Italy and former winners Spain showed their stellar performances to reach the men’s water polo final at World Aquatics Championships and qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Italy Secured a fourth FINA World Championships by beating Spain 10-5. Fans from all over the world can buy Olympic Water Polo Tickets online.
The opening day was right away the most vital one at the FINA/LEN World League Europa Cup as for 4 teams the beneficial part of the journey ended right here in the famous Mladost pool. The losers in the quarter-final couldn’t make an impression on the first Olympic berth on offer – only the winners kept the chance to fight on for a place in the Tokyo tournament.
Spain who won their last title in 2001 face 2011 champions Italy when Croatia play Hungary for third place. Spanish goalkeeper Dani Lopez made a string of excellent saves while his team found opening in Croatia’s armor to carve out a halftime lead.
Attacks by Blai Mallarach and Alvaro Granados gave Spain a 4-goal lead at the end of the 3rd period and a late Croatia fightback fell short as they ran out of time. Maro Jokovic, the game’s highest score gainer with 3 goals cut the deficit with 14 seconds left but Spain held on to the dismay of Croatia captain Andro Buslje.
“It was our worst performance of the tournament as we were totally bereft of ideas in attack, we missed a great chance to book our Olympic berth now but we’ll have another chance in the qualifiers. We have to focus on the bronze medal match now and finish on the podium if we can.”
Hungary, who have 3 world and 9 Olympic titles seemed to be cruising after turning all of their extra-man shots in the 1st interval to surge into the lead. But the Italians twisted the competition around in the second as Francesco Di Fulvio and Argentine-born Gonzalo Echenique obtained an advantage at halftime.
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