Peristyle and water polo. At first, it sounds like a weird date, but if you found yourself nearby last night, you definitely made sure it was a winning combination. Magical and spectacular. Epithets followed one after the other because, in the world of water polo, such an event has not been seen so far, reports Slobodna Dalmacija. This was the first touch of the seemingly incompatible.
History in the service of sports – so the organizers announced the draw of groups for the European Water Polo Championship, which is scheduled from August 27 to September 10 in Split. What they promised, they fulfilled. The special occasion took place at the historic square in front of the Cathedral of St. Duje, where a wedding ceremony ended just before the start of the event. The happy newlyweds further complemented the already glamorous atmosphere.
There were also curious tourists. Everyone wanted to see what was going on at the Peristyle… and then it started. Ana Rucner opened with a cello performance. The official mascot of the European Water Polo Championship in Split, the seagull Roko, was then presented.
The program was hosted by Mirta Šurjak and Marko Šapit, with a live television broadcast. The central part of the event, the draw itself, started with the draw of groups for the women’s part of the tournament. Recall, both Russian national teams were eliminated from the tournament, so there were small changes in the strong groups.
The balls were drawn by two special guests. They were Josip Pavić, our celebrated water polo player, and today’s envoy of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. He was named the best player of the tournament 12 years ago when Croatia last hosted.
A touch of handball was brought in by Petar Metličić. Just as they should be, water polo and handball are the two most trophy-winning Croatian sports, they have delighted us countless times with their medals. Croatian water polo female players will play in a group with Germany, Hungary, Greece, the Netherlands, and Romania.
Photo: Miroslav Lelas/PIXSELL
The ladies had the advantage, followed by the group draw for the men’s squads. The balls were drawn by the legendary Blanka Vlašić and no less famous water polo player Deni Lušić.
Croatia will play in Group B with Greece, Malta, and France. It could have been easier, but also harder. Slobodna Dalmacija asked the coach Ivica Tucak for a comment.
”For me, this is the most difficult group. The Greeks are Olympic runners-up, and France is certainly the strongest team from the second pot. They have recently beaten Spain, and are growing and investing heavily as they are hosting the next Olympics. Of course, the group is only the first step. It remains to be seen which group we are crossing with”.
The goals of Croatian water polo players are always the highest.
”The wish is to go as far as possible, if possible to gold. I expect it will be a pleasure to play at the Spaladium Arena. I want it to be the wind in our backs to show our best version. Summer is crowded. We must first think about the World Cup, and then we will focus on the Euro”, said Tucak.
The anthem of the European Water Polo Championship called “Until the Last Breath” was also presented, and it was performed by Lidija Bačić, Goran Karan, and the klapa Sebenico.
The groups were formed as follows:
5. The Netherlands
4. The Netherlands
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