Game 37 (M): 16:40, CROATIA 9 MONTENEGRO 6
Group 1-8 Quarter-final
Quarters: 2-2, 2-1, 4-0, 1-3
Referees: Erhan TULGA (TUR), Georgios STAVRIDIS (GRE)
Extra Man: CRO:2/10. MNE: 4/11
Pens: CRO: 1/1
CROATIA: Josip PAVIC, Damir BURIC, Miho BOSKOVIC, Niksa DOBUD, Maro JOKOVIC (4), Petar MUSLIM (1), Frano KARAC, Andro BUSLJE, Sandro SUKNO (1), Samir BARAC. Fran PASKVALIN, Paulo OBRADOVIC (2), Ivan BULJUBASIC (1). Coach: Ratko RUDIC.
MONTENEGRO: Denis SEFIK, Drasko BRGULJAN, Aleksandar RADOVIC (2), Damjan DANILOVIC (1), Nikola VUKCEVIC, Milan TICIC (1), Filip KLIKOVAC, Nikola JANOVIC, Aleksandar IVOVIC, Darko BRGULJAN, Antonio PETROVIC (1), Predrag JOKIC (1), Milos SCEPANOVIC. Coach: Petar POROBIC.
A second tournament brutality foul marred what was a spectacular match between two of the world powerhouses of the game. BUSILJE was unlucky to be on the end of an elbow from TICIC during the final-minute timeout taken by Montenegro 14 seconds from time. TICIC was allegedly releasing his arm from a hold and when it jumped free the elbow apparently smashed into the right side of BUSILJE's head, cutting it open and sending blood cascading down his face. There were long delays as the situation was sorted, TICIC was sent from the pool in disgrace and the game restarted without a penalty as it happened in time out. Montenegro held on to the ball and failed to make any movement other than pass the ball to Croatia in a gesture of remorse. Things became heated in the mixed zone where POROBIC and RUDIC went head to head for many minutes but in the end Croatia won fair and square. Croatia opened through JOKOVIC and Montenegro quickly gained the ascendancy through a tip-in rebound by TICIC and an extra-man goal that came after double extra by RADOVIC. OBRADOVIC replied in precisely the same manner as the previous goal. JOKOVIC score twice more in these second quarter either side of RADOVIC's smart goal from six metres. He tried twice to get a foul and his Hollywood was unappreciated but on the third attempt he shot, catching Croatia unawares/. At 4-3 by halftime, Croatia was controlling the game by a thread. MUSLIM sent in a brilliant shot to the top right from six metres to open the third period. JOKIC and SUKO scored for Croatia and a 7-3 lead.
SUKNO's shot creased the head of SEFIK. IVOVIC was then red-carded from the game for a "chat with the referee" after an exclusion. BULJABASIC sent in a hopeful shot from nine metres to beat the buzzer and Croatia was 8-3 ahead. JOKIC and PETROVIC scored on extra to redress some of the balance but OBRADOVIC cooked the books with his own eight-metre missile for 9-5 at 3:14. DANILOVIC sent in the quickest shot you have seen off a cross pass at five metres but at 2:49 it was the last goal of the match. Then came that Montenegrin time-out that RUDIC said after the match "was not necessary in such a high-class game where goal differential does not matter". At least Montenegro will be able to chase a position better than ninth in Rome two years ago but a far cry from winning as Serbia and Montenegro in 2005.