World champions ready to put on a show in Eindhoven

Credit: LEN

The very best women’s water polo teams and players from across the continent will meet in Eindhoven next month to compete at the 2024 European Championships from 5th-13th January.

Excitement levels are building and tickets are selling fast, with some sessions close to selling out – especially for the knockout stages – and additional seating areas being considered due to the high demand.

“This tournament is a fantastic chance to showcase water polo in the Netherlands and give people the opportunity to watch the top players and teams in Europe and the world,” Netherlands head coach Evangelos Doudesis told European Aquatics.

“Women’s water polo is at the highest level it’s ever been in the sport’s history. Games between the top nations are decided by the smallest details, they make all the difference.”

The tournament has been expanded for 2024, with a total of 16 teams, divided into four groups of four, set to collide at Eindhoven’s world famous Pieter van den Hoogenband Swimming Stadium, which also successfully hosted the European Water Polo Championships in 2012.

Credit: LEN

For the first time in the history of the competition, the top eight-ranked sides will compete in Group A and B (Division 1), while the next eight teams will be in Group C and D (Division 2).

The winners and runners-up from Division 1’s groups will advance directly to the quarterfinals, while the third and fourth-placed teams will meet the top two sides from Division 2’s groups in a play-off round to decide who will also make the final eight.

One ticket for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games is also up for grabs in Eindhoven, along with three passes for the 2024 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

France, Netherlands and Spain have already secured their spots at the Olympics, while Italy, Hungary, Spain and Netherlands have confirmed their participation in Doha. 

Credit: LEN

After the Netherlands were crowned world champions in Fukuoka in the summer of 2023, Doudesis was filled with pride and pleased to see all the squad’s years of hard work come to fruition.

“Winning the World Championships in Japan was such a great feeling, it meant a lot finishing on the podium in the highest position,” Doudesis said.

“We’d invested such a lot of work in the squad and the win at the World Championships was years in the making.

“It gave us great pride and an extra boost to continue working hard on our path.”

Netherlands may have won gold at the World Championships, but picking a favourite to win in Eindhoven is virtually impossible with such a strong field.

“Teams like Spain, Italy, Hungary and Greece are always difficult opponents, and then teams like Israel and France are also improving all the time,” added Doudesis, who is busy preparing his squad for three major tournaments in 2024 – the European Championships, World Championships and Olympic Games.

“The schedule is difficult for everyone, but this is an opportunity for our squad to train together, to be together, and to find out what our needs are going forward for the World Championships and Olympics in Paris.

“We’ve recently held a few training camps and are about to welcome USA too as part of our preparations.

“We’ve also used this time together to give opportunities to some of our younger players, which is helping build for our future.”

Credit: LEN

The European Championships were originally due to be held in Netanya, Israel, but due to the current situation, the women’s competition was moved to Eindhoven, while the men’s tournament will be held in Zagreb and Dubrovnik in Croatia.

“Although due to the difficult situation in Netanya we are pleased to co-host these Championships and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Eindhoven,” said Royal Dutch Swimming Federation President Hayke Veldman.

“The Royal Dutch Swimming Federation and event partner House of Sports are committed to delivering the best experience possible, creating an outstanding, fun and friendly environment for all the teams to compete at the highest level.

“To see 16 countries taking part in this Championships is truly inspiring and knowing that some of these nations competing will then go on to compete at the World Championships in Doha, as well as the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris is something we are so proud to be part of.”

Full schedule details for the 2024 European Water Polo Championships in Eindhoven can be found by clicking here and tickets can be purchased here.

All games will also be streamed live via Eurovision Sport, click here for more details.