Game 47 (M), 16:00, HUNGARY 11 CROATIA 12
Classification 3rd & 4th
Quarters: 2-5, 2-3, 5-3, 2-1
Referees: Sergio BORRELL (ESP), Georgios STAVRIDIS (GRE)
Extra Man: HUN: 7/13. CRO: 3/8
Pens: HUN: 1/1. CRO: 2/2
HUNGARY: Viktor NAGY, Miklos GOR NAGY, Norbert MADARAS (1), Denes VARGAR (3), Marton SZIVOS, Norbert HOSNYANSZKY (1), Gergely KISS (1), Zsolt VARGA, Daniel VARGA, Peter BIROS (3), Adam STEINMETZ (1), Balazs HARAI (1), Zoltan SZECSI. Head
Coach: Denes KEMENY.
CROATIA: Josip PAVIC, Damir BURIC (1), Miho BOSKOVIC (4), Niksa DOBUD (1), Maro JOKOVIC (1), Petar MUSLIM, Frano KARAC, Andro BUSLJE (1), Sandro SUKNO (1), Samir BARAC. Fran PASKVALIN, Paulo OBRADOVIC, Ivan BULJUBASIC (3). Coach: Ratko RUDIC.
Croatia saw to it that Hungary finished outside the medals less than a year out from defending the title that it owns outright this century — Olympic gold. You can never under-estimate a Hungarian team down. The biggest shock was that by halftime Hungary was four goals in arrears of a determined and forceful Croatian opponent. This engrossing bronze final provided plenty of action and a bucket load of quality goals. But the match went Croatia’s way, despite Hungary returning to nearly force extra time. It was not to be as Croatia held strong in the water. However, out of it, BUSILJE incurred the wrath, and red card, of the referee. BOSKOVIC, one of the stars of this tournament and four-goal hero tonight, followed suit when he decided to join the “chat”. It gave Hungary heart 51 seconds from time but no goal. Croatia failed to work out the wasting-ball situation after taking a timeout at 0:19. The rule has been re-interpreted late in the tournament where goalkeepers are now not allowed to hang on to the ball. The charge up field saw the ball lost and Hungary played the ball into centre forward but the pass was wayward and Croatia had claimed back-to-back bronze medals and a third consecutive podium finish. When you look at the medal cabinet of Hungary it is vast. Hungary has won the championship twice, finished with the silver medal six times and lifted one bronze. Croatia won the title in 2007 and bronze in 2009 but shared in the glory days of Yugoslavia before leaving the union. Yugoslavia won two gold, one silver and three bronzes. The real damage in the match was the first five minutes or so when Croatia fired to a three-goal lead. It became four just after the quarter and stayed that until halftime. A three-goal charge by Hungary late in the third period turned the game from 6-11 to 9-11, setting up a fine last quarter. Halfway through the period, BULJABASIC made it 9-12 and Denes VARGA scored on extra at 2:59. BIROS poured burning oil on the water when he smashed in a shot on extra at 1:40. Then the fireworks started. Finally, Hungary was left to ponder the damage and start thinking about how to construct a plan for London.