Malta and Turkey, 15th and 16th in the latest European Water Polo Championships held in Belgrade, were the only top seeds to not claim victories in the first leg of the final play-off that will unveil the final eight teams that will take part in the men’s tournament of the 33rd LEN European Water Polo Championships Barcelona 2018.

The Maltese squad suffered a narrow defeat against Belarus in Minsk (8-7), but will have a chance to stage a comeback next Saturday in Gzira. The Turks will also have everything on their side to claim a triumph in Istanbul after today’s draw against Ukraine.

Except for Malta and Turkey, the teams ranked 9th to 16th in Belgrade proved their superiority with clear victories. The Netherlands, for instance, took the game by 21 goals against Lithuania, Romania by 15 against the Czech Republic and Germany by 19 in Poznan (Poland).

All results:

The Netherlands-Lithuania              28-7

Portugal-Slovakia                            4-16

Belarus-Malta                                  8-7

Poland-Germany                             2-21

Romania-Czech Republic               20-5

Georgia-Israel                                 12-1

Ukraine-Turkey                                8-8

France-Switzerland                         18-1

Women’s category:

France-Switzerland                         19-1

All second leg clashes will be held on March 3rd. The eight winners will seal their pass to Barcelona 2018. The squads that have already qualified for the final are: Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Greece and Spain.

The second match between France and Switzerland in the women’s category will also take place on March 3rd, along with the other five women’s play-offs.

Photo credit: Beeldboot / Gertjan Kooij