27th European Championship – Belgrade (Serbia) 2006
Return to even years
Three years have passed between the last European Championships in Kranj and the new one in Belgrade. LEN has decided to hold the European Championships in even years again, as was the case until Vienna in 1974.
Host changed, but remained the same
The 27th European Championship was hosted by Serbia and Montenegro, but when the competition started, the host country had changed a bit, which is a unique case so far when it comes to European Water Polo Championships. The country of Serbia and Montenegro split into the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Montenegro, so only Serbia was clearly the host, as the competition was held at the Tasmajdan outdoor pool, i.e. the Banjica pool (women), in Belgrade. There were no Montenegrin water polo players in Belgrade, as this country was founded only 3 months before the start of the 2006 European Championships. In the men’s competition, Serbia won gold, Hungary silver, and Spain bronze. In the women’s competition, Russia was the best, followed by the silver Spaniards and the bronze Hungarians on the podium.
Kasas, Šapić, Šefik and Pantjulina
The best player of the championship was Tamas Kasas (Hungary), the best goalkeeper was Denis Šefik (Serbia) and the top scorer was Aleksandar Šapić (Serbia) with 24 goals. In the women’s competition, Ekaterina Pantjulina (Russia) was the top scorer with 18 goals, the MVP went to Tania di Mario (Italy) and the best goalkeeper was Elena Gigli (Italy).
European champions (men) – Serbia: Denis Šefik, Petar Trbojević, Živko Gocić, Vanja Udovičić, Dejan Savić, Danilo Ikodinović, Slobodan Nikić, Filip Filipović, Aleksandar Ćirić, Vladimir Vujasinović, Branko Peković, Slobodan Soro, Duško Pijetlović, Andrija Prlainović
European champions (women) – Russia: Olga Fomičeva, Julia Gaufler, Nadežda Gluzina, Jevgenija Ivanova, Sofija Konuh, Jekaterina Kuzbecova, Ekaterina Pantjulina, Jevgenija Protsenko, Natalija Rižova-Alejničeva, Natalija Šepeljina, Elena Smurova, Ekaterina Tankejeva, Aleksandra Vorobjeva, Anastasija Zubkova i Alena Vulegžanina
28th European Championship – Malaga (Spain) 2008
The championship in the south of the Spanish province of Andalusia was held just one month before the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing, which turned out to be a bad decision. LEN decided that the European championships in the Olympic year would henceforth be held in January.
The debutant became the champion
For the first and so far only time, it happened that the national team participating in a European Championship for the first time went all the way at the first attempt, i.e. won gold. This honour was bestowed on Montenegro, which had gained its independence only two years earlier and whose appearance in Malaga was its first major tournament. To this day, this gold is the greatest success of Montenegrin water polo. Silver went to Serbia, and bronze to Hungary. Russia, Spain, and Hungary followed in the women’s competition.
Šapić like Estiarte
Aleksandar Šapić became the tournament’s top scorer for the third time in a row (23), repeating the success of Manuel Estiarte, who was also the top scorer three times in a row at the European Championships (1981, 1983, and 1985).
The best goalkeeper of the European Championships was again Denis Šefik (Hungary) and the MVP of the tournament was Peter Biros (Hungary). In the women’s competition, Blanca Gil (Spain) was the best player and the top scorer was again Ekaterina Pantjulina (Russia) with 16 goals.
European champions (men) – Montenegro: Zdravko Radić, Vjekoslav Pasković, Draško Brguljan, Nikola Vukčević, Nikola Janović, Milan Tičić, Mlađan Janović, Damjan Danilović, Aleksandar Ivović, Boris Zloković, Vladimir Gojković, Predrag Jokić, Miloš Šćepanović
European champions (women) – Russia: Valentina Voroncova, Natalija Šepelina, Eketarina Prokofjeva, Sofija Konuh, Alena Vulegžanina, Nadežda Gluzina, Ekaterina Pantjulina, Evenija Soboljeva, Oleksandra Karpovič, Olga Beljaeva, Elena Smurova, Olga Turova, Jevgenija Protsenko