21:59 / 01.07.2022.

Author: Katja Miličić

Water polo: Croatia loses to Spain; sets up bronze medal match against Greece

Spain v. Croatia

Spain v. Croatia

Foto: Luka Stanzl / PIXSELL

Croatia will play Greece on Sunday for a chance to win the bronze medal at the FINA Water Polo World Championships in Budapest after losing to Spain 5:10 in the semifinals on Friday evening.

Spain was in the lead twice early in the game, however Marko Žuvela and Luka Bukić scored the equalizers making it 1:1 and 2:2. At the end of the first quarter, Konstantin Kharkov scored to give Croatia a 3:2 lead but it would be the only time Croatia would have the advantage in the entire semifinal game.

Croatia started to struggle on offense in the second quarter. Spain’s strong defense and goalkeeper Unai Aguirre caused some major problems for coach Ivica Tucak and his team, repelling all of their attempts.

Alvar Granados Ortega scored in the second quarter to make it 5:3 for Spain. However, it was Bernat Sanahuja who scored twice in the third quarter to put Spain three goals ahead.

Croatian goalkeepers Toni Popadić and Marko Bijač were more than competent as was Croatia’s defense but their offense was severely lacking. Andrja Bašić did manage to reduce Spain’s lead late in the third quarter to 5:7, giving the team some hope. However, Spain was just too strong, scoring three goals in the final quarter as Croatia continued to struggle in every attempt to score.

Italy and Spain will play in the final on Sunday at 8 pm. Croatia will play Greece at 2:30 pm for a chance to win the bronze medal.

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