The first international water polo competition in 2021 will be the Men’s World League European Final Qualification Tournament that will take place in Debrecen next week (January 8-10).
Eight teams will participate, while the top three will advance to the World League Super Final in Tbilisi (June 26 – July 2).
Late in December, all eight teams started their preparations for Debrecen. Most of the teams had a short break during the holidays, but they are all back in the water from this weekend. Each team is allowed to come to Debrecen with a 15-player roster (13+2). A head coach will pick 13 players that will compete at the tournament. Two players are reserves, who can join the team if some of the 13 picked players test positive for coronavirus after the arrival in Debrecen. Most of the rosters will be announced in the next few days. Greece coach Vlachos already determined the list of the players for the tournament.
Eight teams will play, but only seven compete for the three tickets for Tbilisi.
Serbia and Montenegro prepare jointly
Titleholder Serbia is coming to Debrecen, but it won’t defend the gold medal. In the first quarterfinal match (played on March 10), the Serbs were defeated by Spain, and they will battle for the 5th place in Debrecen. Serbia-Spain was the last official encounter between national teams before the suspension of the competitions due to the pandemic.
Serbia, the ten-time World League winner, started preparations on December 21. The first phase of work was finished on Tuesday. The Serbs continued training in Belgrade today. Some of the players who missed the first phase because of the obligations in their clubs joined the rest of the team. From January 3 to 6, Serbia will have joint preparations with Montenegro.
Head coach Dejan Savic called up 24 players – Goalkeepers: Branislav Mitrovic (Vasas), Gojko Pijetlovic (Oradea), Stefan Zivojinovic (Noisy-le-Sec), Lazar Dobozanov (Radnicki); field players: Nikola Jaksic (Ferencvaros), Sava Randjelovic (Vasas), Radomir Drasovic (Szolnok), Dusko Pijetlovic (Szolnok), DJordje Lazic (Brescia), Viktor Rasovic (Noisy-le-Sec), Dusan Mandic (Pro Recco), Nikola Dedovic (Spandau 04), Stefan Mitrovic (Partizan), Filip Filipovic (Szolnok), Andrija Prlainovic (Marseille), Nemanja VIco(Trieste), Ognjen Stojanovic, Petar Velkic, Djordje Vucinic (all Sabac), Milan Aleksic (Barceloneta), Strahinja Rasovic , Milos Cuk , Drasko Gogov (both Novi Beograd), Gavril Subotic (Crvena Zvezda).
Montenegro worked in Herceg Novi in the last week of December.
Head coach Vladimir Gojkovic called 26 players for the preparations in Herceg Novi, but one of them didn’t train because he has tested positive for coronavirus (Bogdan Djurdjic).
Gojkovic picked 18 players who are coming to Belgrade: Dejan Lazovic, Slaven Kandic (goalkeepers) Drasko Brguljan, Djuro Radovic, Marko Petkovic, Uros Cuckovic, Stefan Vidovic, Dimitrije Obradovic, Aleksandar Ivovic, Vladan Spaic, Vlado Popadic, Dusan Matkovic, Dusan Banicevic, Miroslav Perkovic, Savo Cetkovic, Aleksa Ukropina, Nikola Moskov.
We have already published that Croatia had gathered on December 27 and had had to stop the preparations earlier than it was planned because of the earthquake.
Croatia’s final preparations for the tournament in Debrecen started yesterday in Zagreb.
Ivica Tucak called up the same 20 players – Goalkeepers: Marko Bijac (Pro Recco), Ivan Marcelic (Mladost), Toni Popadic (Jug Adriatic osiguranje), field players:Marin Sparada (Solaris), Josip Vrlic (Mladost), Luka Loncar (Jug AO), Niksa Dobud (Pro Recco), Luka Lozina (Vouliagmeni), Andro Buslje (Mladost), Marko Macan (Waspo 98 Hannover), Rino Buric (Jadran), Hrvoje Benic (Jug AO), Lovre Milos (Mladost), Maro Jokovic (Brescia), Xavi Garcia (Jug AO), Luka Bukic (Mladost), Loren Fatovic (Jug AO), Ante Vukicevic (Marseille), Franko Lazic (Mladost), Zvonimir Butic (Jadran).
One of the 20 players didn’t come. Ante Vukicevic misses the preparations, and he stayed in Marseille, with Tucak’s permission, because his wife will give birth to a child in the next few days.
World champions in Camogli
World champion Italy has been training in the swimming pool in Camogli (near Genoa) since December 27.
Alessandro Campagna called up 24 players. A 28-year-old Simone Rossi (Ortigia) is called up to the national team preparations for the first time. Christian Napolitano and Mattia Antonucci returned to the “Settebello”.
Alessandro Campagna called up 24 players: Jacopo Alesiani, Giacomo Cannella, Marco Del Lungo, Edoardo Di Somma, Vincenzo Dolce, Vincenzo Renzuto (Brescia), Christian Napolitano, Simone Rossi (Ortigia), Michael Bodegas (Barceloneta), Matteo Aicardi, Francesco Di Fulvio, Oscar Gonzalo Echenique, Niccolo Figari, Pietro Figlioli, Stefano Luongo, Nicholas Presciutti, Alessandro Velotto (Pro Recco), Lorenzo Bruni, Andrea Fondelli (Savona), Francesco De Michelis, Matteo Spione (Roma Nuoto), Mattia Antonucci (Lazio), Luca Damonte, Gianmarco Nicosia (Telimar).
Hungary without Varga and Vamos
Hungary starts preparation today. The European champions will be in Budapest until January 5. On Wednesday, 15 players that will be picked by head coach Tamas Marcz will depart for Debrecen.
Denes Varga and Marton Vamos aren’t on Marcz’s list. The two stars were injured in the first half of the season. They returned to the water and have played for their team Feencvaros. But, they will miss the national team’s action in January and work individually until they fully recover.
Goalkeepers: Viktor Nagy (Szolnok), Soma Vogel (Ferencvaros), Marton Levai (OSC), Field players: Daniel Angyal (Szolnok), Bence Batori (Vasas) Balazs Erdelyi (OSC), Balazs Harai (OSC) , Norbert Hosnyanszky (Honved), Szilard Jansik (Ferencvaros), Akos Konarik (Szolnok), Gergo Kovács (Szolnok), Krisztan Manhercz (OSC), Tamas Mezei (FTC), Adam Nagy (Szolnok), Toni Nemet (Ferencvaros), Matyas Paszttor (BVSC), Zoltan Pohl, Tamas Sedlmayer , Vendel Vigvari (FTC), Gergo Zalanki (all Ferencvaros).
Spain, the only team which has already qualified for the semifinal, began the final phase of the preparation for Debrecen in Madrid today. The Spaniards trained in Tenerife for five days (December 26-30), and after a short break, they continued to work in the capital of Spain. On December 6, the team coached by David Martin will travel to Hungary.
Candidates for the tournament in Debrecen: Unai Aguirre (Barcelona), Oscar Asensio (Sabadell), Albreto Barroso (Terrassa), Alejandro Bustos (Barceloneta), Sergi Cabanas (Sabadell), Miguel Toro (Barceloneta), Adrian Delgado (Barcelona), Martin Famera (Barceloneta) Francisco Fernandez (Barceloneta), Gulliem Garcia (Mediterrani), Alvaro Granados (Barceloneta), Marc Larumbe (Barceloneta), Daniel Lopez Pinedo (Barceloneta), Eduardo Lorrio (Sabadell), Blai Mallarach Blai (Barceloneta), Alberto Munarriz (Barceloneta), Agustin Pericas (Terrassa), Felipe Perrone Felipe (Barceloneta), Bernat Sanahuja (Sabadell), Roger Tahull (Barcelona).
Alexandros Gounas left out of Greek team
Greece head coach Theodoros Vlachos already announced the 15-player roster for Debrecen. A total of od 23 players started preparation. In the first phase, the Greeks trained together with Romania in Piraeus (December 28-30). Yesterday, they started 4-day joint preparations with the USA team, also in Piraeus.
Many were surprised by Vlachos’ choice because a 31-year-old Alexandros Gounas (who moved from Olympiacos to Apollon this summer) isn’t on the roster. He has been a member of the national team since 2010. Besides, Dimitris Nikolaidis (Brescia) will miss the European World League Qualifications because of an injury.
Greece’s roster for Debrecen: Konstantinos Mourikis, Konstantinos Genidounias, Kostas Kapotsis, Marios Dervisis, Dimitris Skoumpakis, Stylianos Argyropoulos – Kanakakis, Emmanouil Zerdevas (Olympiacos) Kostas Gkiouvetsis, Efstathios Kalogeropoulos, Konstantinos Gouvis (Vouliagmeni), Costas Galanidis (Apollon Smyrnis), Ioannis Fountoulis (Ferencvaros), Angelos Vlachopoulos (Brescia), Christodoulos Kolomvos (Enka), Alexandros Papanastasiou (Jug).
France has been working in the National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance (INSEP) in Paris since December 27.
The French will go to Hungary on January 5.
Head coach Nenad Vukanic’s list of the players for the preparations: David Babic, Hugo Fontani, Nicolas Missy ( all Team Strasbourg), Alexandre Bouet, Adrien Vandamme, Steven Vitrant ( all FNC Douai), Alexandre Camarasa, Ugo Crousillat, Arshak Hovhannisyan, Romain Marion-Vernoux, Pierre-Frederic Vanpeperstraete, Thomas Vernoux (all Marseille), Charles Canonne, Clement Dubois (both Tourcoing), David Caumette, Mehdi Marzouki (both Noisy-le-Sec), Andrea De Nardi (Olympic Nice), Enzo Khasz (Pays d’Aix), Remi Saudadier (Spandau 04)
World League, Men’s European Final Qualification Tournament
Quarterfinals (January 8)
Montenegro – Croatia
France – Greece
Italy – Hungary
Played in March: Serbia – Spain 11:13 (Spain and Serbia will play each other on January 8, but that will be an unofficial match)
Semifinals (January 9)
For places 1st – 4th
Montenegro or Croatia – Italy or Hungary
Spain – France or Greece
For places 5th – 8th
Montenegro or Croatia – Italy or Hungary
Serbia – France or Greece
Final and other matches for the final rankings 1st – 8th places (January 10)
The Intercontinental qualifications will be held in Indianapolis (USA), April 26 – May 2. The top four teams will qualify for the final tournament.
June 26 – July 2
The tournament will be held in Tbilisi (Georgia).