Water polo fans in the Spaladium Arena and TV audiences worldwide will have an opportunity to watch many aces during the 35th European Championships.
But most coaches can’t count on all players they want to.
We picked the list of the top 10 players who miss the Men’s Championships due to injuries or because they need rest at the end of a packed season.
Serbia arrived without three Olympic champions. Even at the start of the summer preparations, head coach Dejan Savic and experienced goalkeeper Branislav Mitrovic agreed that Mitrovic would play only at the World Championships in Budapest. But, besides Mitrovic, center-forward Djordje Lazic and defender Nikola Jaksic stayed home because they still haven’t recovered from injuries.
Reigning European champion Hungary is without several players who competed in the World Championships. Among them are 2019 Total Player Denes Varga and Marton Vamos. The new head coach Zsolt Varga decided to give Denes Varga a rest because he played many matches during the clubs’ and the national teams’ seasons and underwent surgery early in 2022. Vamos is out because he is recovering from eye surgery.
Two Greek aces aren’t in Budapest – Ioannis Fountoulis and Emmanouil Zerdevas. Goalkeeper Zerdevas got injured at the World Championships and had to undergo surgery after the Budapest tournament. Fountoulis had chronic problems with his right hand, but he contributed to Greece’s bronze medal in Budapest. He was operated on after the WCH. Both are recovering.
Vamos isn’t the only excellent left-handed player who won’t play in Split. Italy is without Gonzalo Echenique (who underwent surgery after the World Championships), while Blai Mallarach isn’t on Spain’s roster. As head coach David Martin explained, Mallarach played too many games and needs a rest,
Ante Vukicevic, one of Croatia’s key players, misses the championships due to blood pressure.
But, although several aces are missing, a good and interesting tournament is expected. Many big stars are on the stage in Split.