For the Hungarian women's water polo team, which finished fifth at the European Championships in Eindhoven, the World Championships in Doha in February are the last chance to fight for Olympic participation.
|Mixed feelings after the end of the European Championships – hope is alive in the Olympic quotas (Photo: MTI/Zsolt Szigetváry)
The team of Attila Mihok and Sandor Czeh are in a group with Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in the Qatar competition, where they will finish first or second depending on the paper model.
All of this means that the Hungarian team will almost certainly play the American team, which won gold medals in the last three Olympics, or the Dutch team, the defending world champions, in the quarter-finals. The feat of making the top four almost certainly means an immediate appearance in the pentathlon, but the chance remains even if it's only fifth or eighth. The group will continue to gain a place.
There are still two spots up for grabs at the Paris Olympics, based on the balance of power, with Hungarian, Italian and Canadian teams competing. If neither team can pull off an upset among the eight, the score is 5-8. The generally “boring” play-off being arranged for a spot will have big stakes in the World Cup that starts on February 4.
“I think there is more in this team with this composition. We need to improve the defense and self-confidence of every player, but this time we do not have half a year, but only two weeks.” – said Norbert Madaras, President of the Hungarian Water Polo Federation (MVLSZ), who watched Saturday's qualifying match on the spot.
“Based on the facts, my feelings are negative. Since our goal was to get an Olympic quota, we did not succeed, and the truth is also that we were not able to show what we have in the important matches.” – said Madaras, who will be in Zagreb on Sunday to participate with the Hungarian team that reached the semi-finals of the European Men's Championship, and which will jump into the pool against the defending champion, Croatia.