New water polo competition, the Europa Cup for nations is going to start in February. Draw for the Preliminary Stage of the 2018 Europa Cup was held today during the LEN Bureau meeting in Ostia today. Fourteen men’s and ten women’s teams entered in the competition. Among them are all European mighty water polo nation. None of medal winners of recent major competitions will miss the competition, except, of course, the USA, that is the most successful world women team at the moment.
In the preliminary stage of the Europa Cup for men, 14 nations will compete in three groups (two of five teams, one of four). First three placed teams from the two groups of five (A, B) and the first two from the group of four (C) will advance to the Final Eight.
Balkan derby in Croatia
The highlight of the first round will be seen in Group B in Croatia.World champion Croatia will host Serbia water polo players, gold medal winners at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Greece, The Netherlands and Turkey. Encounters between Serbia and Croatia have been big derbies in all competitions since the separation of ex Yugoslavia. The last big battle between this two teams was seen in Budapest, at this summer’s World Championship. Croatia beat Serbia and ended its long series of wins in the big Balkan derby. Serbia defeated Croatia in the final game at 2016 Olympic Games, in the final of the 2015 World Championships, in the preliminary competition at the 2016 European Championships… Croatia also stopped the great row of Serbia which won gold medals at all major competitions since 2014 till the Championships in Budapest.
Greece, as a third great team in this group, mustn’t be forgotten. The Greeks played in the semifinals at the last two World Championships (bronze in 2015 and 4th place in 2017).
Hungary is a host and the biggest favourite in Group A. Besides the home side, Spain, France, Romania and Georgia will seek one of three tickets for the final tournament from this group.
Group C, the only in which four teams will take part, the most interesting clash should be the match between Italy (host of the tournament) and Montenegro. The other two teams Germany and especially Russia aren’t without chances to qualify for the final tournament.
Women’s preliminary in Spain and Greece
Hosts of the women’s preliminary stage will be Spain and Greece.
Spain, the runner-up at the 2017 World Championships, silver medalist at the 2016 European Championship The Netherlands and world bronze medalist Russia are favourites in Group A. European champion Hungary, Olympic silver medalist Italy and former world champion Greece are three top sides in Group B. Three teams from each group will qualify for the Final Six
The total amount of prize-money for the medal winners is 80,000 euros.The winners get 20,000 euros respectively, the silver medalists earn 15,000 euros, while the bronze medal is worth 5.000 euros.LEN will support all national federations through travel contribution.
2018 LEN Europa Cup
Preliminaries (15-18 February)
Group A (in Hungary)
Hungary, Spain, France, Romania, Georgia
Group B (in Croatia)
Serbia, Greece, Croatia, Netherlands, Turkey
Group C (in Italy)
Montenegro, Italy, Russia, Germany
First three seeded teams from the two groups of five (A, B) and the first two from the group of four sides (C) will qualify for the Final Eight
Final Eight (5-8 April)
At the final tournament, eight teams will be split into two groups – Group 1: A1, C1, B2, A3. Group 2: B1, A2, C2, B3. After the round-robin phase, the top group winners will play for the gold, the second-seeded for the bronze medal, the third-placed for the 5th place and fourth-placed for the 7th place.
Preliminaries (1-4 February)
Group A (in Spain)
Netherlands, Spain, Russia, France, Croatia
Group B (in Greece)
Hungary, Italy, Greece, Germany, Turkey
Final Six (23-25 March)
The top three seeded sides will advance to the Final Six. Group-winners will qualify the semi-finals, the second and third-seeded sides will play crossover matches for the semi-final.