Bronze medal from the men’s tournament at the World Championships in Gwangju goes to Croatia. The Croats defeated Hungary in the match for the 3rd place – 10:7.
Two years ago, these two teams met in the final at the 17th World Championships in Budapest. Croatia celebrated an 8:6 win. Today’s match was the second encounter between Croatia and Hungary this year. In April, Hungary defeated Croatia in the final of the LEN Europa Cup in Zagreb (10:8). The Croats took revenge for a defeat on their field.
Croatia – Hungary 10:7 (2:1, 2:2, 2:2, 4:2)
Croatia: Bijac (11 saves), Macan, Fatovic, Loncar 1, Jokovic 6, Benic 1, Vukicevic, Buslje, Milos 1, Vrlic, Setka, Garcia 1, Marcelic. Head coach: Tucak.
Hungary: Nagy (11 saves), Angyal 1, Manhercz 2, Zalanki 1, Vamos 1, Mezei, Sedlmayer, Jansik, Pohl, Varga, Batori, Harai 2, Vogel. Head coach: Marcz.
Extra player: Croatia 12 (6), Hungary 17 (6). Penalties: Croatia 2 (2), Hungary 1 (1).
Outgoing champion Croatia didn’t reach the final this time, but it continued its long row of medals. This was 7th consecutive medal at the World Championships for the Croats and for their captain Andro Buslje, who was a part of all Croatian teams which climbed the podium.
Hungary scored first (Harai), but the Croats went ahead before the first break (Loncar and Jokovic). All three goals were scored in man-up situations.
Croatia maintained a minimal advantage in the next 8 minutes. Hungary leveled twice (2:2, 3:3). Lovre Milos put the Croats in front in the 14th minute. It was the first goal from an action shot in the match. Previous six were scored with an extra player or from a penalty (Hungary’s equalizer for 3:3 came from a penalty shot)
The big battle, with a lot of exclusions, was continued after a big break. There were a lot of nice chances for scoring. But, both teams were playing strongly in defense, both goalkeepers Bijac and Nagy were outstanding today.
Croatia doubled its advantage in the 17th minute, after Jokovic’s third goal scored, from a penalty shot.
But, Hungary responded immediately, as Angyal found the net from a rebound in the next possession. A minute and a half before the end the Croats gained a new 2-goal lead (6:4). Setka’s goal, which was confirmed after the VAR check. Manhercz beat the siren and closed the third quarter with a goal for 5:6, just a second before the last break.
Early in the last period, Maro Jokovic, the man of the match, netted his 4th goal today, by converting a man-up from distance to take Croatia to a 7:5 lead.
Soon after that, Jokovic scored his 5th goal, from a penalty and Croatia built a nice 3-goal advantage 8:5 ( with 4:47 before the end) . It seemed that they were close to a medal. But, Hungary had an answer once more. The Hungarians scored two goals in a span of 59 seconds and came very close (7:8), three and a half minutes from the end.
Maro Jokovic replied to double his team’s advantage to 9:7 (he had a perfect efficiency of the shot – 6 of 6). Hrvoje Benic scored a magnificent goal from the distance and the Croats gained a 10:7 lead. Remaining 117 seconds were not enough for the Hungarians to do a miracle.
This was 7th medal for Croatia which won 2 gold (2007, 2017), 1 silver (2015), and 4 bronze medals (2009, 2011, 2013, 2019). Hungary has 3 gold medals (1973,2003, 2013), 7 silver(1975, 1978, 1982, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2017) and 1 bronze medal (1991).
9 United States
12 South Africa
15 South Korea
16 New Zealand