Will it be solid for Germany?
The 2022 World Water Polo Championships in Hungary saw its first matches in the men’s competition on Tuesday. It is already almost clear that the German team will almost certainly miss its minimum target. After the opening defeat against Japan, at least a win in the next two games is needed to advance to the last 16. On Thursday, however, the German team seems to be without a chance against Croatia.
After the first day of play, the Japanese are surprisingly at the top of the standings and at least have good prospects of a Round of 16 match against Montenegro. Behind the Asian Poseidon follow the teams from Greece and Croatia, who shared the points in the opening match. Germany is at the bottom of the table and is unlikely to get away from there.
If the German team does not manage to improve significantly on Thursday, it could be in for a rude awakening against the Barracudas. In any case, you don’t have to be a great prophet to predict a win for the Croats in the duel between Croatia and Germany. We even think it is conceivable that there will be a really bitter eve for the German men.
In any case, the betting providers tested are only giving low quotes on a victory for the Croats. Once again, it is important to have the right feeling for the size of the handicap. We tend to bet on a Croatian victory with a difference of at least five to six goals on the second day of the match between Croatia and Germany.
Croatia – Statistics & current form
The Croats are considered one of the favourites in every water polo tournament. However, after the Olympic cycle, the Barracudas are also taking the opportunity to renew their squad. Many players of the current squad are playing their first major championship. From this point of view, one should perhaps not expect the Croatian team to necessarily make it to the semifinals.
It’s the goals that count
First and foremost, the aim will be to win the group so that they do not have to return to the pool in the round of 16. To achieve this goal, it might be important to score more goals than the opponents from Greece. Therefore, we look at the odds for a bigger handicap in the duel between Croatia and Germany.
On Tuesday, the Barracudas did not start the World Cup in the best possible way. For a long time they had to swim behind a deficit against Greece. The Croats were already trailing 1:4 in the early stages, but then got better and better into the match and equalised by half-time. From then on it was a match of equals. The pendulum could have swung in either direction.
In the end, the two ambitious rivals parted with an 8:8 draw, which leaves the Croats with one win in their last four games. The result against the Greeks speaks for two strong defences. The best thrower for the Barracudas was the naturalised Russian Konstantin Kharkov, who was successful three times. A rate of 47 per cent of defended throws by keeper Marko Bijac still has room for improvement.
Predicted line-up of Croatia:
Bijac, Popadic – Buric, Fatovic, Krapic, Lazic, Bukic, Vukicevic, Zuvela, Marinic Kragic, Vrlic, Basic, Kharkov – Coach: Tucak
Germany – Statistics & current form
The German team is under extreme pressure. The round of 16 is of course still up for grabs after just one game, but there’s no need to quibble. Japan were the weakest opponent in the group phase and if they want to reach the play-offs, they have to win at least one match against Croatia and Greece in the next two matches.
New suit doesn’t fit yet
But it is more likely that the DSV men will first play Georgia or Brazil from next Monday for places 13-16. The team should already be pushed towards the European Championships, which will start at the end of August in Split, Croatia. In any case, before the second group match between Croatia and Germany, the forecast is for a high victory for the Barracudas.
The problem of the newly formed German team against the Japanese was that they completely slept through the first quarter in particular and the match did not get any easier at 1:4. At the break, the Japanese Poseidon were then 8:4 ahead. Basically, Petar Porobic’s team only really woke up in the last quarter, when they took a 5:1 lead in eight minutes.
In the end, however, Germany conceded their third defeat in a row at 11:12. Especially in the offensive, there was a lack of accuracy in the throws. In addition, there were many unnecessary ball losses. Fynn Schütze was the German team’s most successful scorer with three goals. Now we can discuss whether the injured regulars Mateo Cuk and Marco Stamm would have helped the team in the current situation.
Predicted line-up of Croatia:
Schenkel, Götz – Korbel, Rotermund, Schütze, Jüngling, Strelezkij, Küppers, Dolff, Kubisch, Schipper, Gansen – coach: Porobic
Croatia – Germany Direct Comparison / H2H-Balance
Since the World League in 2009, there have been nine direct duels between the teams from Croatia and Germany in the pool. A look at the direct comparison shows that the DSV men cannot really keep up with the Barracudas. In these last 13, the Croatian team already leads by an almost overwhelming 10:1 margin after victories.
In January 2016, the German team celebrated a 10:9 victory in a test match. After that, there were six Croatian victories in a row. At the European Championship 2020, the Croats won very clearly with 19:7. It became particularly bitter at the Olympic Games last year in Tokyo. There, the German team was outclassed and swept out of the pool with a score of 22:8.
Croatia – Germany Tip
After the draw in the opening match against Greece, it will be important for the Croats to win the next two matches against Germany and Japan at best very highly in order to take the group victory and direct qualification for the quarter-finals with them in the end. Therefore, we expect the Barracudas to be focused for four quarters against the German team.
Like Germany, the Croats have a newly formed team at the World Cup. But since Croatia has a much larger pool of top players at its disposal, that may be less of a problem for Ivica Tucak’s team.
We expect it to be a bitter day for the German team. If the Croats go full throttle against the reshaped German team, there could be a double-digit difference. The next defeat of the DSV men hardly seems to be averted and therefore we decided to play the betting odds on a handicap win (-8.5) for the Croats between Croatia and Germany.