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Spain Triumph: Historic European Water Polo Gold
- Updated: January 17, 2024
Spain Secures Historic European Gold in Water Polo Clash
Spain clinched a remarkable victory against reigning champion Croatia in the European men’s water polo championships, winning 11-10. The flawless 3-0 final quarter performance led Spain to their first crown after reaching the finals four times. Alvaro Granados, crowned Most Valuable Player, played a pivotal role, scoring three crucial goals, including the match-winner. Croatia, aiming for a third title, couldn’t hold their lead, and Spain’s magical final eight minutes secured their historic win.
Crowning Glory for Spain’s Granados
Alvaro Granados showcased his brilliance, leading Spain to their first European water polo title. Despite Croatia’s early lead, Granados, with 21 goals in the tournament, played a key role in the final’s turnaround. Spain’s victory avenged their first-day penalty shootout loss to Croatia, balancing the scales and securing their first gold medal after previous silver and bronze achievements.
Italy Claims Bronze with Convincing Win
In the bronze-medal final, Italy dominated outgoing world champion Hungary with a stunning 12-7 victory. Italy’s strong performance, leading 8-3 after the first two periods, marked their 13th medal, including three golds. Andrea Fondelli’s three goals propelled Italy to a well-deserved bronze, setting the stage for future competitions.
Other Results and Standings
Greece secured fifth place by defeating Montenegro 15-10, with Konstantinos Genidounias scoring four goals. Serbia finished seventh with an 18-7 victory over Romania. Despite Serbia’s earlier leap from the second division, they faced disappointment against Hungary in the quarterfinals, losing 15-14 in a penalty shootout.
Olympic Qualification Drama
While Spain celebrated their European gold, both Spain and Croatia, the finalists, lacked Olympic qualification. Croatia now faces the challenge of qualifying through the World Aquatics Championships in Doha. The intensity of the final was amplified by the Olympic qualification stakes, adding an extra edge to the thrilling clash.
Serbia’s Bittersweet Journey
Serbia’s journey included triumphs and setbacks, marked by defeating Olympic host France 14-10 but falling to Hungary in the quarterfinals. Despite winning their group in Dubrovnik, Serbia couldn’t secure an Olympic berth. Dusan Mandic emerged as Serbia’s top scorer with 19 goals, reflecting the team’s mixed fortunes.
Road to Paris Olympic Games
The qualified teams for the Paris Olympic Games include France (host), Hungary (world champion), Greece (world championship silver medallist), Japan (Asian Games champion), United States of America (Pan Am champion), South Africa (African qualifier), Australia (Oceania qualifier), and Spain (European qualifier). Three additional berths will be determined in Doha, with Croatia, Italy, Montenegro, and Serbia expected to compete fiercely for a spot in the thrilling Olympic water polo competition.
Water Polo: Europe’s Doha Showdown
The focus now shifts to the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, where the last three European teams will vie for Olympic qualification. The race for Paris promises to be a captivating competition as these water polo powerhouses strive to secure a place on the grand Olympic stage.
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By- Sahiba Suri