Tue. Nov 30th, 2021

The eight men’s teams that are touted to win the competition have performed as expected in the first matchday of Barcelona 2018. Some underdogs were close to clinching a surprising result, such as France that lost against Montenegro by a two-goal difference (8-6), who are the champions of this season’s World League, while other teams showed their progress, like Georgia and Slovakia, but it still was not enough to beat the strongest teams in the competition.

Serbia, winners of the previous edition of the European Water Polo Championships, triumphed over Romania with a somewhat lackluster performance in a game that finished 11-5. Milos Cuk proved vital for the Serbian side just like two years ago in the Championships that took place in Serbia.

Moving on, with six goals from their star player, Ioannis Fountoulis, Greece took the victory against Turkey in a landslide that ended 27-1. The Turkish goal was scored just two minutes into the game, but after that they remained goalless for the remaining 30 minutes of play

Hungary on the other hand had all of their stars in the pool in a match that ended up being more complicated than expected against Georgia, who are making just their third appearance at the European Championships. The Hungarian side, which took the crown home in the World Championships that were disputed in Barcelona in both 2003 and 2013, remain as solid candidates to the gold medal in a city that has become somewhat of a lucky charm for them.

Ante Vukicevic, one of the superstars in international water polo, lead the way with four goals (two penalties) as Croatia, current world champions, beat the Netherlands side. Without their main star, Sandro Sukno, who recently had a heart surgery, but with most of the members of the squad that won the World Championships in 2017, Xavi García’s Croatia won 15-8.

In Russia’s game, in which they won 12-6 against Slovakia, Ivan Nagaev and Stepan Andryukov took the spotlight as they both beat the goalkeeper on four occasions. Meanwhile in Italy’s game, the Spanish born players “Settebello” Gonzalo Echenique scored two goals while Guillermo Molina netted once in a match in which they beat Germany 14-1.

In the last match of the day the hosts, Spain, joined the other seven strongest teams by winning their match as was predicted. They claimed the three points after beating Malta, one of the weakest teams in the competition, 21-4. Their next game against France, who performed well today lead by their captain Ugo Crousillat, will begin to shape up the positions in the group previous to the next stage of the competition.