The time has come for the Old Continent to get the first water polo Europa Cup champion in the history. And its name will be known after four days of competition at the Super Final in the Croatian town of Rijeka.
There, the best eight European teams starting from Thursday will play 16 games and the big final is scheduled for the Sunday, April the 8th.
And all the big guns will be there in Rijeka, Olympic and European champions, Serbia, World champions Croatia, Hungary, Spain, Greece, Montenegro and maybe only France could be called an underdog.
As usual, Serbian water polo team will one more time be considered one of the main, if not the main favorite to win a competition.
Dejan Savic will return to lead the team after Uros Stevanovic did that in the FINA World League.
“This tournament is a good warm-up for the upcoming European championship. No team could be considered a big favorite for the title, but it seems to me that all but Italy and Croatia are coming to Rijeka with combined teams. Nevertheless, our ambitions stay the same. In this tournament seven teams could win the gold medal at the European championship”, said Savic before the start of the tournament in which he will not count on injured Stefan Mitrovic, Nemanja Ubovic, Sava Randjelovic and Andrija Prlainovic will rest.
Hungary is coming to Rijeka also with big ambition, but national team coach Tamas Marcz spoke about the awkward situation because the tournament is coming in this part of the season.
“There are a lot of games in the international and national competitions, and also European championship. We practiced various things, but we could have had more time for that”, said Marcz.
For Montenegro water polo team this tournament is also a good opportunity test themselves against the best in Europe one more time.
“In the group stage, we will have games against two of the very best teams in Europe – Serbia, and Croatia. The Serbs are coming with the much stronger team than in the World League. With these sort of games, we can get to a higher level as a team. We are the least experienced team in the Super Final. We are only just building our squad”, said Montenegro national team coach Vladimir Gojkovic.
As for Italy, Sandro Campagna has chosen the Settebello team for Rijeka. The return of Francesco Di Fulvio is the only news compared to the formation that was placed in the first place of the group of Palermo, in the first phase of the competition.
According to the competition rules, after the round robin, group winners will play for the trophy, second-seeded teams will play for the bronze medal.
Super Final schedule
Day 1, April 5
Hungary vs Greece
Italy vs Spain
Serbia vs Montenegro
France vs Croatia
Day 2, April 6
Hungary vs Italy
Spain vs Greece
Serbia vs France
Croatia vs Montenegro
Day 3, April 7
Hungary vs Spain
Italy vs Greece
Serbia vs Croatia
France vs Montenegro
Day 4, April 8
Game for places 7-8
Game for places 5-6
Bronze medal game