Czech Republic 16-13 Croatia
Czech Republic ensured a safe passage into the semi-finals and gained a rest day tomorrow by dispatching Croatia, who will enter the quarter-final stage, 16-13 in the LEN European Nations Trophy.
Knowing the Croatians needed to win to gain automatic qualification for the semis, the Czech Republic were eager to stamp their authority.
They sped into a 5-0 lead halfway through the first quarter thanks to two goals from top scorer Veronkia Bartunkova and one apiece from Karolina Famerova, Lucie Votavova and Barbora Krasova.
They did not let up in the first half and racked up an impressive 11 goals to the Croat’s three. Bartunkova and Votavova were fighting each other to put themselves top of the goalscoring chart, with the latter a goal ahead at half time. A slight blemish on Bartunkova’s performance was her permanent exclusion five minutes into the second half.
Croatia’s account was opened by their top scorer Anamarija Reic-Kranjac, who grabbed two late first quarter goals but Famerova made sure her side went into the first break leading 6-2.
Captain Aida Sehic scored Croatia’s only goal of the second quarter as Votavova completed a first half hat-trick.
The second half was much closer as the Croats managed to win both final periods. Emmi Miljkovic came to life in the third quarter, grabbing a hat-trick and ending the game with five, to supplement the efforts of Reic-Kranjac who scored an impressive double hat-trick.
Bartunkova, one of the Czech’s goalscoring machines, feels that the game was very physical: “It was the most difficult game we have played here. It was a tremendously physical game but that wasn’t from our side.”
Although Votavova and herself are pulling away at the top of the scoring chart, Bartunkova continued: “I love the games when we all score, almost every player in the team scores.
“None of us expect to be the best scorer of the tournament or anything like that,” she added as her side begin to prepare for the semi-finals.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty images
photo Getty Images