Goran used this mini sheet on his letter, which portrays the Croatian water polo team, the world champions of 2007, at the tournament held in Melbourne.
The event lasted from March 19 to April 1, where Croatia had not lost a single match throughout the tournament and had beaten Hungary 9-8 in the final game.
Stipe Karadžole says "Though it may sound unfair in respect to them, but all of the sudden, just like that – quite suddenly – the words “Croatian water polo players” came upon the lips of all of us and at this moment all the adjectives modifying these four words blend into one – magnificent"
no description can demonstrate what water polo players go through in their careers; along with that, they always find themselves shadowed by the more powerful sports and spend their time in swimming pools and fitness centres. Hours, weeks, months and years of training often remain unpaid for at the competition itself. Despite all this, the Croatian water polo had never lost its status in the world framework (or better to say in European frameworks because the almost complete top can be placed within them) but the medal was like the “forbidden fruit”. Particularly the golden one. In the seventies, the water polo players stepped onto the pedestal “only” three times – always a step below the gold: it was silver at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, and silver medals at the European championships in Florence and Kranj. But now the Croatian water polo touched the shiniest pedestal and this is what makes the gold from Melbourne historic. The goalkeepers Vićan and Pavić, the players Hinić, Smodlaka, Đogaš, Vrdoljak, Barač, Burić, Bošković, Bušlje, Kunac, Joković and Marković, the selector Ratko Rudić and the other numerous strong accompanying trumps, all these are the reasons why the Croatian water polo recorded the finest moments in its history in March 2007. The whole scenario had become even more perfect on account of the rivals who were part of their battling path. For years Hungary was the first letter in the ABC of water polo, and not infrequently they were flanked by Serbia. A rough qualitative description would even divide the representative world of water polo in two parts – Hungary and Serbia had made one and all other national teams made the other half of the world. In Australia, though, Rudić’s players managed to break through among the “elevated”. They had won against Serbia in the semi-finals in a wondrous way and then, in the great finals they beat Hungary. This is a team that can be best described in such a way as to compare them to the Brazilians in football. Because Hungary has dominated the water polo since the 19th century; this sport is their national pride, but in the finals Croatia was – “the water polo Brazil”. Frano Vićan rose to the surface from the swimming pool like an octopus and it is one of the unjust matters of this championship that he was not proclaimed the best goalkeeper. The offensive players Smodlaka and Hinić dealt with the foulest business in the swimming pool, Vrdoljak dragged on as a captain in some delicate moments, Bošković showed that what he held in his hands was a canon; Đogaš routinely used his great qualities, while Marković and Joković displayed the fact that they were the future of the Croatian water polo. Referring to Rudić, it suffices to say that he has 21 medals from great competitions to his credit and that he is the coach with the greatest number of trophies of all times. This is why his strong hand, in the water polo intelligence, was priceless. Along with all the individual qualities, what has been built upon, was a top-grade defence, a rationally conceived attack and what the team sport cannot do without: the water polo players have, from the very beginning been cast one into another – the positive team spirit and belief in success have led the thirteen players toward the greatest success of the Croatian water polo in history.
Value (of each stamp): 5 kn
Size: 105 x 68 (31,24 x 35,50) mm
Paper: white 102g, gummed
Tehnique: Multicoloured Offsetprint, Foil blocking
Date of issue: 3.5.2007