Just like the men’s European qualifiers back in January, the women’s World League qualification round on the Old Continent will be finished in Hungary this week.
In early January, the men’s remaining matches kicked off FINA action again after a painfully long pause of 303 days. A series of thrilling clashes highlighted the tournament in Debrecen (HUN) – now the Magyar capital Budapest welcomes the women’s teams to finish the business started late in 2019 and suspended because of the pandemic after 23 February 2020.
Here the playing format differs as a round robin tournament determines the four qualifying teams to the Super Final – though this week will not see all remaining matches played. As we are still in the shadow of the coronavirus, two teams opted to stay away: Italy and France notified FINA that they cancelled their participation.
This created a special situation as host Hungary would have faced these two sides – still, the federation decided to go on with staging the tournament as this way its national team and its Universiade team could play a series of test matches against top-level opponents.
Once we managed to qualify to Tokyo, we have to grab all opportunities to improve our team so it would have been a big mistake if not a sin if we had let this tournament go
“Playing with the Netherlands, Spain and Greece is a golden chance to build the team, test the players, practice tactical elements in high intensity matches. I’ll bet all other coaches are happy to have an event like this.”
However, four teams will have some tough moments when they try to book one of the three remaining spots available (with the forfeited matches awarded with 5-0 to the teams being present, the Hungarians already advanced as they had a great run till last February, winning three and losing only one, by penalties).
View CURRENT RANKINGS
The Dutch faces three tough encounters – one is going to particularly interesting against Greece as these two clashed for the Olympic berth in Trieste and then the Netherlands prevailed. Though their other two clashes against Spain and Russia, finalists of the 2020 European Championships, also promise great excitements. And last but not least, the latter two will also have another showdown – their last match in Budapest was an epic battle for the European title, where Spain won 13-12.
As a sharp contrast of two worlds now and then: that time, in January 2020, 5,000 fans filled the stands of the magnificent Duna Arena, now the game will be held behind closed doors in the Tuske Pool...
Live streaming of all matches will be shown on FINA TV and follow our social media for exclusive contents from Budapest!
(World League matches in bold)
Wednesday, 24 Mar: 16:30 Hungary v Netherlands, 18:30 Greece v Russia, TBD: Universiade HUN v Spain
Thursday, 25 Mar: 16:30 NETHERLANDS v GREECE, 18:30 RUSSIA v SPAIN, 20:30 Hungary v Universiade HUN
Friday, 26 Mar: 16:30 Universiade HUN v Russia, 18:30 NETHERLANDS v SPAIN, 20.30 Hungary v Greece
Saturday, 27 Mar: 16:00 Greece v Universiade HUN, 18:00 NETHERLANDS v RUSSIA, 20:00 Hungary v Spain