Hungary is the No. 1 medal hunter
stories from Belgrade – 2
Belgrade (LEN) No other nation has grabbed more medals in the history of the European Water Polo Championships as Hungary. In the men’s edition the twelve-time European Champion collected altogether 23 medals in 30 editions since 1926 (12-6-5). The last one was a silver, they grabbed it in 2014 as the hosts in Budapest, when the Hungarian capital staged the championships for the fourth time (also a record).
Also, in the women’s tournament the Magyars lead the cumulative medal ranks. In addition to two gold medals the team earned five silver and five bronze medals since 1985, when they started in Oslo as runner-up. At the last edition in 2014, in front of their home crowd on the Margaret Island in Budapest, they finished third.
Altogether Hungary earned 35 medals in men’s and women’s championships to date. Followed by Serbia (former Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro) with 20 medals, all clinched in the men event. Italy and Russia (including the former USSR) earned 19 apiece, men and women combined.
Men: two matches ended in 1-0, one saw 35 goals
A result of 1-0 in a water polo match is very unusual, but it happened in the history of the European Water Polo Championships in the men’s event even twice. And both matches have been played by countries which are no more existing.
When 1962 the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) was the host of the championships in Leipzig the home team met the former Yugoslavia which beat them 1-0 in the final round. At the end Yugoslavia finished third, the GDR came fourth.
Four years later in Utrecht (NED), the GDR reached the final round again, this time they faces the Soviet Union and once more they lost 0-1. The USSR took gold and the GDR got silver, the latter one was the only medal the former East Germans earned in water polo at the European Championships.
Poor success took its toll on attackers for a couple of times more in 1966 when none of the final round matches saw more than three goals. Beside the above mentioned 0-1, GDR beat Italy 2-1, Yugoslavia achieved the same result against Italy and tied 1-1 against the USSR.
But however in that time a match was played with four periods of five minutes. In the 4x7min era a final contested by Hungary and Yugoslavia stands out from 1997 (the Magyars won 3-2), now with playing time extended to 4×8 minutes, such low-scoring games are no longer witnessed.
The matches with the most goals have been played in the preliminary round of the 1991 championships. In Athens 35 goals were netted in the match when Romania thrashed Denmark 26-9, and one goal less was scored when Spain beat Great Britain 28-6.
Women records: between 6 and 38 goals
Since the inauguration of the European Water Polo Championships for women in 1985 in Oslo the match with the most goals ever was played there. The eventual European Champion Netherlands destroyed Sweden 37-1. In Eindhoven 2012 Germany and Spain came very close to this goal record, when Spain won 22-12. On the contrary to the mens records, the match with the lowest number of goals was played in 1991 in Athens when France upended Great Britain 4-2.
So far 1.604 matches played
With 100 matches (56 for men and 44 for women) the schedule at the 32nd European Water Polo Championships in Belgrade is the busiest ever in the history of the championships. Before the opening match in the men’s tournament the final of 2014 featuring Serbia and Hungary was exactly match No. 1.250 since the inauguration of the championships 1926 also in Budapest. In the women’s tournament 354 have been played since 1985. Altogether 1.604 matches took place at the Europeans in 90 years.