There will be a total of 16 national teams divided into four groups. The group winners will directly qualify for the quarterfinals while, second and third placed team are going to participate in the eight finals.
Alongside the Dutch water polo team, in the group of main candidates for the medals are Spain and Hungary. Some of the teams will be strengthened with players which participated at the FINA World Youth Championship which was finished last week in Belgrade.
Such is the case with Spain and Alejandra Aznar. She was voted an MVP of the championship in Belgrade last week and now will also play in Funchal in Spain’s attempt to get another gold medal.
Also, the Netherlands will have two acting senior European champions in its squad – Lieke Rogge and Rozanne Voorvelt and left-handed Simone Van de Kraats who also played for Oranje senior team. But, that is not the end of this prestigious list.
Elisavet Protopapas will play for the Greek U19 national water polo team after she participated at the senior European Championship in Barcelona in July.
As for the Hungarians, at this tournament, their main stars will be Vanda Valyi and Natasa Rybanská. Those two showed their great talent that last season in the Europe Cup. Russian national team will also have a star player – Tatyana Tolkunova who played for the seniors at last year World Championship in Budapest.
Tamas Farago, the director of female water polo in Hungarian federation said there are great expectations from this team, but also pointed out that the team must go step by step.
“You first need to play really well to get to the semifinals and fight for the medals. It is also necessary to make sure that we don’t let the two or three bad minutes in a game destroy everything that we have built up”, said Farago.
A Group: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy
B Group: Great Britain, Hungary, Israel, Slovakia
C Group: France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal
D Group: Greece, Romania, Russia, Turkey
Spain – Czech Republic
Hungary – Israel
Italy – Bulgaria
Russia – Romania
Greece – Turkey
Netherlands – Germany
Great Britain – Slovakia
Portugal – France
Romania – Turkey
Bulgaria – Czech Republic
Slovakia – Israel
France – Germany
Hungary – Great Britain
Greece – Russia
Spain – Italy
Netherlands – Portugal
Spain – Bulgaria
Netherlands – France
Greece – Romania
Italy – Czech Republic
Russia – Turkey
Hungary – Slovakia
Great Britain – Israel
Portugal – Germany