BELGRADE – After losing to Italy in the semi-finals of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Serbia got their revenge on Thursday by easing past the Italians 10-8 (3-0, 3-2, 1-0, 3-6) to reach the final of the Rio 2016 men’s water polo competition against Croatia.
The world and European champions may have scraped through the group phase but since the tournament switched venues from Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre to the Olympic Aquatics Stadium they have been back to their formidable best.
Croatia will contest their second successive Olympic final after beating Montenegro 12-8 (4-3, 3-2, 1-1, 4-2) in the semi-finals of the men’s water polo competition on Thursday.
Serbia will start Saturday’s final against Croatia as favourites as they have dominated the international water polo scene since finishing third at London 2012, winning six of the seven major events staged.
As well as triumphing at the 2015 world championships (beating Croatia 11-4 in the final), the Serbians have won four consecutive world league titles (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016) and one World Cup (2014).
They have also been crowned European champions twice (2014 and 2016) and the only medal missing from their collection is the one they aim to win on Saturday: Olympic gold.