The Greece women’s water polo team did not have any notable result in the 90’s, but achieved some great ones in the 2000’s, like the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics and the gold medal at the 2011 FINA World Championships. The Galanolefki, however, have not won any medals in a major international tournament since 2012, they even failed to qualify for the last two Olympic Games, so it would be a big surprise, if they got close to the podium at the 17th FINA World in Budapest.
There are a couple of favourites for the medals at the women’s water polo tournament of the 17th FINA World Championships. The Greeks are not necessarily among them, but the team of Giorgos Morfesis is capable of achieving a good result.
Women’s water polo in Greece started to improve in the late 90’s, although they already took part in the 1989 European Championships, which was their first major international tournament. They finished in 7th place three times in a row at the ECH, before grabbing the 4th place in 1995.
They participated at the FINA World Championships in 1998 for the first time in Perth, where they finished 6th.
The Greeks had not managed to win a medal in any major tournaments until 2004, when they hosted the Olympic Games in Athens. The fanatic Greek fans helped the team of Koulis Iosifidis reaching the final, beating one of the favourites Australia 6-2 in the semi final. In the gold medal match they were defeated by Italy after extra time. The Greeks were of course a little bit disappointed right after the final, but they can be still very proud of one of their best results in history.
The Galanolefki (The Blue-white), led by world class player Antigoni Roumpesi, became a favourite in the big tournaments of the 2000’s, and won the gold medal at the 2005 World League Superfinal, after qualifying only in 4th place from the preliminaries.
Regarding the FINA World Championships, the Greeks were very close to the podium in 2009, but they lost the bronze final against Russia in Rome. Two years later in Shanghai, however, the big breakthorugh finally arrived: after beating the Netherlands and Italy they overcame China in the final, winning the gold medal!
The Ethniki – the other nickname of the team – added two silver medals at the European Championships (2010, 2012) and three bronze medals in the World League (2007, 2010, 2012), but they have failed to win any medals since 2012. They managed to qualify for the Olympics in 2008 for the last time, and have been far from the podium at the FINA World since their heroic win in 2011.
The Greeks will play in group D at the 2017 FINA World Championships against Australia, Russia and Kazakhstan, and presumably they will not have any problems with qualifying to the knockout phase, since the team finishing in third place will still go through. Giorgos Morfesis have some talented players like Eleni Kouvdou, Alexandra Asimaki, Christina Tsoukala, as well as some young talented players, but their former hero Antigoni Roumpesi retired after the 2016 European Championships, so it will not be easy to achieve a good result.
The women’s water polo tournament will be held from 16 to 28 July in the Alfréd Hajós Pool at the 2017 FINA World Championships.
Greece women’s water polo team at the FINA World Championships
Gold medalist (2011)
Semi finalist (2009)