Draw marathon sets up exciting showdowns

Photo: www.eurokinissi.gr / European Aquatics

The draws for the Champions League Women Final Four semis and the Euro Cup Men Quarter-Finals have been made, as well as the draws for the European Aquatics U19 Men Water Polo Championships Burgas 2024 and European Aquatics U19 Women Water Polo Championships Zagreb 2024. The highly-anticipated draw marathon, held in Barcelona, made sure the rest of the European club season will be absolutely thrilling.

The Champions League Women Final Four, to be held in Barcelona on 20-21 April, is set to be another celebration of Spanish water polo – though Olympiacos will arrive to spoil the party.

The Greeks need to overcome Mataro at first, as the two giants were paired in the semis.

Olympiacos, after winning the 2021 and 2022 editions, missed the F4 last year after Mataro had eleminated them in the quarters – so it’s going to be a mouthwatering rematch of that clash.

On paper, St Andreu topped the respective wishlists of the three top favourites.

Sabadell may seem lucky to have them for the semis, but in a one-game showdown anything can happen and the title-holders are very much aware of that.

Photo: European Aquatics

In the other women’s F4, in the Euro Cup, there was no draw as the ranks achieved in the Group Stage determined the semis.

Indeed, an all-Italian final is very much on the cards as both Trieste and Padova stood out in the previous phase.

The quarter-final draw for the men’s Euro Cup was the other highlight of today’s marathon.

Six teams coming from the Champions League Group Stage advanced from the Eight Finals, with two of them being paired in the Quarter Finals – Steaua and Sabadell, who had played in the same group a couple of months ago.

The Spaniards claimed two big wins there, so they are heavily favoured to make the semis.

In the other ‘all CL-clash’ Jug Dubrovnik and Crvena Zvezda should stage a spectacular contest – the Croatian v Serbian duels always have a special flavour anyway.

Two sides that battled through the Euro Cup Group Stage, Savona and Primorje will face another tough challenge respectively.

Savona, which ousted Jadran Herceg Novi, now face Spandau, while Primorje overcame Dinamo Tbilisi in the Eight Finals and will meet Vouliagmeni, last year’s sensation with a 4th place in the Champions League Final Eight.

Photo: European Aquatics

As for the U19 Europeans, the two-division format guarantees thrilling battles right away in all four groups.

In the men’s tournament, to be staged in Burgas in the first week of September, title-holders Serbia will face Italy and Greece, while the 2022 runners-up Spain are together with the bronze-medal winners Hungary, plus Croatia and Montenegro – so there won’t be a dull moment in those matches.

Photo: European Aquatics

It’s a similar story in the U19 women’s event, to be held in Zagreb in the last week of August.

2022 champions Spain are set to have two tougher contests, against Italy and the Netherlands, and perhaps an easier one versus Israel.

Runners-up Hungary are together with the bronze-medal winners Greece, alongside Croatia and France.

Photo: European Aquatics

Full draws details are as follows.

Champions League Women, Final Four, semis
(20-21 April 2024)

CN St Andreu (ESP) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)
Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Assolim Mataro (ESP)

Euro Cup Men, Quarter-finals (by brackets)
(Home legs 6 April, Away legs 27 April 2024
* Jug home leg will be played 9 April)

Rari Nantes Savona (ITA) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
Vouliagmeni NC (GRE) v Primorje Erste Bank Rijeka (CRO)

CSA Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)
Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)

Euro Cup Women, Semi-finals
(13-14 April 2024)

Plebiscito Padova (ITA) v BVSC-Zuglo (HUN)
Pallanuoto Trieste (ITA) v De Zaan (NED)

European Aquatics U19 Men Water Polo Championships Burgas 2024

Men (1-7 September, Burgas)

Group A: Croatia, Spain, Hungary, Montenegro
Group B: Greece, Serbia, Germany, Italy
Group C: France, Netherlands, Türkiye, Malta
Group D: Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechia

European Aquatics U19 Women Water Polo Championships Zagreb 2024

Women (24-31 August, Zagreb)

Group A: Hungary, Greece, Croatia, France
Group B: Italy, Netherlands, Israel, Spain
Group C: Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Switzerland
Group D: Türkiye, Germany, Bulgaria, Malta, Great Britain

Rewatch the draws and catch all the live water polo action – and replays – from across the continent on the European Aquatics YouTube channel.