2008 Olympic gold medalist, Hungary, and 2012 European Champions, Serbia, come face to face during this summer Olympic Games celebrated in London as the Men’s Water Polo preliminaries begin this weekend.
The world will witness a big dispute between these two European water polo forces.
Hungary is the most successful team in the history of the Olympic Games, having a total of nine Olympic gold medals for 1932, 1936, 1952, 1956, 1964, 1976, 2000, 2004 and 2008. (sfgate.com, 2012)
This country has given some of the best water polo players of all times.
- Tamas Kasas is considered one of the best players in the history of this sport. He has participated with the Hungarian national team for four consecutive Olympic games (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008) and now London 2012. In 2010, he was voted Male Water Polo Player of the Decade by FINA. (fina.org, 2010)
- Gergely Kiss is one of the best left-handed water polo players in the world. Scored 14 goals in eight games in Sydney 2000, scored four goals in the gold medal match in Athens 2004 allowing his team to gain its second gold medal in a row, and he made the Olympic team once again for Beijing 2008 where Hungary won the gold medal for the third consecutive time. (london2012.com, 2012)
- Peter Biros the fastest Hungarian player. He scored three goals in the final against the United States, which made Hungary take the lead and as a result win the gold in Beijing 2008. Has been a part of the three Hungarian teams that have won three gold medals consecutively. (msn.foxsports.com, 2012)
All three are to participate in this year’s Olympic Games.
Serbia does not fall behind, as they are the current European Champions. As an independent country they have won a silver Olympic medal in Athens 2004 and two bronze medals in Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008.
Serbia has its fair share of great water polo players.
- Igor Milanovic is considered to this day, the best water polo player of all times. His water polo career lasted 20 years, where he won the Olympic gold medal for Yugoslavia twice, two-time World Championship winner, European Championship winner, and two-time FINA Cup winner. (prowaterpolo.com, 2012)
- Vanja Udovicic, who was voted Player of the Year by FINA magazine in 2010 and Most Valuable Player in the 2010 European Championships and the 2009 FINA World Championships is considered the best defender in the world. Made his Olympic debut in 2004 with Serbia and Montenegro where they won the silver medal. In Beijing 2008, with Serbia, they wn the bronze medal. (nbcolympics.com, 2012)
- Filip Filipovic has been named twice the world’s best player and was voted Most Valuable Player in the FINA World Championships in 2011. Considered to have the fastest shot in the world, Filipovic was the voted Most Valuable Player after he scored 19 goals in the 2011 World Championship where Serbia finished second. In his senior World Championship debut in 2007, he finished fourth on the team with eight goals. (nbcolympics.com, 2012)
Udovicic and Filipovic are to participate in this year’s Olympic Games.
Hungary and Serbia are considered to be the strongest contenders for the Olympic gold medal in these 2012 Olympic Games.
Hungary is expected to defend its title and to win the gold medal for the fourth consecutive time.
Serbia is a waking giant ready to fight for the Olympic title as they are the most consistent team, winning several titles, in the past few years. (sfgate.com, 2012)
Make sure to keep an eye on these two teams, as the Men’s Water Polo preliminaries open this Sunday July 29th on NBC.