The water polo team of Greece made history on Sunday, and despite losing 10-13 to Serbia, won its first silver Olympic medal in history during the final at the Tokyo Olympics.
Greece played against the team of Serbia, who had won the gold medal in the Olympics of Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Greece fought courageously throughout the game. Despite losing 4-7 during the second quarter, managed to match the Serbs and write a score of 7-7.
However, the Serbian team proved to be much more determined, reaching the final goal of getting another Olympic gold.
A few minutes before the end, the scoreboard showed 10-10. Nonetheless, the Serbs managed to score three more times, leaving the Greek team in second place.
This was the first time the Greek water polo team had qualified for the finals, and the second time they had qualified to a semi-final after the 2004 Olympic Games of Athens.
Greece managed to reach the final without a single defeat. The only time the Greek squad didn’t win was when they had a draw against Italy during the group stage.
The Greek squad that managed to make history in Japan 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.
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 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.