Water polo in 2018: World League, World Cup, new Europa Cup…

Photo: Ivica Veselinov/WP OF SERBIA

The FINA World Championships in Budapest highlighted 2017 in the world of water polo. Croatia (men) and the USA (women) took gold medals.

Let’s see what brings 2018. Major competitions in this year are the World League, a few continental competitions, European and World Championships for juniors…

World League

The most important intercontinental water polo competition in 2018 is FINA World League


Nine European teams take part in the European preliminaries – Group A: Serbia, Montenegro, Romania; Group B: Croatia, Russia, Germany, Group C: Hungary, Spain, Netherlands. Group winners will qualify for the Super Final (18-23 June), along with top four teams from the Intercontinental Preliminary Tournament ( 3 – 8 April, Auckland, New Zealand). The eight participant of the Super Final will be a host, which still hasn’t been determined.

Serbia, the reigning champion, hunts the 6th consecutive World League gold medal.


Only four teams from Europe compete in the FINA World League 2018. After two round of competition in the group of the European preliminaries, all four teams have three points each: Russia, Hungary, Spain and the Netherlands.

The qualification system is the same as in men’s World League. Three teams from Europe, four from the Intercontinental Preliminary Tournament (3 – 8 April, Auckland, New Zealand) and a host will compete at the Super Final (28 May- 2 Juny). Like in the FINA World League for men, a host hasn’t been determined yet.
The USA team will try to clinch the 5th title in a row

The list of participants of the intercontinental tournaments in Auckland, both for women and for men will be confirmed in the following few months.


This year will see several continental tournaments, but the most important is the 33rd European Championships in Barcelona (14 – 28 July).

Serbia (men) and Hungary (women) will be defending the gold medals. The list of participants will be complete in March, after the ending of the last phase of the qualifications.

The best eight male teams at the best six female teams from the previous European Championship in Belgrade already qualified for the tournament in Barcelona

Men’s tournament, participants: Serbia (1st in Belgrade 2016), Montenegro (2nd in Belgrade), Hungary (3rd in Belgrade), Greece (4th in Belgrade), Spain (5th in Belgrade and the host), Italy (6th in Belgrade), Croatia (7th in Belgrade), Russia (8th in Belgrade) and eight teams from the qualifications.

Women’s tournament, participants: Hungary (1st in Belgrade 2016), Netherlands (2nd in Belgrade), Italy (3rd in Belgrade), Spain (4th in Belgrade and the host), Greece (5th in Belgrade), Russia (6th in Belgrade) and six teams from the qualifications.

World Cup

Dates and hosts of the 2018 FINA World Cup haven’t been determined in the FINA calendar. The male competition will be probably held in Berlin in September. Like in the FINA World League the men’s national team of Serbia and The United States women’s team will fight to defend the titles won in 2014.

Europa Cup

LEN’s new competition, the Europa Cup, will be held from February to April.

Europa Cup men, Preliminaries (15 – 18 February)

Group A (in Hungary): Hungary, Spain, France, Romania, Georgia
Group B (in Croatia): Serbia, Greece, Croatia, Netherlands, Malta.
Group C (in Italy): Montenegro, Italy, Russia, Germany.
The first three seeded sides from the groups of five (A, B) and the first two from the group of four (C) will advance to The Final Eight (6 – 8 April).

Europa Cup women, Preliminaries (1 – 4 February)

Group A (in the Netherlands): Netherlands, Spain, Russia, France, Croatia.
Group B (in Greece): Hungary, Italy, Greece, Germany, Israel.
Top three seeded teams will advance to the Final Six (23 – 25 March)-

European club competitions

Genoa will be a host of the men’s Champions League Final Eight (7 – 9 June). The Euro League Women Final Four will be held on 13th and 14th April (a host will be determined).

Other major competitions

Mediterranean Games (Tarragona, Spain, 22 June – 1 July).
World Men’s Youth Championship (Szombathely, Hungary, 11 – 19 August)
World Women’s Youth Championship (Belgrade, Serbia,27 August – 2 September)
European Men’s Junior Championship (Minsk, Belorussia, 26 August – 2 September)
European Women’s Junior Championship (Funchal, Portugal, 9 – 16 September).

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