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Water polo - Croatia beat hosts Hungary to win men's world title
July 29, 2017 / 9:57 PM / 3 months ago

Water polo - Croatia beat hosts Hungary to win men's world title

BUDAPEST, July 29 (Reuters) - - Croatia beat hosts Hungary 8-6 to win the men’s world water polo title on Saturday, a decade after they last clinched gold in the competition.

Water Polo – 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships – Men's Water Polo awarding ceremony – Budapest, Hungary – July 29, 2017 – Marko Bijac, Marko Macan, Loren Fatovic, Luka Loncar, Maro Jokovic, Ivan Buljubasic, Ante Vukicevic, Andro Buslje, Sandro Sukno, Ivan Krapic, Andelo Setka, Javier Garcia Gadea, Ivan Marcelic of Croatia (gold) pose with medals. REUTERS/Mate Balogh

Croatia, who won all six of their matches at the tournament and overcame powerhouses Italy and defending champions Serbia en route to the final, took an early 4-0 lead and then held off a Hungary fightback to take the title.

“We showed character during these two weeks,” Croatian forward Luka Loncar told reporters. “I think our belief in victory the whole time is what made us this strong.”

Hungarian goalkeeper Viktor Nagy said their poor start proved pivotal.

“I was very upset at that first quarter,” Nagy told reporters. “It took a lot of energy to come back.”

Croatia last won the world title in 2007. After claiming gold at the 2012 London Olympics, they endured a barren spell, falling victim on numerous occasions to Serbia, who they beat for the first time in seven years in the semi-finals.

Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Toby Davis

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