Barcelona 2018 and Budapest 2020

33rd European Championship – Barcelona (Spain) 2018

In Catalonia after 48 years
Although everyone in water polo is under the impression that major tournaments and games are very often held in Barcelona, the 2018 European Championships were held in Barcelona for the first time in 48 years! After 1970, one Olympics (1992), two World Championships (2003 and 2013), and a few more Champions League Final Four tournaments tarnish the impression of frequency.

The Serbs have caught up with the Hungarians
Not exactly in the number of medals, but in one detail Serbia has equalled Hungary’s record. With the gold won in Barcelona, Serbia won the title of European champion for the fourth time in a row, and this is an achievement that only the Hungarians managed in the first 4 European championships ever, even before World War II.

Dutch team after a quarter of a century
It actually took 25 years for a very strong Dutch team to win gold in the women’s competition. In the warm sun of Spain they managed to do so for the first time since Leeds 1993.

Individual awards
In Barcelona, we even had two top scorers – Aleksandar Ivović (Montenegro) and Ioannis Fountoulis (Greece), both with 17 goals each. The tournament MVP was Filip Filipović (Serbia) and the best goalkeeper was Daniel Lopez Pinedo (Spain). In the women’s competition, Sabrine van der Sloot (Netherlands) was voted MVP, the best goalkeeper was Laura Aarts (Netherlands) and Beatriz Ortiz (Spain) scored the most goals with 25.

European champions (men) – Serbia: Gojko Pijetlović, Dušan Mandić, Viktor Rašović, Sava Ranđelović, Miloš Ćuk, Duško Pijetlović, Nemanja Vico, Milan Aleksić, Nikola Jakšić, Filip Filipović, Andrija Prlainović, Stefan Mitrović, Branislav Mitrović

European champions (women) – Netherlands: Laura Petronella Aarts, Maud Megens, Dagmar Rixt Geene, Catharina van der Sloot, Iris Wolves, Nomi Lisa Stomphorst, Bente Rogge, Vivian Sevenich, Kitty-Lynn Joustra, Ilse Koolhaas, Rozanne Voorvelt, Brigitte Sleeking, Debby Willemsz.

34th European Championship – Budapest (Hungary) 2020

The fifth time in the same city
The capital of Hungary is the only one that can boast of hosting the best water polo teams of our continent 5 times. At the same time, this tournament, which took place in the Olympic year and thus in January, will be remembered as the last major sports competition in Europe before the pandemic was declared.

The end of 21 years of Balkan domination
For the first time since 1999, the European champion was not one of the Balkan countries (Croatia, Montenegro, or Serbia). The last team to become European champions was Hungary, in Florence. After more than two decades, the Hungarians won their 13th gold.

The best players
The top scorer of the men’s tournament was Konstantin Harkov (Russia and now Croatia) with 21 goals. The best goalkeeper was again Daniel Lopez (Spain) and the MVP trophy went to Denes Varga (Hungary). In the women’s competition, the best player was Beatriz Ortiz (Spain), the first goalkeeper of the tournament was Kristina Horvathova (Slovakia) and the top scorer was Rita Keszthelyi (Hungary) with 28 goals!

European champions (men) – Hungary: Viktor Nagy, Daniel Angyal, Krisztian Manhercz, Gergo Zalanki, Marton Vamos, Norbert Hosnyanszky, Zoltan Pohl, Szilard Jansik, Balazs Erdelyi, Denes Varga, Tamas Mezei, Balazs Harai, Soma Vogel

European champions (women) – Spain: a Ester Marta Bach, Anna Espar, Beatriz Ortiz, Roser Tarrago, Irene Gonzalez, Clara Espar, Pilar Pena, Judith Forca, Paula Crespi, Maica Garcia, Paula Leiton, Maria Elena Sanchez