European Water Polo Championships in Eindhoven
Serbia revenges 2008 European final defeat by Montenegro

Eindhoven (pps) Watched by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and a capacity-crowd of 3,150 spectators, Serbia won the men’s European water polo title by defeating Montenegro 9-8 in the boiling pot of Pieter van den Hoogenband Swim Stadium in Eindhoven. The Serbs thus revenged their loss to Montenegro in the 2008 final in Malaga. It is Serbia’s fifth European gold medal (including those won as Yugoslavia and Serbia&Montenegro) after 1991, 2001 (YUG), 2003 (SCG) and 2006 (SRB) in addition to nine silver and five bronze medals.

Montenegro, independent since June 2006, added a silver medal to their 2008 gold. Mladan Janovic received a Seamaster Watch by LEN partner OMEGA for his election of “Most valuable Player of the Tournament” by the coaches and expert journalists and finished second-best scorer with 22 goals behind Croatia’s Sandro Sukno (24). Janovic after the match: “All of our previous games have been very tough and cost a lot of energy. We ran a bit out of fuel at the end of the match.”

Record-winning European champion Hungary gained its fifth bronze medal to add to its collection of 12 gold, 5 silver and now 5 bronze medals, when the Hungarians defeated Italy 12-9. It was the 21st European Championship encounter between the two teams and Hungary’s 12th victory (Italy 8, 1 draw).

Italian coach Alessandro Campagna: “I have never seen an Italian team that controlled the Hungarians so well for three quarters of the match, and that’s what makes me optimistic. However, what happened in the last period is inexplicable, with the Hungarians winning that period 6-1.” Hungarian goalkeeper Zoltan Szecsi had an explanation: “The whole atmosphere in the pool today was kind of Brazilian. The players maybe focused more on the spectators than on the game itself. This is why we were not too concentrated in the middle part of the match, but in the last period that seems to have been the other way round.”

Italian goalkeeper Stefano Tempesti was awarded the trophy for “LEN 2011 Water Polo Player of the Year” by LEN President Nory Kruchten (Luxembourg) before the victory ceremony.

The Hungarian capital Budapest will host the next European Water Polo Championships (Men and Women) in 2014.

Final standings 2012 Men’s European Water Polo Championships
1. Serbia
2. Montenegro
3. Hungary
4. Italy
5. Germany
6. Greece
7. Spain
8. Romania
9. Croatia
10. Netherlands
11. FYR of Macedonia
12. Turkey