Hungary’s men’s national water polo team defeated Croatia with a stunning 15-11 victory, qualifying for Tokyo 2020’s semi-finals. They are set to face off against Greece on Friday, but already their success is being commended, as Hungary has not made it into the top four since 2008.
Things are looking good for Hungary in Olympic water polo. Not only did the women’s team defeat the Netherlands yesterday, but today the men’s team defeated Croatia, qualifying for the semi-finals.
The weight of the match can not only be measured in the investments Central Eastern Europeans are known to put into the sport, but by the fact that Croatia has a menacing track record, winning silver in Rio and gold at the London Olympics.
Dénes Varga celebrates in the quarter-finals match. (Photo: Tamás Kovács)
Team Hungary had quite a difficult start in Tokyo, but this match brought their preparations to fruition. The defense was solid and goalkeeper Viktor Nagy protected the net from countless throws from the Croatian side. Everyone performed their role exceptionally, and it is difficult to forget Krisztián Manhercz scoring seven of the 15 goals.
Croatia played very well, but as long as Nagy swam between the posts of the net their chances of catching up to the Hungarians were slim. When the timer ran out, Hungary had won with a four point lead, making it into the top four at the Olympics for the first time since 2008.
The defense by goalkeeper Viktor Nagy was a highlight of the match. (Photo: Tamás Kovács)
Looking forward, Hungary will face off against Greece on Friday, a team against which they had lost in the group stage. Given their current performance and the knowledge that they are once again climbing to the very top, however, a lack of determination will not be an issue.
Mátyás Pásztor, Norbert Hosnyánszky, Balázs Erdélyi, and Szilárd Jansik (from left to right) celebrate after winning their quarter-finals match against Croatia. (Photo: Tamás Kovács)
In the featured photo, Viktor Nagy, goalkeeper of the Hungarian national water polo team, defends in their quarter-finals match against Croatia at the Tokyo Olympics. Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI