Croatian national water polo team clinched a spot at the FINA World League Superfinal tournament after a convincing win at home against Netherlands – 17:7 in the last, Round 6 of European preliminaries.
The guests made a surprising start the Sibenik swimming pool and scored the first goal in the match. Sam van Den Burg found the net. But it seemed this just angered Croatian players who answered with three goals before the end of the first period. The guest put up some resistance in the second quarter too, but that was it.
When the second half started, Croatia was all over the swimming pool. It was a pure water polo dominance of the hosts. At the end of the third period Croatia was leading 11-4 and minute and a half before this game final whistle they got a gigantic 10 goal difference. Andjelo Setka was Croatia’s best scorer with three goals.
Croatia finished Preliminaries leveled with Greece at the top spot in the Group B. But Croats qualified for the Superfinal, because of the better goal difference in head to head matches with Greeks.
And tonight Greece won away against France in Nancy 10-4. The hosts started better and took a 2-1 lead but, Greece answered with four straight goals and didn’t loose control of the game until the end.
SERBIA’S TRIUMPHANT COMEBACK TO BECEJ
Defending champion Serbia beat Slovakia 11-2 in Becej. Last time Serbia played at Becej swimming pool, some of the current Serbian players didn’t even start going to the kindergarten. But, nevertheless, coach Dejan Savic obviously chose some good young guns for a match against Slovakia.
Serbian water polo players demonstrated excellent skills both offensively and defensively. This was a completely different match compared to the one these rivals played in Slovakia when Serbia won after a penalty shoot-out.
Tonight there was no dilemma in Becej, and that it is an understatement if you consider the fact that Serbia let only two goals through the whole game. The hosts had two great goalkeepers tonight, Risticevic and Dobozanov who played in his hometown. Serbia had a five goal lead (6-1) already at the half-time and it was a matter of routine in the second half. Gavril Subotic led the winning team with three goals.
AZZURRI SURVIVED THE DRAMA IN GEORGIA
Italian water polo team, who like Serbia, clinched a place at Superfinal earlier through the competition, won away at Georgia – 13:12. But it was not easy at all for the Azzurri. It all came down to last eight minutes when Italians showed some real quality.
And the match winner was Francesco di Fulvio who converted a penalty shot 24 seconds before the end of the game. On the other side, Georgians didn’t have any imperative in this match because they lost all chances for a place in the final tournament.
In the last game of the day, Romania beat Germany 9-7 in the Group A.
European Preliminaries, Round 6
Tuesday, April 11
Serbia – Slovakia 11-2 (3-0, 3-1, 2-1, 3-0)
Serbia: Subotic 3, Drasovic 2, Toholj 2, Lazic, Tomic, S. Rasovic, V. Rasovic, Stojanovic
Slovakia: Tkac, Vidumanski
Romania – Germany 9-7 (2-2, 3-1, 1-1, 3-3)
1. Serbia 6 games – 17 points
2. Romania 6 – 8
3. Slovakia 6 – 5
4. Germany 6 – 4
Croatia – Netherlands 17-7 (3-1, 2-1, 6-2, 6-3)
Croatia: Setka 3, Vukicevic 2, Zovic 2, Basic 2, Petkovic 2, Loncar 2, Jokovic 2, Buljubasic, Fatovic
Netherlands: Lindhout 2, Muller 2, Van den Burg, Winkelhorst, Janssen
France – Greece 4-10 (2-1, 0-4, 1-2, 1-3)
1. Croatia 6 – 15
2. Greece 6 – 15
3. Netherlands 6 – 6
4. France 6 – 0
Georgia – Italy 12-13 (2-2, 4-4, 4-4, 2-3)
Georgia:Rurua 3, Jelaca 3, Bitadze 2, Baghaturia 2, Tserepulia 2
Italy: Manzi 4, Iodice 2, Di Fulvio 2, Fondelli 2, Alesiani, Velotto, Bruni
1.Italy 4 – 12
2.Russia 4 – 6
3.Georgia 4 – 0