Epic clashes await as Euro Cup Eight Finals set to begin

European Aquatics Euro Cup Men and Women Previews

Euro Cup Men

After a three-month break for the European Water Polo Championships and World Water Polo Championships, the highly-anticipated men’s Euro Cup Eight Finals finally arrives this week with December’s sensational draw setting up a number of thrilling clashes.

Eight Finals Fixtures 1st Legs (Friday, 8th March 2024)

Jug Adriatic Osiguranje (CRO) v A-Hid Vasas Plaket (HUN)
BVSC-Zuglo (HUN) v BVK Crvena Zvezda (SRB)
Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v CC Origia (ITA)
Astralpool CN Sabadell (ESP) v EN Tourcoing (FRA)
Panionios GSS (GRE) v CSA Steaua Bucharest (ROU)
Primorje Erste Bank (CRO) v WPC Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
Rari Nantes Savona (ITA) v Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE)
CN Barcelona (ESP) v Vouliagmeni NC (GRE)

(2nd Legs – Saturday, 23rd March 2024)

With eight teams dropping down from the Champions League, the action is set to intensify as they meet the sides who finished in the top two places of the Euro Cup groups.

One of the stand-out ties in the Eight Finals is Jug Dubrovnik – who have reached the final six/eight of the Champions League in the last eight editions – and Euro Cup title holder Vasas.

Croatian giants Jug will have a point to prove after a very below-par season in the continent’s top competition, which saw them finish third in Group B, four points adrift of Olympiacos.

Jug last won the Euro Cup (then the LEN Trophy) in 2000 and will be one of the favourites to reach the final again if they can get past Vasas, who lifted the cup last April after comfortably beating Savona 15-7 in Budapest and drawing 8-8 in Italy.

In the group stage, the Hungarians looked on course to become the first team to qualify for the Eight Finals after winning their first three Euro Cup games, but a shock defeat on day four to Honved on penalties derailed their momentum.

Another loss (16-13 away to Savona) followed on day five, so the reigning champions had to wait until the last game of the group stage to secure qualification, which they achieved with a 19-15 victory against Apollon.

Elsewhere, Ortigia face Spandau 04 Berlin, with the Italians still on a massive high after pulling off one of the greatest results in the history of the competition to qualify from Group D in second place.

Ortigia went into the final day needing to beat Primorac Kotor by six goals or more, which was a huge ask, and even more so considering the game was being played in Montenegro.

Japan star Yusuke Inaba was on fire that night, firing in six goals, as Ortigia stunned the home side 12-18 to leapfrog them in the table and claim the second qualification spot.

Spandau were hoping to sneak into the quarterfinals of the Champions League on day six, but a 10-6 defeat to Vouliagmeni handed Marseille a ticket to the final eight before they had even played.

Vouliagmeni – the surprise side of the 22/23 season after finishing in the top four in the Champions League – will look to build on that final round win against Spandau, which was their only victory in Europe this season, when they face CN Barcelona in the Eight Finals.

The Spanish side should prove tough competition though, as they only lost one group game (away to Palermo on the opening day) and enter the last 16 on the back of five successive victories in Europe.

Last season’s Euro Cup runners-up Savona topped Group B – getting some small revenge on winning finalists Vasas by condemning them to second spot – and face Jadran Herceg Novi for a place in the quarterfinals.

The Italians surged to the summit following four straight victories in their last four group games, including an impressive 16-13 home win against Vasas on day five which ensured their safe passage to the Eight Finals.

Jadran Herceg Novi’s confidence will need some restoring as they failed to secure a regular time victory in Group C of the Champions League, and their only points came from winning an epic shootout (13-12) at home to Crvena Zvezda on day three.

Cvena Zvezda may have lost away to Jadran on penalties, but they still managed to finish five points above them in the group, thanks to beating them at home (9-6) and another home win against Jadran Split (12-11).

In the Eight Finals, they’re paired with BVSC-Zuglo, who finished second in Group C and recorded a perfect home record, winning all three of their clashes in Budapest.

France’s Tourcoing edged past Palermo (9-10) on day six to clinch second place in Group A and their reward is a tie with CN Sabadell, whose dreams of making the Champions League quarterfinals were dashed by Novi Beograd in their final group game.

Elsewhere, winless Steaua Bucharest will be hoping to finally win a European game following a string of disappointing Champions League performances in Group A, which saw them finish rock bottom on no points.

The Romanian side face Greece’s Panionios, who finished top of Group D despite losing two away games, including against Trieste (9-8) on day six.

Georgia’s Dinamo Tbilisi also finished on zero points in the Champions League after suffering six big defeats, with two of their home games ending in seven-goal winning margins for the visitors (Pro Recco 9-16 and Jug 5-12) and the other being a 6-19 thumping by Olympiacos.

Standing in their way of a place in the Euro Cup quarterfinals are Primorje, who in contrast to Dinamo produced a perfect home record in the group stage to help them clinch top spot.

Watch all the Euro Cup water polo action live on the European Aquatics YouTube channel and follow all the results by clicking here.

Euro Cup Women

Thrilling race for Euro Cup Final Four resumes

Following the three-month break for the European Water Polo Championships and World Water Polo Championships, the hunt for a coveted Final Four place in the women’s Euro Cup resumes as the competition enters day five of the hotly-contested group stage.

Euro Cup, Group Stage, Round 5
Saturday, 9 March 2024
(Local times shown)

Group A
3pm Padova (ITA) v Lille (FRA)
6pm De Zaan (NED) v Glyfada (GRE)
Standings: 1. Lille (9pts) 2. Padova (9pts) 3. De Zaan (6pts) 4. Glyfada (0pts)

Group B
7pm Spandau (GER) v BVSC (HUN)
1pm Grand Nancy (FRA) v Trieste (ITA)
Standings: 1. Trieste (12pts) 2. BVSC (6pts) 3. Spandau (6pts) 4. Grand Nancy (0pts)

After four rounds of thrilling games across the continent, five teams still have a chance of making the prestigious Final Four stage of the women’s Euro Cup.

Italian side Trieste are the only team so far to have booked their ticket to the next round, while winless Glyfada and Grand Nancy are out of the running.

This weekend’s action begins in France, as eliminated Grand Nancy face Trieste, who need just one more point to secure top spot in Group B.

Trieste have been in formidable form so far in Europe this season, winning and dominating all four of their games (against BVSC 8-15, Grand Nancy 21-6, Spandau 8-11 and BVSC 14-10).

Having lost by 15 goals in the reverse fixture on day two in October, Grand Nancy will have to cause one of the shocks of the decade if they are to claim their first Euro Cup points this year against the runaway leaders.

The fight for second place in Group B could be decided this weekend if BVSC triumph in regular time against Spandau once more.

Both sides sit level on six points, but the Hungarians dominated the day two fixture between them, winning 14-5 at home, so the Germans will need to better that result if they want to secure the second qualification spot this week.

If the game goes to a shootout, the runners-up position will be determined in the final round of fixtures, when BVSC host Grand Nancy and Spandau travel to Trieste.

In Group A, all eyes will be on the top-of-the-table clash between Padova and Lille, as both teams have recorded nine points so far.

The French side edged the reverse fixture 10-7 back in October, so another three points here will secure their place in the Final Four and put them in the driving seat to go through as group winners.

Padova won’t be an easy place to record a victory though, as the Italians are yet to lose at home, having beaten De Zaan (13-12) and Glyfada (8-7) earlier in the competition.

Elsewhere, De Zaan take on Glyfada in Amsterdam, where the visitors will be looking to record their first points of the campaign.

The Greek side have been somewhat unfortunate this season, having lost their last three games by just a solitary goal, against Lille (9-8), Padova (8-7) and De Zaan (8-9).

De Zaan need a victory to keep their pursuit of a place in the Final Four on track, but know they’ll face a stern test as Glyfada will be determined to end the tournament on a high.

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