Draw marathon – summer excitements guaranteed

A draw marathon was held in Sabadell, on the site of the Champions League Women Final Four. Streamed live, the groups for the men and women qualification tournaments for the 2024 European Water Polo Championships were sorted, as well as for the age-group championships, all four scheduled for this summer.

After the welcome speech of LEN Vice-President Kyriakos Giannopoulos, LEN TWPC Chair Angel Moliner “orchestrated” the draws and young players of the respective Spanish age-group national teams pulled the balls out of the bowls.

The qualification tournaments for the 2024 European Water Polo Championships in Netanya drew special attention as the men’s round will feature Olympic champion Serbia. In that respect, Slovakia and Turkiye may be considered the unluckiest entrants as they have to face the top team and, most probably, only one of them can make the cut for January 2024.

The age-group championships will be played in a new format, teams were divided to Level 1 and Level 2, based on the rankings obtained in the previous editions of the respective U15 and U17 events. The top eight sides will play in groups A and B, while the others in C and D (plus E and F in the boy’s U15 edition). The best ranked teams from Level 2 can challenge the teams finishing 3rd and 4th in the Level 1 ‘division’ – the winners of these crossover matches will qualify for the quarter-finals (while the top two in Level 1 will advance directly to the QFs).

“Thanks to this new system, teams can play great matches against rivals on a similar level during the whole tournament” Vice-President Kyriakos Giannopoulos said after the draws. “Even those who usually finish at the lower ranks can stay till the end of the tournament and play exciting matches. This serves the young players much better on the long run.”

“We have twenty-six nations entered to the tournaments, so we can say that now half of Europe are involved to water polo action, which is tremendous development for our sport” LEN Bureau Member and WP Liaison Milos Mracevic added. “Just look at the draw of the U15 Europeans, 26 teams will play in Podgorica – these boys are the future of European water polo.”

“Following the other team sports, we’ve decided the expand the women’s tournament of the senior European Championships to 16 teams, to have equal numbers with the men, this is a huge step forward” said the other WP Bureau Liaison Fernando Carpena.

LEN shall communicate the daily schedules of the respective championships and the qualification tournaments in due time.

Draws

2024 European Water Polo Championships, Qualifications

Men (23-25 June 2023)

Group A (in Netherlands): Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal

Group B (in Malta): Germany, Malta, Ukraine, Bulgaria

Group C (in Turkiye): Serbia, Slovakia, Turkiye, Great Britain

Group D (host Slovenia): Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Finland

Group winners and the three best ranked teams shall qualify.

Qualified teams for the Championships in Netanya (3-16 January):

Croatia, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Montenegro, Georgia, Israel (Organiser)

Women (23-25 June 2023)

Group A (in Bulgaria): Slovakia, Malta, Bulgaria

Group B (in Romania): Romania, Switzerland, Turkiye, Sweden

Group C (in Serbia): Serbia, Ukraine, Czech Republic

Group D (in Portugal): Germany, Portugal, Finland, Great Britain

The top two ranked teams from each group shall qualify.

Qualified teams for the Championships in Netanya (3-16 January):

Spain, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Hungary, Israel, France, Croatia

European U17 Water Polo Championships

Men (8-14 August, Manisa, TUR)

Group A: Hungary, Spain, Montenegro, Croatia

Group B: Serbia, Greece, Italy, Netherlands

Group C: France, Romania, Poland, Turkiye

Group D: Malta, Georgia, Germany, Ukraine

Women (29 July–5 August, Manisa, TUR)

Group A: Hungary, Italy, Spain, Croatia

Group B: Greece, Netherlands, France, Israel

Group C: Slovakia, Malta, Romania, Switzerland

Group D: Serbia, Ukraine, Great Britain, Ireland, Turkiye

European U15 Water Polo Championships

Men (8-16 July, Podgorica, MNE)

Group A: Spain, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro

Group B: Croatia, Greece, Serbia, Turkiye

Group C: Malta, Moldova, Bulgaria, Lithuania

Group D: France, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Israel, Ireland, Netherlands

Group E: Georgia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Germany

Group F: Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Czech Republic

Women (24-30 June, Zagreb, CRO)

Group A: Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia

Group B: Spain, Greece, Israel, Netherlands

Group C: Czech Republic, Ireland, Ukraine, Romania

Group D: Turkiye, Slovakia, Germany