AO), Jerko Marinic Kragic (Jadran).
Croatia is in Group C at the Worlds in Fukuoka, with Hungary, host Japan and Argentina. The derby against Hungary will be played on July 19. The Croats will open the tournament with a clash with Argentina (July 17). They will meet Japan in the 3rd round (July 21).
The group winner goes to the quarterfinals, and the 2nd-placed and 3rd-placed will face 3rd-placed and 2nd-placed, respectively, from Group D (Spain; Serbia, Montenegro, South Africa).
For more news and the schedule about the upcoming Worlds, visit Total Waterpolo’s 2023 World Championships page.