Last weekend, an exciting international tournament took place in Brno's "Za Lužánkami" pool, which attracted the attention of water polo fans from all over the world. Twelve determined teams, including teams from the Basque Country and the United States of America, competed in evenly matched matches full of passion and tactical mastery.
As mentioned in the previous article, the format of the tournament was the same as the junior competition. From the basic groups, groups E, F and G were eventually formed to decide the final standings.
Group E was clearly dominated by the Basque Country. This team has several world-class players who are active in the top Spanish competition. Their most evenly matched opponent was Moldova, who fought them for the gold on Sunday afternoon. Although the Moldovans were ahead 5-3 in the first quarter, "Euskal Selekzioa" managed to turn the tide and won clearly 16-7. In third place was Poland, who despite having the same number of points with the USA (their match ended in a draw) had a better goal scoring record and took home the bronze medals.
Group F also provided spectators with some thrilling matches, including the Sweden-Denmark derby, which was eventually narrowly won by the men from the Kingdom of Blue and Yellow. It is also worth mentioning the battling performance of England, who pulled the match with Sweden to a final draw despite being 8-3 down midway through the third quarter. Probably the most unlucky team in the whole group were the Austrians, who despite a beautiful team game, ended up in the final 8th place, having narrowly lost all their matches.
Group G, which was played for 9th-12th place, was eventually dominated by the Czech Republic. The home team consisted mainly of players under 19 years of age who are currently in preparation for the European Championship qualification. The most attractive duel took place on Sunday morning when the Czechs faced Great Britain. Although they entered the match brilliantly and were 5-1 up after the first part of the game, their opponents managed to level the score with beautiful shots from distance. The decisive goal came one second before the end of the game from the hand of a Czech player, who secured the win for his team 19:18. Brits experienced the same thing that they did to Finland the day before this match, where Ben Alderson scored a last second goal that tied the score between the two teams.
The award for the best player of the tournament went to Constantin Marian (Moldova). The best goalkeeper was Michal Diakonow (Poland) and the best scorer with 24 goals was Peio Garaizar Hernandez from the Basque Country. We hope that all participants enjoyed the tournament and we hope to see you again in the Czech Republic.