Aussies STUN water polo powerhouse Croatia in Tokyo – brings them one stop closer to Olympic glory
The Australian men took a big scalp and their first win of the men’s water polo tournament at the Tokyo Olympics, upset powerhouse Croatia 11-8 in a frenetic battle.
It is Australia’s first win over the water polo powerhouse in Olympic history.
Richard Campbell and Blake Edwards scored five goals together, while goalkeeper Anthony Hrysanthos led a brilliant defensive attempt.
“He (Hrysanthos) played an absolutely incredible game, he couldn’t do better than that for your Olympic debut,” captain Aaron Younger told Channel Seven afterwards.
Australia’s men’s water polo team has caused a huge cooking nuisance against Croatia
“It was great for the boys to bounce back.
“It’s really what we needed to kickstart our campaign.
“We definitely have the toughest group here. Now we’re in the mix … we (know we) can play against these bigger teams.”
The Sharks, who lost 15-10 in their tournament opener against Montenegro, are currently second in Group B as they prepare to face reigning Olympic champions Serbia on Thursday night.
Australia, which desperately needed points given their pool of three of the top four teams from Rio 2016, shot to a 7-3 lead early in Tuesday night’s third quarter.
Richard Campbell (pictured was one of the goalscorers in Australia’s 11-8 win against medal contenders Croatia on Tuesday night)
Croatia, silver medalists at the 2016 Games after winning gold in London 2012, rallied to reduce that buffer to just 7-6 three-quarters of the time.
The third term ended with a controversial call-up that denied Edwards, who represented the Sharks at these Games along with brother Lachlan, a buzzing goal.
Officials watched footage from the final seconds before deciding that time was up for Edwards to score.
The camera captured Australian coach Elvis Fatovic competing for Croatia in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics and then serving as an assistant coach for their triumph at the London Games, where he sought clarification right at intermission.
Fatovic’s attacks were unwavering, he lifted when it mattered most, while showing impressive composure in the last quarter.
Edwards scored consecutive late goals to form an 11-7 lead with a tap less than three minutes into the game.
The Australians still have a tough game ahead of them against defending champions Serbia