The audience of Budapest got a taste of the 17th FINA World Championships’ water polo tournament’s future atmosphere at the XIth Volvo Cup, where participating men’s teams of the World Championships tuned to summer mood.
The latest Olympic silver medalist Croatia, the European Championships silver medalist Montenegro, Hungary, and Slovakia took a part in the traditional international men’s tournament held in Hungary every February.
Back in Rio last year, the Montenegrin national team stopped Hungary from qualifying to the Olympic semi-final. Their roster has changed since the Games, they became younger. Is not a coincidence however, that the captain of Montenegro, Vladimir Gojkovic expressed satisfaction about their Volvo Cup performance.
There will be 16 men’s teams competing at the FINA World Championships. Serbia will arrive to Budapest as the current defending champion, Olympic champion, European champion and World League winner.
Classes and class performances
Among a number of top international players, Sandro Sukno of Croatia played at the XIth Volvo Cup in Budapest:
‘We have a lot of youngsters on the team in addition to the few experienced players. Burić and Josip Pavic are no longer on the national squad following the Rio Olympics. Right now, about twenty players are taking part in the World Championships preparations, I think that we will have the chance to be a medalist team in Budapest this summer.’
Aleksandar Ivović from Montenegro flashed his skills over the weekend at the Volvo Cup, Attila Decker from Hungary showed the fans some incredible saves against Croatia.
The next generation
Stefan Vidovic, who plays in Jadran Herceg Novi in Montenegro, was on fire against the Hungarian national team this time. He scored four goals and played excellent in defense. With this spectacular Volvo Cup performance, he might have just secured his place for the 17th FINA World Championships’ roster.
Montenegro has led by 7, Croatia has led by 5 goals against Hungary, but while the former kept the lead and beat the Magyars, the latter lost the game.
Excitement, comebacks, ups and downs and even many, many, more beautiful goals – all characterized the XIth Volvo Cup and will characterize the 17th FINA World Championships’ water polo tournament this July at the Alfréd Hajós Swimming Complex in Budapest.
The attraction of the home team
In Hungary, the water polo is a national sport, so full house is guaranteed. The Hungarian team has a new head coach Tamas Märcz, who made many changes on the team roster following the Rio Olympics. What can this new, rejuvenated home squad achieve at the World Championships? We still don't know but all the players and the coach hope that hard work will take the results during the summer.
During the 2014 European Water Polo Championships in Budapest, more than 6,000 spectators filled the stands. This number will rise this summer and the atmosphere will be even more magical as the Alfréd Hajós Complex will have even higher seating capacity at the World Championships.