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Croatia European waterpolo champion for 2010
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  09/27/2010 | Sports | Unrated
The event in Zagreb described as the best so far

Croatian water-polo team preparing for a match.

Overcrowded pool in Zagreb during the European championship

The 29th European Water Polo Championship was closed on Saturday, September 11, with a magnificent final match between Croatia and Italy. LEN officials, participating teams, the press and fans all described the event in Zagreb as the best so far.

After the medal ceremony, the LEN flag was handed over by Zagreb to representatives of Eindhoven, Netherlands, the host of the EC 2012.

Final standings of the European Water Polo Championship Zagreb:

1. Croatia
2. Italy
3. Serbia
4. Hungary
5. Montenegro
6. Germany
7. Romania
8. Spain
9. Greece
10. Turkey
11. Russia
12. Macedonia


Croatian national anthem Lijepa naša domovino - Our Beautiful Homeland

Messages prior to the competition

Message from LEN President Nory Kruchten

On behalf of the Ligue Européenne de Natation, I express our pride in celebrating the 2010 European
Water Polo Championships in Zagreb, and in Croatia.

Few countries in Europe are as passionate lovers of Water Polo as the hosts of the 29th edition of the European Water Polo Championships. Their centenary history of success and fulfillment in the practice of the great aquatic team sport is an example to the rest of the Continent.

This event is a further step forward in the promotion of Water Polo in Europe and will be a focal point of attention for the many fans of the discipline worldwide. We expect the excitement that these brilliant teams of men and women always offer as they all compete for the highest honors and to qualify for the next European Championships in Eindhoven, and the next World Championships in Shanghai. We will be witnesses to sixty-four matches in fourteen days of an intensity that will reach its climax in the phases that decide the final ranking, and we count the days that remain until the Championships begin.

As LEN President I’d like to thank the Organising Committee and the City of Zagreb for hosting this important LEN Event and for welcoming us to the Croatian Capital where the teams will be inspired by
the magnificent setting and the crowd of spectators that will live the games to their fullest. We also thank the volunteers who play such an important role in the smooth running of the event, and the sponsors who make it all possible. Finally, we commend the Croatian Water Polo Federation for their hard work and for their fundamental part in a surely successful Championships.

All the best to the participating teams and to all fans of Water Polo,
Nory Kruchten
LEN President

Welcome to Zagreb
Perica Bukic
President of the Croatian Water Polo Federation

Dear water polo friends,

Croatia is maybe a small country, but we Croats have always loved sports. We live our sports, especially water polo which has been played in Croatia now for more than hundred years. Croatia does not have a long independant history, but still, our sport success is unquestionable. We are successful in many sports, but we have also repeatedly proven to be good organizers of major sporting events, including handball, tennis, shooting sport, volleyball, skiing, skating, table tennis, athletics and many other sports. However, Croatia has never had the honour of organizing the European Water Polo Championships as an independent country.

In the year in which Croatia marked the one hundredth anniversary of water polo in Croatia and one year after the greatest achievement of Croatian water polo – the men's world gold medal at the 2007 Melbourne World Championships, the Croatian Water Polo Federation decided to bid for the organization of the LEN European Water Polo Championships. Why? We have a very strong team, we have proven our quality as organizers many times, the tradition of water polo can guarantee great interest by the audience, we are natural hosts and we have the support of the City of Zagreb and the Government of the Republic of Croatia. This Federation's objective is to have a strong national team every year, but also to create our own players, to enhance the work in clubs and provide the right conditions for all Croatian water polo players. By hosting the European Championships, we would undoubtedly prove yet once again to be good hosts, but we would also draw new generations to our swimming pools and increase the number of swimming pools, which can accommodate aquatic sports, in both Zagreb and the whole of Croatia.

I am convinced that the Croatian Water Polo Federation can organize the European Championships at the highest level, I am convinced that you know it, too, so I invite you to entrust the Republic of Croatia, Croatian Water Polo Federation and the City of Zagreb with the organization of the 2010 LEN European Water Polo Championships.

Dear friends, welcome to Croatia!


Introductory program in Zagreb

Croatian waterpolo team won gold medal.

Croatian Coat of Arms


Croatian water polo has a long history. The first match was played in the bay of Bacvice in Split in 1908. The first international match was played fourteen years later: the Baluni Club defeated the crew of the Brionny British battle ship 9-0. From the very beginning, Croatia played the most important role in the development of water polo in former Yugoslavia. Jug from Dubrovnik won the national title 13 times in a row, from 1925 to 1937 and it was the most successful club between two world wars.

Croatian water polo players participated at the Olympic Games for the first time at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. From that time onward until 1988 in Seoul, the last time that they participated at the Olympics under the Yugoslav flag, 37 of them individually won 21 gold and 30 silver medals.

They won 15 gold and 14 silver medals at the World Championships. Players such as Trumbic, Bonacic, Lopatny, Sukno, Đuho, Bebic, Roje, Lušic, Šimenc and Bukic are already water polo legends. Croatia became an independent country in 1991 and since it became a FINA and LEN member in 1992, the greatest success achieved by Croatian national team have been the silver medal won at the Olympics in Atlanta led by the coach Bruno Silic and the gold from the World Championships in Melbourne in 2007, with Ratko Rudic as the coach.

The strength of Croatian water polo has been proven many times by the success of Croatian clubs at European Competitions. Mladost from Zagreb is the only European club that has won the European Champion title seven times; Jug from Dubrovnik has done it three times, Jadran from Split twice and Splitska Banka, also from Split - once.

Because of very good water polo schools and its popularity in Croatia, younger categories are also very successful in international competitions. All friends of Croatian water polo are proud of the gold medal won by the Junior National Team led by Neven Kovacevic at the 1997 World Championships in Havana.

The men's national team, also led by Neven Kovacevic, played in the finals at the latest European Water Polo Championship in Florence. The silver medal at the 2003 European Championship

in Kranj was followed by bad results at the 2003 World Championship in Barcelona and the 2004 Olympics in Athens. However, a rise was noted when the world's most successful water polo coach Ratko Rudic took over. In 2005, Croatia finished fourth at the World Championships in Montreal and in the World League several months later. The following year brought nothing significant, but on 1st April 2007, Croatia became the World Champion. It doesn’t hold the title any more; last year in Rome, it had to settle for bronze, but Croatia's youth team won gold at the World Championship in Šibenik and Croatian junior team at the European Championship in Crete. With such success, Croatian water polo can look forward to the future!

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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