Poreč, Croatia, November 13, 2011. Croatia joins Russia and Bulgaria for the starting field of the Olympic Qualification Tournament which is scheduled for May 2012 in Istanbul after the home girls delighted some 2’000 fans to claim the final match of the pre-qualifier in Poreč by edging the Netherlands 3:2 at the end of a real drama (15-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-25, and 15-13).
The “Oranjes” had dominated the opening set with the comfortable score of 25-15 before Croatia stormed back to take home set 2 and 3 for a provisional 2:1 lead. The Netherlands, however, found back their best game in set 4 to seal it with another massive 25-15 and the final fate of the game was to be determined by the tie-break. This was an absolute thriller, with the guests moving up 11:8 before Croatia clawed back for the 11 all. As the score stood at 13:13, Sanja Popovic aced twice to fire up the Croatian celebrations while the Dutch girls ended up in tears.
“This is a great success” commented local head coach Damir Jurko. “I always believed in our own chances to win, even as we were trailing down 8:11 in the tie-break. And now we have to prepare as good as we can for the next qualification round in Istanbul” he concluded.
Croatia books last ticket for Istanbul at the end of real drama
2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification