Greece beat the European water polo champion team of Hungary on Sunday in their first match for the Tokyo Olympics in Japan.
Greece won with a 10-9 score, making history, as this is the first time the Greek water polo team beats the Hungarians in a major tournament, such as the Olympics.
The Greek squad began their journey in this year’s Olympic Games with a great result, offering a much-needed boost in their morale, as they now have to face Italy, a water polo legend in the next round of the tournament.
Greece showed excellent teamwork, with its goalkeeper Emmanuel Zerdevas literally denying the Hungarians an easy victory.
Hungary’s Balazs Erdelyi was the first to score, prompting an immediate response from Greece’s Ioannis Fountoulis, who got the first point for Greece.
The first period of the match, which lasts for eight minutes, ended with Greece being ahead with 3-2.
The following eight-minute periods ended with scores of 3-4, 2-3 and 1-1.
Thus, Greece managed to achieve this historic victory over the Hungarian team with a score of 10-9.
Now Greece will face the World Champions, Italy, on Tuesday.
The history of Greece’s Water Polo Team
Greece has a long and successful tradition of strong presence at an international level in water polo tournaments.
The country’s major successes are the two bronze medals that Greece won at the World Championship in 2005 and 2015.
The Greeks have also won a silver medal at the World Cup in 1997, three bronze medals at the World League in 2004, 2006 and 2016, as well as one silver in 2018.
Additionally, the Greek team has won four more bronze medals in the past: In 1951, 1991, 1993, and 2013 at the Mediterranean Games.
Greece closely missed a medal in the 2016 European Championship, the 2004 Olympic Games, the 2003 World Championship and the 1999 European Championship, ending up in 4th place in all four of them.
Greece is one of only nine national teams in the world to have won (at least) a medal in the World Championship, currently occupying an eighth place on the medal table, one above Germany.
The country has qualified at least for the quarter-finals in all their World Championship participations since 1994, winning the two aforementioned bronze medals and never finishing below 6th place from 2001 until now.
Greece has participated 16 times at the Olympic Games, always present in the tournament since 1980.
Their best result is 4th place at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, after losing 5–6 to Russia in the bronze medal game. The Greeks have secured a quarter-finals’ presence on six occasions.
The current Olympic tram of Greece includes the following players: Emmanuel Zerdevas, Constantinos Genidounias, Dimitrios Skoumpakis, Marios Kapotsis, Ioannis Fountoulis, Alexandros Papanastasiou, Georgios Dervisis, Stylianos Argyropoulos Kanakakis, Constantinos Mourikis, Christodoulos Kolomvos, Constantinos Gkiouvetsis, and Angelos Vlachopoulos.