As expected, Croatia defeated Germany in the 2nd quarterfinal encounter of the men’s water polo championships. But the titleholder overcame big troubles with a tough opponent this match. The Croats recorded a 10:8 win and will play against Spain in the semifinals on Thursday.
18th FINA World Championships, men’s water polo tournament, Day 5, Quarterfinal 2
Croatia – Germany 10:8 (1:2, 3:1, 3:3, 3:2)
Croatia: Bijac (6 saves), Macan, Fatovic, Loncar, Jokovic 3, Benic 1, Vukicevic 2, Buslje 2, Milos, Vrlic 1, Setka 1, Garcia, Marcelic. Head coach: Tucak.
Germany: Schenkel (9 saves), Reibel, 1 Van der Bosch, J. Real 2, Preuss, Jungling, Strelezkij 1, Gielen 3, Stamm, Ma. Cuk 1, Restovic, Eidner, Goetz. Head coach: Stamm.
Extra player: Croatia 7 (4), Germany 9 (2). Penalties: Croatia 2(2), Germany 1 (1).
Germany led 2:1 after the first quarter. The Croats turned around a slim deficit to a 3.2 lead in the middle of the second period converting two extra players in two consecutive attacks.
Gielen equalized from a penalty. Croatia captain gave his team a 4:3 lead as he buried a man-up 52 seconds from the middle break.
After a 3-minute rest, Croatia dominated and quickly built a nice 7:3 cushion. Germany started climbing back. The Germans netted three straight goals. Two seconds before the last break, they came very close (6:7).
Just 16 seconds after the start of the 4th quarter, Germany equalized (Mateo Cuk for 7:7). In the next possession, Maro Jokovic put the Croats in front again (8:7). A minute later, he added one more goal (his 3rd today) for 9:7. The Germans didn’t surrender, Real found the net for 8:9 (05:06 remaining on the clock). The Croats secured a win three and a half minutes from the end. Josip Vrlic managed to score when his team was 6 on 5, for the final score 10:8. There were a few misses and posts on both sides in the remaining time, but the Croats kept the advantage.
Croatia continued the hunt for its 7th medal at the World Championships, while the Germans could be satisfied as they secured the spot among top 8 teams for the first time since 2011.
Quarterfinals (July 23)
Serbia – Spain 9:12
Croatia – Germany 10:8
Hungary – Australia
Italy – Greece
Morning sesion USA and Montenegro to play for the 9th place