The year packed with many competitions for the national teams is coming to an end.
But the calendar of international water polo events for 2023 is also full of big events. Qualifiers for the World Cup begin in March. The final tournament of the World Cup and the World Championships in Fukuoka will be held during the summer. The European Championships and the Pan American Games are scheduled for October.
The clubs will play many games in domestic and LEN competitions. Therefore, there will be few available dates for the preparations of the national teams in the pre-Olympic year.
Because of that, the national teams have to make the most of a short Christmas and New Year break in the clubs’ competitions and start preparing for 2023.
Let us see what the best men’s national water polo teams will do around the world in the next ten days. Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Serbia, the USA, Hungary, Montenegro, and France have started or will start their preparations soon. We collected information about their plans and the players who will take part in these activities.
The most interesting event will be a three-nation tournament in Texas, but there will be several friendly matches between water polo powerhouses in Europe, too.
Three reigning champions will play at a three-nation tournament in Texas. Pan American champion Team USA will host world champion Spain and Olympic gold medalists Serbia. The double round-robin tournament will be held between December 28 and January 3 (December 29 – January 4 CET).
Spain is coming to Texas with 15 players. Head coach David Martin called up some younger players while several experienced aces will rest. Felipe Perrone, Alberto Munarriz, Miguel de Toro, Martin Famera, Eduardo Lorrio, Alberto Barroso don’t travel to the USA. Blai Mallarach, who didn’t play at the European Championships, is back on the team. He will be one of the key players of the team in Texas, along with Alvaro Granados, Unai Aguirre, Bernat Sanahuja.
Spain – Goalkeepers: Unai Aguirre (Barceloneta, Jose Maria Motos (Terrassa), Field players: Marc Larumbe, Unai Biel, Alejandro Bustos, Niko Paul, Roger Tahull (all Barceloneta), Oscar Asensio, Blai Mallarach, Marc Valls (Barcelona), Sergi Cabanas, Bernat Sanahuja, Fran Valera (all Sabadell), Biel Gomila (Catalunya), Alvaro Granados (Novi Beograd).
As we already published, Serbia’s new head coach Uros Stevanovic picked 18 players. Dusan Mandic, the winner of the 2021 Total Player Award, skips the American tour. According to an agreement with Stevanovic, he will miss the preparations because he had a long season and will rest.
After four years, Ferencvaros’ center-forward Nemanja Ubovic returns to the national team. Novi Beograd’s goalkeeper, Radoslav Filipovic and Marko Dimitrijevic (Partizan) are newcomers.
Serbia – Goalkeepers: Branislav Mitrovic (Vasas), Lazar Dobozanov (Radnicki), Radoslav Filipovic (Novi Beograd). Field players: Nikola Jaksic (Novi Beograd), Sava Randjelovic (Vasas), Radomir Drasovic (Novi Beograd), Nemanja Vico (Radnicki), Djordje Lazic (Brescia), Nemanja Ubovic (Ferencvaros), Strahinja Rasovic (Novi Beograd), Marko Radulovic (Radnicki), Djordje Vucinic (Novi Beograd), Ognjen Stojanovic (Sabac), Luka Pljevancic (Radnicki), Filip Jankovic (Radnicki), Vasilije Martinovic (Novi Beograd), Vuk Milojevic (Crvena Zvezda), Marko Dimitrijevic (Partizan).
There are 21 players on Team USA’s list of players for the tournament and preparations. Most of them play in European clubs, such as the best scorer of the World Championships Alex Bowen (Noisy-le-Sec), Champions League winner Ben Hallock (Pro Recco), Hannes Daube (who will soon debut for Marseille), and others. The team is experienced, all aces are in Texas, but head coach Dejan Udovicic called up some young guys who haven’t played for the senior national team yet – George Avakian, Ryder Dodd, and Quinn Woodhead.
Team USA – Goalkeepers: Drew Holland (Peristeri), Adrian Weinberg (University of California,Berkeley), Jack Turner (Mataro); Field players: Tyler Abramson (Posillipo), George Avakian (University of California,Berkeley), Alex Bowen (Noisy-le-Sec), Luca Cupido (Barcelona), Hannes Daube (Marseille), Chase Dodd (UCLA), Ryder Dodd (Jserra High School), Thomas Dunstan (Pays d’Aix), Jake Ehrhardt (University of Southern California), Matt Farmer (Vouliagmeni), Ben Hallock (Pro Recco), Johnny Hooper (Telimar Palermo), Max Irving (Telimar Palermo), Kacper Langiewicz (Kaposvar), Ben Stevenson (Posillipo), Marko Vavic (Barcelona), Dylan Woodhead (Vouliagmeni), Quinn Woodhead (Stanford Universty).
Schedule – December 28: USA – Serbia; December 29: Serbia – Spain; December 30: USA – Spain; January 1: Spain – Serbia; January 2: USA – Serbia; January 3: USA – Spain.
The first three matches will be played in Lewisville. After New Year’s Eve, the tournament will continue with three games in Dallas.
Hungary will start its preparations on January 1 in Budapest. A day after, the Hungarians will be joined by Croatia. The finalists of the European Championships will train together between January 2 and 4, while Hungary will finish its preparations on January 6.
Eighteen players are on head coach Zsolt Varga’s list. Compared to the roster at the European Championships in Split, Viktor Vadovics and Gyorgy Agh aren’t among the called players. Marton Vamos, who missed the European Championships due to injury, is back in the team, along with Zoltan Pohl, who competed at the 2022 World Championships but didn’t at the Europeans.
Denes Varga won’t participate in the first preparations in 2023, but it doesn’t mean that Zsolt Varga doesn’t count on Denes Varga in the future. The head coach explains that he wants to give more chances to younger players, while Denes Varga’s qualities are unquestionable.
Hungary – Goalkeepers: Soma Vogel, Danial Szakonyi (both Ferencvaros), Marton Levai (OSC Budapest). Field players: Daniel Angyal (OSC), Mate Aranyi (OSC), Gergely Burian (OSC), Gergo Fekete (Ferencvaros), Szilard Jansik (Ferencvaros), Akos Konarik (Vasas), Krisztian Manhercz (OSC), Erik Molnar (Ferencvaros) , Adam Nagy (Ferencvaros), Toni Nemet (Ferencvaros), Zoltan Pohl (Ferencvaros), Marton Vamos (Olympiakos), Vendel Vigvari (Ferencvaros), Vince Vigvari (OSC), Gergo Zalanki (Pro Recco).
After the preparations with Croatia, four young players will join the team for the last few days of the gathering in Budapest: Matyas Meszaros (BVSC), Akos Nagy (KSI), Peter Szalai (KSI), Zsombor Vismeg (Szolnok).
Two days ago, we published the Croatian national team would gather in Zagreb tomorrow. Head coach Ivica Tucak called up 18 players. The European champions will train with Montenegro for three days (December 27 – 29). They will play one official match on December 28. A newcomer to the national team is Goran Grgurevic.
Croatia – Goalkeepers: Marko Bijac (Olympiacos), Toni Popadic (Jug AO), Ivan Marcelic (Jadran Split); Field players: Ivan Krapic (Noisy-le-Sec), Branimir Herceg (Mladost), Goran Grgurevic (Jug AO), Rino Buric (Jadran), Matias Biljaka (Jug AO), Marko Zuvela (Jug AO), Luka Bukic (Jadran S), Loren Fatovic (Jug AO), Jerko Marinic Kragic (Jadran S), Ante Vukicevic (Marseille), Franko Lazic (Jug AO), Konstantin Kharkov (Brescia), Andrija Basic (Waspo 98 Hannover), Filip Krzic (Jug AO) and Dario Rakovac (Mladost).
Montenegro head coach Vladimir Gojkovic picked 18 players for the preparations in Zagreb. He decided to provide more chances to players from the Montenegrin clubs. The team is very young. Several experienced players who participated in the European Championships are missing: goalkeepers Dejan Lazovic and Petar Tesanovic, captain Marko Petkovic, Kanstantin Averka, Vladan Spaic, Bogdan Djurdjic, and Vlado Popadic, as well as an experienced defender Uros Cuckovic, who didn’t play in Split due to an injury.
Montenegro – Goalkeepers: Darko Djurovic, Ilija Radovic (both Jadran). Field players: Aleksa Ukropina (Radnicki), Dusan Banicevic (Sabadell), Miroslav Perkovic (Novi Beograd), Dusan Matkovic (Barceloneta), Savo Cetkovic (Novi Beograd), Aljosa Macic (Primorac), Luka Murisic Martin Gardasevic (Jadran HN), Danilo Radovic (Jadran HN), Vuk Draskovic (Primorac), Djordjije Stanojevic (Primorac), Andrija Korac (Budva), Marko Milic (Primorac), Marko Mrsic (Primorac), Vasilije Radovic (Jadran HN), Jovan Vujovic (Jadran HN)
Greece and Italy will train together in Piraeus starting today. The joint preparations end on December 29.
The two teams will play two official games (on December 27 and 29).
The hosts’ head coach Theodoros Vlachos picked 20 players. Among them are all key players. They already started training last week (December 22 and 23) in Piraeus. After a two-day break, they re-gathered today.
Greece – Goalkeepers: Emmanouil Zerdevas (Olympiacos), Panagiotis Tzortzatos (Vouliagmeni), Konstantinos Limarakis (Panionios); Field players: Ioannis Fountoulis, Konstantinos Genidounias, Giorgos Dervisis, Alexandros Papanastasiou, Kostas Gouvis, Nikos Gkillas (all Olympiacos), Stathis Kalogeropoulos, Dimitris Nikolaidis, Yannis Alafragis, Aristidis Chalivopoulos (all Vouliagmeni), Emmanouil Solanakis (Apollon Smyrnis), Costas Gkiouvetsis, Nikos Kopeliadis (both Panionios), Konstantinos Kakaris (Jug Dubrovnik), Angelos Vlachopoulos, Dimitrios Skoumpakis (both Novi Beograd), Stylianos Argyropoulos (Ferencvaros).
Italy’s head coach Alessandro Campagna counts on 18 players, headed by the freshly-crowned Total Player Francesco Di Fulvio. His teammate from Pro Recco Gonzalo Echenique, who missed the European Championships in Split, due to surgery, is on the roster again. Two players who competed in the European Championships and World Championships this year aren’t in Piraeus, Pro Recco’s Nicholas Presciutti, who was injured and didn’t play for Pro Recco in the last several games in 2022, and Brescia’s Vincenzo Dolce.
Italy – Goalkeepers: Marco Del Lungo (Pro Recco), Gianmarco Nicosia (Savona); Field players Filippo Ferrero (Ortigia), Gonzalo Echenique, Matteo Iochi Gratta (both Pro Recco), Francesco Cassia (Ortigia), Jacopo Alesiani (Brescia), Andrea Patchaliev (Savona) Giacomo Canella (Pro Recco), Vincenzo Renzuto Iodice (Brescia) , Lorenzo Bruni (Savona) Andrea Fondelli (Pro Recco), Luca Marziali (Spandau 04), Andrea Mladossich (Trieste), Luca Damonte (Ferencvaros), Francesco Condemi (Ortigia), Edoardo Di Somma (Brescia), Francesco Di Fulvio (Pro Recco).
France will train in the center INSEP in Paris (December 26 – January 3). Michael Bodegeas returned to the national team. Find out more.
France – Goalkeepers: Hugo Fontani (Strasbourg), Clement Dubois (Tourcoing), Anthony Rossi (Sete), Field players: Mehdi Marzouki (Tourcoing), Valentin Bakircilar (Pays d’Aix), Ugo Crousillat (Marseille), Charles Canonne (Tourcoing), Roman Marion-Vernoux (Marseille), Michael Izdinsky (Marseille), Andrea De Nardi (Marseille), Mathis Mas (Marseille), Alexandre Bouet (Marseille), Lorris Canovas (Strasbourg), Pierre-Frederic Vanpeperstraete (Marseille), Denis Guerin (Noisy-le-Sec), Drazen Kujacic (Tourcoing), Michael Bodegas (Marseille), Duje Zivkovic (Tourcoing), Emil Bjorch (Noisy-le-Sec).