Greek national teams ready for World Championships
Greece’s men’s and women’s national water polo teams are set to compete at the World Championships in South Korea, which begin on Sunday.
Greece’s women’s team will get things started on July 14 as they take on Spain. The women are in Group C, and in addition to Spain, they will also face Cuba (July 16), and Kazakhstan (July 18). The first placed team in the group will get a bye to the quarterfinals, and the second and third placed teams will advance to the play-off round.
In goal for Greece will be Ioanna Stamatopoulou, while Marina Kotsioni will be the reserve goalkeeper. Chrysoula Diamantopoulou, who is usually Greece’s main goalkeeper, will miss the tournament this year due to injury. Also on the roster will be Alexandra Asimaki, Alkisti Avramidou, Alkistis Benekou, Ioanna Chydirioti, Nikoleta Eleftheriadou, Christina Kotsia, Eirini Ninou, Maria Patra, Eleftheria Plevritou, Christina Tsoukala, and Eleni Xenaki. They are coached by Georgios Morfesis.
Eight of the 13 players on Greece’s roster are aged 22 or younger, so this is a young group of girls that will be together for many years to come. The future looks very bright, as many of these girls have won various medals (including gold) in recent World and European Championships for their age groups.
Greece’s women’s team previously won the World Championships back in 2011, and most recently finished seventh at the last World Championships in 2017. It must be noted that Greece won silver last year at the European Championships in Barcelona.
Greece’s men’s team will play their first match on July 15 against hosts South Korea. They are in Group A, and will also face Montenegro (July 17) and Serbia (July 19). The first placed team in the group will get a bye to the quarterfinals, and the second and third placed teams will advance to the play-off round.
Greece’s goalkeepers will be Konstantinos Galanidis and 21-year-old Emmanouil Zerdevas. Rounding out the roster will be Stylianos Argyropoulos, Georgios Dervisis, Ioannis Fountoulis, Konstantinos Genidounias, Alexandros Gounas, Marios Kapotsis, Christodoulos Kolomvos, Konstantinos Mourikis, Alexandros Papanastasiou, Dimitris Skoumpakis, and Angelos Vlachopoulos. They are coached by Thodoris Vlachos, who also coaches at Olympiacos and recently reached the Champions League final at the club level with the Erythrolefki this past season. Many of the players on the national team roster were part of that Olympiacos squad as well.
Like the women’s team, this is also a young team which features many players who won various medals (including gold) with the junior and youth national teams. On the senior level, Greece have never won the World Championships. Their best result was two bronze medals, in 2005 and then again in 2015. At the last World Championships in 2017, Greece finished in fourth place with ten of the 13 players from that squad now being a part of this year’s team as well.