25th European Championship – Budapest (Hungary) 2001
Domination of the Balkans
This championship in the Hungarian capital, the first European championship in the new century and millennium, marks the beginning of a long period of domination by teams from south-eastern Europe, i.e. from the territory of the former Yugoslavia. In fact, from 2001 to 2018, all subsequent European Championship titles have gone to Serbia, Croatia, or Montenegro.
The best individual players
The best player of the European Championship was the captain of the winning team, Vladimir Vujasinović (Yugoslavia). The best goalkeeper of the tournament was Italian legend Francesco Attolico, while the top scorer in the men’s competition was Russia’s Aleksandr Jerišov with 21 goals. In the women’s competition, Danielle de Bruijn (Netherlands) scored the most goals with 15. The men’s gold medal went to FR Yugoslavia followed by Italy and Hungary. In the women’s competition, the top three teams were Hungary, Italy, and Russia.
European champions (men) – FR Yugoslavia: Aleksandar Šoštar, Petar Trbojević, Predrag Zimonjić, Dejan Savić, Danilo Ikodinović, Viktor Jelenić, Veljko Uskoković, Aleksandar Ćirić, Aleksandar Šapić, Vladimir Vujasinović, Nenad Vukanić, Branko Peković, Nikola Janović, Nikola Kuljača, Denis Šefik
European champions (women) – Hungary: Ildiko Sos, Zsuzsanna Tiba, Edit Sipos, Katalin Dancsa, Mercedesz Steiber, Kata Redei, Rita Dravusz, Erszebet Valkay, Aniko Pelle, Krisztina Szremko, Agnes Valkay, Andrea Toth, Agnes Primasz, Brigitta Szep, Anett Gyore
26th European Championships – Kranj (Slovenia) 2003
Unfortunately, the European Championship in Slovenia will be remembered mainly for the riots during the final match between the national teams of Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro. In the pool, everything was fine, sporting and correct, but in and around the stands it was not. At one point, the match was even interrupted for about 20 minutes until the police clarified the situation. The winner of the final was only decided in extra time.
The second smallest host country
After the Principality of Monaco and the city of Monte Carlo, which hosted the European Championships in 1947 immediately after World War II, Slovenia is the smallest country to host the continent’s best water polo teams. The women competed in the capital Ljubljana and the men in Kranj.
In the men’s competition, Serbia and Montenegro won gold, Croatia silver, and Hungary bronze, while in the women’s competition the top three national teams were Italy, Hungary, and Russia. The same three national teams as two years earlier, just in a different order. The top scorer of the European Championships was Aleksandar Šapić from Serbia with 20 goals.
European champions (men) – Serbia and Montenegro: Nikola Kuljača, Slobodan Nikić, Živko Gocić, Vanja Udovičić, Dejan Savić, Danilo Ikodinović, Viktor Jelenić, Vladimir Gojković, Aleksandar Ćirić, Aleksandar Šapić, Vladimir Vujasinović, Predrag Jokić, Boris Zloković, Denis Šefik, Filip Filipović.
European champions (women) – Italy: Francesca Conti, Martina Miceli, Carmela Allucci, Silvia Bosurgi, Gabriella Sciolti, Manuela Zanchi, Tania Di Mario, Cinzia Ragusa, Giusi Malato, Alexandra Araujo, Maddalena Musumeci, Melania Grego, Noemi Toth, Erika Lava, Daniela Lavorini