Teams considered favourites before the qualification tournaments all passed the respective tests and advanced to the Men’s European U19 Water Polo Championships, to be held in Podgorica (MNE) in September.
Group A (Bucharest): 1. Romania 6, 2. Germany 3, 3. Bulgaria 0
Group B (Tbilisi): 1. Georgia 7 (+21), 2. Turkey 7 (+14), 3. Ukraine 3, 4. Lithuania 0
Group C (Kosice): 1. France 12, 2. Slovakia 7 (+21), 3. Czech Republic (–4), 4. Slovenia 3, 5. Switzerland 0
Group D (Malta): 1. Netherlands 9, 2. Malta 6, 3. Great Britain 3, 4. Finland 0.
Top two ranked sides qualified from each group.
In Group A only the clash of the two advancing teams Germany and Romania offered some thrills – host Romania beat its rival in a tough encounter 6-5.
Turkey was heavily challenged by the Ukrainians on an opening day in Group B. Indeed, the team which had prepared for this event in Hungary for well-known reasons led for three periods but the Turks had more energy for the final period and scored five goals to turn the game and secure the crucial win. Then they played a spectacular 14-14 draw with host Georgia – despite Doruk Demirel’s heroic efforts, he scored 8 goals, the Georgians managed to equalise 31 seconds from time and finished first with a better goal difference.
Goal difference decided the second qualifying berth in Group C between arch-rivals Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The Czechs came back from 4-7 down to save the game to a surprising 7-7 tie but the favourite Slovaks had a way better goal difference at the end of the tourney (+21 versus –4) which sent them through behind France which won all four matches convincingly.
The Netherlands ruled Group D claiming three easy victories while host Malta had a tighter contest against Great Britain but prevailed in the end by 9-6.
The draw for the championships will be conducted at the LEN Extraordinary Congress in Cascais (POR) on 14 May. The women’s event is due on 4-11 July in Netanya (ISR), while the men’s event shall take place in Podgorica (MNE) on 18-25 September.