European Water Polo Championships

Final preparations for 33rd ECH in Barcelona

Serbian national team Photo: WP of Serbia

The most important water polo competition of the year will begin in four days. The 33rd European Championships in Barcelona will start on Saturday and it will be ended on 28 July.

The national teams (16 male and 12 female) finalize their preparations. A few tournaments all around Europe were played during the last weekend.

Serbia

Title-holder Serbia didn’t play at any preparation tournament. The final rehearsal for the Serbs were Mediterranean Games in Tarragona, where they took the gold medal.

Serbia played an unofficial match against the USA in Belgrade today. A lot of fans wished players a lot of luck in Barcelona. Serbia is seeking its 4th European gold in a row, after titles which they won in Eindhoven (2012), Budapest (2014) and in Belgrade (2016).

Dejan Savic

Dejan Savic (click to enlarge)

Dejan Savic, head coach of Serbia, announced the squad which will compete in Barcelona. The team is composed of 12 of 13 players who won the bronze medal at the World Championships in Budapest last year. Nemanja Vico (Trieste), who plays at a center-forward position, will make its debut at a major competition. This Savic’s decision was a little bit surprising. Vico will replace Nemanja Ubovic, who played in Budapest last year, as well as at the Mediterranean Games.

Only one player comes from a Serbian club. Gojko Pijetlovic, who played in Montenegro, Hungary and Romania for years, returned to the homeland. This summer, he signed for Sabac, the club which won the 3rd place in the 2017/18 Serbian League.

The team of Serbia for the 33rd European Championships

Goalkeepers: Gojko Pijetlovic (Sabac), Branislav Mitrovic (OSC). Field players: Dusan Mandic (Pro Recco), Viktor Rasovic (Szolnok), Sava Randjelović (OSC), Milos Cuk (Mladost Zagreb), Dusko Pijetlovic (Dynamo Moscow), Nemanja Vico (Trieste), Milan Aleksic (Szolnok), Nikola Jaksic (Ferencvaros), Filip Filipovic (Pro Recco), Andrija Prlainovic (Szolnok), Stefan Mitrovic (Ferencvaros).

We shouldn’t have hard tasks in the group stage (Serbia will play against Russia, Romania and Slovakia), so our “D day” will be quarterfinal day, 24th July. If there are no surprises our rival in the quarterfinals will be Italy or Hungary. In fact, we are preparing for that match- Dejan Savic said.

Croatia, Spain, Russia, France

Croatia, the reigning World Champion, tested its eligibilities in Canet-en-Roussillon (France). Besides Croatia and the hosting team of France, Russia and Spain took part at the tournament. It was a very interesting competition. Croatia, Spain and Russia collected three points each, but the Croats won the 1st place because they achieved the best goal difference.

Croatia’s head coach Ivica Tucak still hasn’t announced the squad for the European Championships as well as his colleagues from France, Russia and Spain.

Tucak will select the team after an encounter between Croatia and Hungary which will be played in Zagreb on Thursday.

Canet-en-Roussilion

1st round

Spain – Russia 8:10
France – Croatia 3:11

2nd round

Croatia – Spain 6:9
France – Russia 7:9

3rd round
Russia – Croatia 7:17
France – Spain 5:9

Standings

1. Croatia 3 – 6 (+15 goal difference)
2. Spain 3 – 6 (+5)
3 Russia 3 – 6 (-6)
4. France 3 – 0

Hungary, Romania

Tamas Marcz, a head coach of the Hungarian national squad, already unveiled the list of 13 players who will travel to Barcelona. All of them are members of Hungarian clubs

Viktor Nagy and David Jansik

Viktor Nagy and David Jansik Photo: waterpolo.hu (click to enlarge)

The team of Hungary
Goalkeepers: Viktor Nagy (Szolnok), Soma Vogel (Ferencvaros). FIeld players: Daniel Angyal (Eger), Bence Batori (Szolnok), Krisztian Bedo (Eger), Balazs Erdelyi (OSC), David Jansik (Szolnok), Gergo Kovacs (Eger), Krisztian Manhercz (Ferencvaros), Tamas Mezei (Szolnok), Zoltan Pohl (Ferencvaros), Marton Vamos (Ferencvaros), Gergo Zalanki (Szolnok).

Hungarian national federation organized a traditional BENU cup, which was played in Budapest. Hungary hosted Romania, Australia and the USA. The home team, which clinched the silver medal at the 2017 World Championships, took the 1st place at the BENU cup. The Hungarians beat Romania and USA, while their match against Australia was ended in a draw (8:8). Penalty shootout decided a winner, the hosts were better(4:3) and won the trophy.

BENU Cup

1st round

Hungary – Romania 11:8
Australia – USA 10:9

2nd round

Hungary – USA 9:7
Australia – Romania 9:7

3rd round

Hungary – Australia 8:8 – pso 4:3
USA – Romania 12:1

Standings
1. Hungary 3 – 8
2. Australia 3 – 7
3. USA 3 – 4
4. Romania 3 – 0

Italy, Germany, Netherlands

Italy, the team which is also in a circle of teams which have a big chance to take a medal, didn’t stand at the podium at the Mediterranean Games (5th place).But, the “Settebello” didn’t make mistake at the preparation tournament in Cosenza, where they hosted Germany, the Netherlands and China. The hosts beat all of their rivals with ease.

Eighteen Italian players competed in Cosenza. Their head coach Alessandro Campagna still hasn’t announced the final list of players for Barcelona.

Tournament in Cosenza

1st round
China-Netherlands 6:11
Italy-Germany 13:5

2nd round

Germany – China 13:8
Netherlands-Italy 5-9

3rd round

Germany-Netherlands 8:8
Italy-China 10:5

Standings

1. Italy 3 – 9
2. Netherlands 3 – 4
3. Germany 3 – 4
4. China 3 – 0

Women

Some of the best European female teams warmed up at tournaments in Rotterdam and Canet-en-Roussillon. The biggest surprise was Hungary, the title-holder, which took the last place in Rotterdam, behind the USA, Italy and the Netherlands.

Canet-en-Roussilion

1st round

Spain – China 16:10
France – Russia 13:27

2nd round

Russia – Spain 9:11
France – China 7:8

3rd round

China – Russia 11:9
France – Spain 8:15

Standings
1. Spain 3 – 9
2, China 3 – 6
3. Russia 3 – 3
4. France 3 – 0

Speedo Cup Rotterdam

1st round

Netherlands – Hungary 10:6
USA – Italy 10:4

2nd round

USA – Hungary 17:9
Netherlands – Italy 7:8

3rd round

Italy – Hungary 9:9
Netherlands – USA 8:18

1. USA 3 -6
2. Italy 3 – 3
3. Netherlands 3 – 2
4. Hungary 3 – 1

33rd European Championship, 14-28 July 2018, Barcelona

Men

Group A
Hungary
Italy
Germany
Georgia

Group B
Montenegro
Spain
Malta
France

Group C
Greece
Croatia
Netherlands
Turkey

Group D
Serbia
Russia
Romania
Slovakia

Women

Group A
Netherlands
Italy
Greece
France
Israel
Croatia

Group B
Hungary
Spain
Russia
Serbia
Turkey
Germany

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