When commanders of the water polo pool deck talk, we pull out our notebook. Here's what the coaches are saying heading into the opening gameday of the European qualification for the FINA Women's Water Polo World League.
The first international women’s water polo contests of 2022 of global significance get underway with the European qualifying round of the FINA Women’s World League. Six European teams – Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Spain – are vying for one of four continental spots into the FINA Water Polo World League European Final in Tenerife this April.
Two games lead off the action, with Russia taking on Italy in the opener and Greece hosting Hungary in Patras for the nightcap.
Greece vs Hungary
The Hungarians come in as the Tokyo Olympics bronze medalists and runners-up in the last World League. Greece, meanwhile, has named a strong team for the home opener, which includes multiple team members hailing from the same club team, Olympiacos.
Alexia Kammenou – Greece head coach
I am always very happy to be in Patras (Greece) for a game of our national team. I always remember the first preparation I did as an athlete in 1987 and she was in Patras with the national team. We have to face the Hungarian National Team that won the bronze medal at the most recent Olympic Games. A new cycle is now opening for the representative band. The girls show great will, have great standards and appetite. The national team we dream of will be created gradually and I am sure we will succeed.
Attila Biro - Hungary head coach
I am very happy to be in Patras for this great game. A new cycle of games opens for us, with a new team that we now have, as I will give opportunities to young athletes. Both teams have a common goal; I wish both Hungary and Greece to qualify for the final phase of the FINA Water Polo World League.
Russia vs Italy
It’ll be a new look for both Italy and Russia, with Water Polo Hall of Famer Carlo Silipo and Olympic medallist Sergey Markoch helming their respective women's water polo national team for the first time. Both teams come in with a bit of a chip on their shoulder, with the Italians missing out on competing at the Tokyo Olympics. Meanwhile, the team from the Russian Olympic Committee made it to the Tokyo medal rounds but lost out in both the semifinals and bronze medal games to finish fourth.
Carlo Silipo – Italy head coach
For us, it’s the first official game after the last match we played in March 2021 during the Olympic qualification. We are very excited to do that and also we have some problems, like every team, 6 athletes not come with us: 4 have covid, other two injuries, but we are ready to play the better water polo.
Sergey Markoch - Russia head coach
The Russian national team will present an updated lineup for today’s match. Only four players participated in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. We have a lot of young players, but I am sure that today we will show modern water polo.