A precise Spain put a tentative Australia to the sword and out of the running for the men's water polo finals with a 16-5 blowout at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Sharks were totally outclassed by unbeaten group leaders Spain, Australia's inability to put the ball in the net from open play leaving them a long way off the pace.
It left Australia, with just one win from their first four games, needing to beat winless Kazakhstan in Monday's final preliminary game and have Croatia lose their final two pool matches.
But Australia's hopes were dashed just hours after their loss to Spain, Croatia beating Serbia 14-12 to confirm their last-eight berth at the expense of the Sharks.
"We played a beautiful and strong game against Serbia," Croatia coach Ivica Tucak said.
"The win means we have qualified for the quarter-finals and this was the first objective for us."
The Aussies were a long way short of the performance that saw them upset Croatia on Tuesday - the Croats' only loss to date - and have now conceded 30 goals in losses since to Serbia and Spain.
While they were effective in taking advantage of power plays, converting on four of six opportunities with an extra player, it was from general play where they really struggled, scoring just once from 17 attempts.
Having opened up and 8-3 lead by halftime, Spain extended their advantage courtesy of two penalties early in the third term to end any hope of an Australia comeback.
It was then time for the Spaniards to put on a show, Alberto Munarriz Egana lobbing Australian keeper Anthony Hrysanthos with a superb shot from seven metres out before Martin Famera went with power from the same range to make it 13-5.
Australian Associated Press