The draw for the 34th European Championships has been made in Budapest this evening. The competition will be held in the Danube Arena in Budapest in January (12-26).
The 16 teams will take part in the men’s competition, while 12 teams will battle for medals at the women’s tournaments.
“The groups of death” at the men’s tournament will be Group A and Group D
Croatia and Montenegro are favourites in Group A, but other two teams – Germany and Slovakia might surprise
World champion Italy was drawn into Group D together with Greece, Georgia and France. The first competition day in this Group will bring the first big derby, an encounter between Italy and Greece.
Titleholder Serbia shouldn’t have a hard task in the Preliminary stage, as it will face Romania, Netherlands and Russia.
Host Hungary will be in the same group with the silver medallist at the 2019 World Championships Spain.
Germany, Slovakia , Croatia, Montenegro.
Romania, Serbia , Netherlands , Russia.
Malta , Turkey, Spain, Hungary.
France, Italy, Georgia, Greece.
The teams ranked 1st-4th in Barcelona 2018 (Serbia, Spain, Croatia, Italy) were seeded in the 1st batch of the draw for the men’s tournament. The teams placed 5th-8th in Barcelona were in the 2nd batch (Greece, Montenegro, Russia, Hungary). The winners of four qualification groups were in the third “pot” (Georgia, Slovakia, Romania, Turkey), while the 2nd-placed team in the qualification groups were in the 4th batch (Germany,France,Malta,Netherlands).
Competition formula, men’s tournament: The four group winners will advance to the quarterfinals. The 2nd-placed and the 3rd-placed teams will play in the playoffs for quarterfinals, while the 4th-placed sides will compete for the ranking 13th-16th place.
Rankings at the previous European Championships (Barcelona, 2018): 1. Serbia, 2. Spain, 3. Croatia, 4. Italy, 5. Greece, 6. Montenegro, 7. Russia, 8. Hungary, 9. Germany, 10. Netherlands, 11. Romania, 12. France, 13. Georgia, 14. Slovakia, 15. Turkey, 16. Malta.
The women’s teams were drawn into the two groups, which will be completed on 26 October, after the 2nd leg of the qualification playoffs.
The reigning champion, the team of Netherlands, will play in group B, along with the best European team at this year’s World Championships Spain (silver at the FINA World Championships). Host Hungary and silver medallists from the previous European Championships (Barcelona 2018) Greece are in group A.
Slovakia or Turkey*, Hungary, Greece , Czech Republic/Serbia*, Portugal /Croatia*, Russia.
Romania/Germany*, Netherlands , France/Ukraine*, Spain, Israel or Switzerland* , Italy.
(*winners of the qualification playoffs which will be completed on 26 October, by matches od the 2nd leg.
Results of the 1st leg: Slovakia-Turkey 19:9, Czech Republic -Serbia 6:25, Portugal – Croatia 13:14, Romania – Germany 14:13, France – Ukraine 20:1, Israel – Switzerland 13:6)
Netherlands and Greece, the finalists of the 2018 European Championships were in the 1st batch of the women’s draw. 2nd batch: Spain and Hungary (3rd and 4th place in Barcelona), 3rd batch: Russia and Italy (5th and 6th in Barcelona), 4th batch: teams coming from qualifications.
Competition formula, women’s tournament: Teams placed 1st-4th in the groups will qualify for the eight finals, the sides that take 5th and 6th places in the groups will play for the ranking 9th-12th.
Rankings at the previous European Championships (Barcelona 2018): 1. Netherlands, 2. Greece, 3. Spain, 4. Hungary, 5. Russia, 6. Italy, 7. France, 8. Germany, 9. Serbia, 10. Israel, 11. Croatia, 12. Turkey.
Dejan Savic, Serbia men’s head coach, as usual, told wittily:
“The draw is all good. If we finish first and will have a two-day break I might even have time to go back to Belgrade and continue the Christmas celebrations! To be a bit more serious, we need to see whom we play in the quarters, that is the most important match ”
Ivica Tucak, Croatia men’s head coach, wasn’t happy after the draw:
“I’m not happy as we have arranged a tournament for early January with Montenegro, Germany and France. Montenegro and Germany were drawn to our group so it seems we have to cancel this important preparation meet. Maybe we need to have these draws a bit earlier in the future.”
Vladimir Gojkovic, men’s head coach, Montenegro:
“This is a tough group, Croatia is the favourite, Germany had a very good World Championships and Slovakia also improved significantly. So the first phase is going to be really challenging already before we learn whom we’ll play in the knockout phase.”
Tamas Marcz, men’s head coach, Hungary:
“At first look, the draw seems fine for us. We’ve met Spain a couple of times recently, we know them, we know how much they have improved recently. For sure, a win would boost our chances as we would face Russia or perhaps Germany to get into the semi-finals.”
Fabio Conti, women’s technical director, Italy:
“I think the draw is good, we meet Spain in the group so it’s sure that we should not face them in the quarter-finals.”
(Quotes source: LEN)
(The first European Championships took place in Budapest in 1926. In Oslo in 1985, women competed for the first time)
1981 West Germany
1985 USSR (m) and Netherlands (w)
1987 USSR (m) and Netherlands (w)
1989 West Germany (m) and Netherlands (w)
1991 Yugoslavia (m) and Hungary (w)
1993 Italy (m) and Netherlands (w)
1995 Italy (m) and Italy (w)
1997 Hungary (m) and Italy (w)
1999 Hungary (m) and Italy (w)
2001 Yugoslavia (m) and Hungary (w)
2003 Serbia & Montenegro (m) and Italy (w)
2006 Serbia (m) and Russia (w)
2008 Montenegro (m) and Russia (w)
2010 Croatia (m) and Russia (w)
2012 Serbia (m) and Italy (w)
2014 Serbia (m) and Spain (w)
2016 Serbia (m) and Hungary (w)
2018 Serbia (m) and Netherlands (w)