The last summer competition for men’s national teams in 2021 begins tomorrow.
The European U17 Championships will take place in Malta between September 12 and 19. The venue is the Sports Complex in the city of Gzira.
This is the third edition of the European Championships for this age category to be held in Malta.
The first European U17 Championships was staged in 2008, but the history of the competition is longer. From 1983 to 2007, LEN organized 12 Men’s European Junior Championships for U18 teams. Since 2008, the players under the age of 17 have been playing at the junior championships. The European U19 Championships have been played since 1970, but, last year, that competition was canceled due to the COVID pandemic.
So far, seven Men’s European U17 Championships have been held and five teams have won titles. Hungary was the first-ever European U17 champion (in Belgrade in 2008). Reigning champion Italy has won two titles (in Stuttgart in 2010 and in Tbilisi in 2019). Montenegro has two golds, won in 2013 and 2017 (interestingly, Malta was the host when Montenegro won both gold medals). Croatia was the winner in Rijeka in 2011, and became the first and, so far, the only home team which won a gold medal. Serbia clinched the gold in 2015 when the European U17 Championship was part of the 1st European Games in Baku.
Two years ago, for the first time in the history of the Men’s U17 Europeans, there were no teams of the former Yugoslavia on the podium. Moreover, none of the three ex-Yu countries reached the semifinals in Tbilisi. Italy beat Spain in the final. Bronze went to Hungary, while Greece finished 4th.
Sixteen teams will play at the upcoming championships. They are split into four groups of four. The group winners will advance to the quarterfinals, while 2nd-placed and 3rd-placed will face off in the playoffs (eighth-finals).
Titleholder Italy was drawn into Group A. The champion’s biggest rival will be Montenegro. Besides the two teams, the Netherlands and Ukraine are in this group.
Spain, the runner-up in Tbilisi, will have a demanding task already on Day 1. Tomorrow, Spain and Croatia will face off in the big game of Group B. That duel will probably be decisive for 1st place because it’s hard to expect Malta and Romania to upset the two powerhouses.
The Hungarians are the heavy favorites in Group C, as their rivals will be Germany, Russia and Belarus. But, Russia and Germany can be tough opponents
The most interesting clash in Group D will be an encounter between two medal contenders – Greece and Serbia. Besides the Greeks and the Serbs, Georgia and Turkey were drawn into this group.
Group A: Italy, Montenegro, Netherlands, Ukraine.
Group B: Spain, Malta, Croatia, Romania.
Group C: Hungary, Germany, Russia, Belarus.
Group D: Greece, Serbia, Georgia, Turkey.
Group A: Montenegro – Ukraine (9:00), Netherlands – Italy (17:40)
Group B: Croatia – Spain (13:00), Malta – Romania (19:00)
Group C: Germany – Belarus (10:20), Russia – Hungary (16:20)
Group D: Serbia – Turkey (11:40), Georgia – Greece (15:00)
The knockout stage begins on September 15, with the playoffs (eighth-finals). The quarterfinals will be played a day later
Pairings for the playoffs (September 15)
PO1: 2A – 3C
PO2: 2C – 3A
PO3: 2B – 3D
PO4: 2D – 3B
Quarterfinals (September 16)
Winner PO1 – 1D
Winner PO2 – 1B
Winner PO3 – 1C
Winner PO4 – 1A
European U18 Championships
1983 (Istanbul, Turkey): Hungary
1985 (La Valetta, Malta): USSR
1987 (Athens, Greece): Yugoslavia
1989 (Istanbul, Turkey): Hungary
1991: not held
1993 (Veenendaal, Netherlands): Hungary
1995 (Esslingen, Germany): Yugoslavia
1997 (Maribor, Slovenia): Hungary
1999 (Sofia, Bulgaria): Croatia
2001 (Hagen, Germany): Hungary
2003 (Istanbul, Turkey): Serbia and Montenegro
2005 (Sofia, Bulgaria): Serbia and Montenegro
2007 (Gzira, Malta): Serbia
European U17 Championships
2008 (Belgrade, Serbia): Hungary
2010 (Stuttgart, Germany): Italy
2011 (Rijeka, Croatia): Croatia
2013 (Gzira, Malta): Montenegro
2015 (Baku Azerbaijan): Serbia
2017 (Gzira, Malta): Montenegro
2019 (Tbilisi, Georgia): Italy
Tbilisi 2019, final standings: 1. Italy, 2. Spain, 3. Hungary, 4. Greece, 5. Montenegro, 6. Serbia, 7. Germany, 8. Russia, 9. Croatia, 10. Georgia, 11. Netherlands, 12. Malta, 13. France, 14. Turkey, 15. Romania, 16. Slovakia.