European Water Polo Championships

It’s time for start! Wide circle of favorites at 33rd European Championships

Wopit, the mascot of the 33rd European Championships Photo:bcn2018.com

A countdown is over! The 33rd European Water Polo Championships will begin tomorrow in Barcelona. Women’s competition will start on Saturday, while the 1st round of the Championships for men will be played on Monday.

It’s hard to predict winners. Both competitions will see wide circles of favorites.

MEN

The tournament in Barcelona should be a very interesting competition. Several teams are in the hunt for the gold medal.

Olympic champion Serbia arrives in Barcelona to win the 4th straight European gold. But, it seems, the Serbs aren’t so strong favorites as in previous few years. Big chances to reach the top of the podium have World champion Croatia, Montenegro, which won the gold in the 2018 World League. Hungary and Italy are always favorites, but both teams haven’t won a gold European medal in the 21st century. Host Spain and Greece have been playing better and better in the past two-three years. Russia, France, Germany maybe can surprise some of the favorites, but they are far from a medal position

“Group of death” in the first stage of the competition is, with no doubt, Group A in which will compete Italy, Hungary, Germany and Georgia. Serbia should have the easiest task in the group stage (its rivals in Group D will be Russia, Slovakia and Romania). Croatia and Greece are in Group C with Turkey and the Netherlands. Spain and Montenegro will face each other in Group B, while the other rivals of these two squads will be France and Malta.

After the group stage, group winners will advance to the quarterfinals, while 2nd-placed and 3rd-placed teams will face in the qualifying matches for the 1/4 finals. The quarterfinal day (July 24) will see big derbies, for sure, some of the favorites will end their road toward a medal on July 24.

Competition formula

Group stage (July, 16 – 20)

Group A: Hungary, Italy, Germany, Georgia.
Group B: Montenegro, Spain, Malta, France
Group C: Greece, Croatia, Netherlands, Turkey
Group D: Serbia, Russia, Romania, Slovakia

Qualifications for quarterfinals (July 22): A2-C3, A3-C2, B2-D3, B2-D2.
Quarterfinals (July 24): D1-A2/C3 (game A), B1-A3/C2 (B),C1-B2/D3 (C), A1-B3/D2 (D),
Semifinals (July 26): Winners games A – C, winners games B – D
Final day (July 28)

Schedule

Tucak decided

Ivica Tucak, Croatia head coach, as the last of the coaches of the male squads, announced the team for the 33rd European Championships.

Two of 13 players who won the title of the World Champion in Budapest last year will miss the tournament in Barcelona. Sandro Sukno, the MVP of the 2107 World Championships, hasn’t played since last summer because of heart problems, while Ivan Krapic was injured during the final tournament of the 2018 World League. Lovre Milos and Josip Vrlic will replace Sukno and Krapic.

Goalkeepers: Marko Bijac, Ivan Marcelic; center-forwards: Luka Loncar, Josip Vrlic, defenders: Ivan Buljubasic, Andro Buslje, Marko Macan; attackers: Loren Fatovic, Ante Vukicevic, Maro Jokovic, Xavi Garcia, Lovre Milos and Andjelo Setka.

(The teams of Serbia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Montenegro, Greece you can find in our previous articles)

Women

Men are in the focus of media, but we mustn’t forget ladies. The women’s tournament will see big battles, too.

Hungary and The Netherlands have competed at all ECH for ladies since the introduction of the female tournament (1985). The Netherlands won gold medals at the first three Championships. The Dutch clinched the silver at the previous Championships, in Belgrade in 2016. Hungary comes to Spain as the title-defender and it seeks the fourth gold.

Besides Hungary and The Netherlands in a circle of strong favorites are host and silver medalist at the 2017 World Championships Spain, five-time European champion Italy, Russia and Greece.

Competition formula

Group stage (July 14 – 21)

Group A: Netherlands, Italy, Greece, France, Israel, Croatia.
Group B: Hungary, Spain, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Germany.

Quarterfinals (July 23):A1-B4,A2-B3,A3-B2,A4-B1.
Semifinals (July 25): A1/B4-A3/B2; A2/B3-A4/B1.
Final day (July 27)

Schedule

Interesting facts

  • Serbia’s captain Filip Filipovic has a chance to become the 1st player with 6 European gold medals. He holds the record

    Filipovic (SRB) Photo waterpoloserbia

    with 5 titles, along with his former team-mates in the national team of Serbia Zivko Gocic and Slobodan Nikic. Gocic and Nikic ended their careers in the national team after the 2016 Olympics. The three players won golds in 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

  • The record in women’s competition is 4 European titles. Seven ladies are currently tied at 4 gold medals. All of them have retired. Nobody of players from the current generation has three or more titles. The seven players who have four European crowns are : Carmena Alucci, Francesca Conti, Melania Grego, Guisi Malato, Martina Viceli, Maddalena Musumeci (all from Italy), and Hedda Verdan (Netherlands). The Italians clinched their medals between 1996 and 2003 while the players of the Dutch team won them between 1985 and 1993.
  • Photo:wp2018bcn.com (click to enlarge)

    Barcelona will host the European Championships for the 2nd time, after organizing it in 1970. The venue will be the same, the Bernat Picornell Pools, that were inaugurated in 1969. Previous big competition in the Bernat Picornell Pools was water polo tournament at the 2013 World Championships. Five years ago, Spain triumphed in the competition for ladies, while Hungary won the gold medal in the men’s tournament.
    In the preparation for the 33rd European Champiopnships, the Bernat Picornell Pool has been transformed into a stadium with temporary grandstands with a capacity for 4.200 spectators.

  • Hungarian men’s team missed just one European Championships (in 1950)
  • Israel women’s team is the only debutant at the European Championships.
  • The first final games at the Europan Championships were played in Bonn in 1989. Germany defeated Yugoslavia in the men’s final 10:9, while The Netherlands beat Hungary in the final for ladies (14:11). Before the Championships in Bonn, the competition had been played by a round-robin system. Because of that USSR and Yugoslavia shared 2nd and 3rd place in Leipzig 1962. They were tied by all criteria (points and goal difference), so both teams were awarded by silver medals, nobody got bronze.

photo:wp2018bcn.com

The name of the mascot of the 33rd Championships “Wopit” comes from the first and last letters of the word “water polo” and the last sound of the first slogan of the championships “Don’t Stop It”.

 

 

HISTORY

The first European Water Polo Championships was held in Budapest in 1926. Women for the first time competed in Oslo in 1985.

The water polo tournament was a part of the European Aquatics Championships up to until 1997. From the Championships in Florence 1999 water polo got its own competition.

The most successful team in the men’s competitions is Hungary (12 gold medals). Serbia and its precursors (Yugoslavia and Serbia and Montenegro) won seven gold medals.

Italian national team holds a record in female competition, with 5 titles.

MEN

1926 Budapest (Hungary)
Hungary
Sweden
Germany

1927 Bologna (Italy)
Hungary
France
Belgium

1931 Paris (France)
Hungary
Germany
Austria

1934 Magdeburg (Germany)
Hungary
Germany
Belgium

1938 London (Great Britain)
Hungary
Germany
The Netherlands

1947 Monaco (Monaco)
Italy
Sweden
Belgium

1950 Vienna (Austria)
The Netherlands
Sweden
Yugoslavia

1954 Turin (Italy)
Hungary
Yugoslavia
Italy

1958 Budapest (Hungary)
Hungary
Yugoslavia
USSR

1962 Leipzig (GDR)
Hungary
USSR and Yugoslavia (two silver medals)

Barcelona 1970

1966 Utrecht (The Netherlands)
USSR
East Germany
Yugoslavia

1970 Barcelona (Spain)
USSR
Hungary
Yugoslavia

1974 Vienna (Austria)
Hungary
USSR
Yugoslavia

1977 Jonköping (Sweden)
Hungary
Yugoslavia
Italy

1981 Split (Yugoslavia)
West Germany
USSR
Hungary

1983 Rome (Italy)
USSR
Hungary
Spain

1985 Sofia (Bulgaria)
USSR
Yugoslavia
West Germany

1987 Strasburg (France)
USSR
Yugoslavia
Italy

1989 Bonn (W. Germany)
West Germany
Yugoslavia
Italy

1991 Athens (Greece)
Yugoslavia
Spain
URSS

1993 Sheffield (Great Britain)
Italy
Hungary
Spain

1995 Vienna (Austria)
Italy
Hungary
Germany

1997 Seville (Spain)
Hungary
Yugoslavia
Russia

1999 Florence (Italy)
Hungary
Croatia
Italy

2001 Budapest (Hungary)
Yugoslavia
Italy
Hungary

2003 Kranj (Slovenia)

euro water polo belgrade 2006

Belgrade 2006

Serbia & Montenegro
Croatia
Hungary

2006 Belgrade (Serbia)
Serbia
Hungary
Spain

2008 Malaga (Spain)
Montenegro
Serbia
Hungary

2010 Zagreb (Croatia)
Croatia
Italy
Serbia

2012 Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
Serbia
Montenegro
Hungary

2014 Budapest (Hungary)
Serbia
Hungary
Italy

2016 Belgrade (Serbia)
Serbia
Montenegro
Hungary

WOMEN

1985 Oslo (Norway)
The Netherlands
Hungary
West Germany

1987 Strasbourg (France)
The Netherlands
Hungary
France

Maskot of the 1989 ECH in Bonn

1989 Bonn (W. Germany)
The Netherlands
Hungary
France

1991 Athens (Greece)
Hungary
The Netherlands
Italy

1993 Leeds (Great Britain)
The Netherlands
Russia
Hungary

1995 Vienna (Austria)
Italy
Hungary
The Netherlands

1997 Seville (Spain)
Italy
Russia
The Netherlands

1999 Florence (Italy)
Italy
The Netherlands
Russia

2001 Budapest (Hungary)
Hungary
Italy
Russia

2003 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Italy
Hungary
Russia

2006 Belgrade (Serbia)
Russia
Italy
Hungary

2008 Malaga (Spain)
Russia
Spain
Hungary

2010 Zagreb (Croatia)
Russia
Greece
The Netherlands

2012 Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
Italy
Greece
Hungary

Belgrade 2016

2014 Budapest (Hungary)
Spain
The Netherlands
Hungary

2016 Belgrade (Serbia)
Hungary
The Netherlands
Italy

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