Spain in the European Championships
Whereas the men’s Spanish National Team are awaiting their chance to win Gold in the European Water Polo Championships, a goal they haven’t been able to achieve yet, it is a familiar title for the women’s squad. Miki Oca’s team was able to savor the sweetness of success in the 2014 edition, that took place in Budapest.
The men’s team made its debut in the 2nd edition of the European Championships, held in Bologna in 1927. It was a huge learning lesson for the squad led by Francisco de S. Gilbert, that was unable to score a goal. They lost against France 5-0 during the qualifying stage and against Germany (9-0) in the repechage process.
It wasn’t until the 70’s that Spain would emerge as one of the best teams in the continent, which led to winning their first medal in 1983, with the legendary Manel Estiarte in their ranks. Out of the 4 medals conquered, Estiarte took part in 3 of them (Rome 1983 Bronze, Athens 1991 Silver, Stuttgart 1993 Bronze). The 4th was achieved in Belgrade in 2006 (Bronze), which also marks the team’s best result in these championships in the 21st Century. Nowadays, the team is placed 5th, after finishing on this position in the last tournament in Belgrade.
The Spanish National Team is 10th in the historical medal table, with 4 medals, a Silver a 3 Bronze.
The women’s Spanish water polo team, that has made up lost ground in just a few years, is currently one of the most prestigious teams in the world, especially after the triumph in London 2012, followed by Barcelona 2013 and finally Belgrade 2014.
The national team debuted in the championships hosted in Leeds in 1993, and their performance was very promising (9th). The squad, lead by Jordi Flaqué, played 6 games with a total of 2 victories, against Slovakia (14-1) and Switzerland (11-6), and 4 defeats.
Soon after that, the team experienced a rapid growth, and after 2 lost semifinals in Seville 1997 and Belgrade 2006, their first triumph before the 2014 gold medal arrived at the European Championships in 2008, held in Malaga. On this occasion the team won silver after losing 8-9 to Russia.
In the last edition of the event, Spain finished 4th after losing against Italy 10-9 in the bronze medal game. In the semifinals, the team led by Oca was defeated by the Netherlands in the penalty shout-out.