After abandoning the lead in the second half of the first match, the Australian men’s water polo side did not make the same mistake against Croatia, claiming a huge scalp.
The Australian men’s water polo team has cleared the tournament turmoil by beating Croatia, the third largest in the world.
The shark returned powerfully after taking a one-goal lead in the final quarter to win 11-8.
It was a Sharks team that looked very different from the opening game, which gave up Montenegro’s lead in the second half of the third quarter and couldn’t turn back.
But for Croatia, sharks were clinical. They took a one-goal lead in the final quarter and sealed the match with three unanswered goals within three minutes.
“In the first match, we played really well in the first two quarters, but then we couldn’t cope with Montenegro’s aggression,” said Elvis Fatovich.
“But today, the boys really stepped up from start to finish. It was an honor to be on the bench and see them.”
The shark made a tough draw in Tokyo, which is full of European powers, including current Olympic champion Serbia. Captain Aaron Younger said this historic victory was just the first step.
“There was some jitter in the first match and I think the boys were able to push four quarters against Croatia,” Younger said.
“This is a great boost to our confidence and we now know that we can play against the top powers.
“I knew that I needed to win at least two times to get involved, so this is just the first step.
“The next time we play (Serbia), it will be a tough match, but if we defend as we did here, we always have another upset opportunity.”
The game has special implications for Croatian-born Fatovich, whose son Lauren made his Olympic debut for his opponents.
“For me, it was more emotional because I didn’t have the opportunity to meet each other for 18 months because of Covid’s situation. It’s very for us to meet each other after such a long period of time. It was very moving, “said Fatovich.
“We played a lot of games with each other in world champions and world leagues, but the feeling in the game was that both of us were focused on our work, and that was it.
“I’ll talk more about it after the tournament.”
Sharks will return to the pool against Serbia on Thursday at 8:50 pm.