Russian Men’s Team Qualified For European Championships 2014

On behalf of the Russian National team I should like to thank everyone who supported us during a rather difficult preparation period for the European championships’ qualification matches. Thank you to all specialists who directly or indirectly contributed to the result that the whole Russian water polo community needed so badly. Without a doubt that is our common achievement. Many thank you to everyone who came to support us, who sincerely and wholeheartedly congratulated the team after the games.

I should like to thank all athletes who took part in the preparation irrespective of whether they have made the team or not. The Netherland’s side was one of the most dangerous at this event. In their tactics they employed a lot of unorthodox elements that can create difficulties for inexperienced teams. I was pleased to see our players’ composure under rather difficult circumstances and the fighting spirit, particularly in the first – key – match, due to which we managed to defeat our opponents on their territory in Utrecht.

During the match in Moscow

During the match in Moscow

Yes, in these and other encounters in 2014 we have been making mistakes that must be eliminated from our performance. I was pointing at some of them in my previous comments (published in Russian). Spectators could see those shortcomings during our match in Moscow on 2 March as well. Many of my colleagues spoke with me about them in the wake of the game, for which I am thankful. However, it would have been incorrect to not notice that there were many reassuring moments both in individual and collective actions that were indicative of our potential to be a team of high international class.

2014 European Championships' draw procedure

2014 European Championships’ draw procedure

Our plans for the next several months are preparation and participation in the European championships to be held Budapest 14-27 July 2014. The draw results that determined this tournament’s preliminary groups are known already. I think that every team is very strong, including the Georgians who will be taking part in this event for the first time in history. One can discuss which teams are stronger and which are weaker but there has always been the only correct approach – if one wants to be a champion one has to defeat everyone else.

The Alfred Hajos swimming pool in Budapest where the championships will be held

The Alfred Hajos swimming pool in Budapest where the championships will be held

In the middle of April, we are going to Serbia for a return World League match in which we may blood more young players. After the end of the Russian championships in the second half of May, National squad’s members will have reasonable time for rest. Then we will roll up our sleeves and work hard for 1,5 months preparing for Budapest. It will be a good opportunity for our young players – none of whom has been to such an event before let alone to the world championships or Olympic games – to acquire high level experience and we look forward to being there.

About Erkin Эркин Shagaev Шагаев
European, world, Olympic champion, two times World Cup winner Чемпион Европы, мира, Олимпийских игр, двукратный обладатель Кубка мира

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