Former giants to clash in Zagreb
The last qualifying round in the men’s water polo Euro Cup promises some sharp Hungarian-Italian duels between the respective teams from Budapest and Naples, however, in Zagreb the two Croatian sides will also have a word or two.
No one could have created any tougher group at this phase than the one came together in Zagreb. Three days of hell await the participants in the famous pool of Mladost as all four sides have a fine chance to go through.
Interestingly, these clubs were the rulers in Europe not so long ago: host Mladost (CRO) won the Champions League seven times between 1968 and 1996, fellow Croatian side POSK also clinched the trophy in 1999, Posillipo (ITA) triumphed three times (the last one dates back to 2005, and won the Euro Cup in 2015) and BVSC (HUN) came third in the Final Four in 2000. Though the glorious days might not come back soon, still, these teams belong to the elite circles in the respective domestic leagues and will produce thrilling clashes in the weekend.
The other group might not offer the same excitements as the other famous clubs from Naples, Canottieri (ITA) and from Budapest, Hungary’s old-new force, Ferencvaros – featuring a handful of international stars contracted in the summer – seem to stand out.
In fact, these two also have some old triumphs to be proud of: Canottieri won the Champions League (Champions Cup then) in 1978 while Ferencvaros is a four-time winner of the once second-ranked series, the Cup Winners Cup. Their rivals, Pays (FRA) and Terrassa (ESP) should give their very best to prevent the two greats from going through.
Euro Cup, Qualification Round II
Group E – Zagreb (CRO)
HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO)
POSK Split (CRO)
CN Posillipo Napoli (ITA)
BVSC-Zuglo Budapest (HUN)
Group F – Naples (ITA)
Canottieri Napoli (ITA)
FTC Budapest (HUN)
Pays D’Aix Natation (FRA)
CN Terrassa (ESP)
The top two sides from each group will advance to the quarter-finals where they will be paired with the four losers of the Champions League third qualification round.