As we reported yesterday, the groups of the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments were drawn at the FINA headquarters in Lausanne. Let’s see the head coaches’ reactions to the upcoming battles.
Georgia, Asia 1, Canada, Brazil, Montenegro, Greece
Croatia, Netherlands, Asia 2, Russia, Germany, Argentina
“The draw certainly puts us in an interesting situation, with a lot of great teams in Group A. With Greece and Montenegro as the favourites in our group, we will have to fight with Georgia, Brazil, and Asia 1 for the two spots available for the playoff round. It will be a long and difficult tournament for everyone. The stakes are very high; Croatia, Montenegro, and Greece have a lot of experience, and the matchups will be balanced until the very end. The key will be to take one game at a time with the focus on being physically and psychologically ready for the quarter-finals. The Pan American Games experience has taught us that we need to play until the very end. After our last common training in Spain, I feel that we are ready to play our cards, knowing that it will be hard to win our Olympic pass” commented Pino Porzio the head coach of Canadian national team.
“In the group we got easier opponents, we will try to beat Greece and win first place in order to have a slightly easier schedule. In the quarter-finals we would have a tricky rival, but as we did at the European Championships, we will try through the group to raise form and that we are ready to welcome the elimination round” said head coach of Montenegro Vladimir Gojkovic after the draw.
“It would certainly be better or better for us if we got Greece or Montenegro in the group, so in the semifinals we certainly have an extremely tough rival, one of those two teams. But we know our way. We have to be the best and finished story” the first reaction of Croatian coach Ivica Tucak.
The head coach of the Dutch men’s national team Harry van der Meer: “A tough draw. In any case, we will have to leave Argentina and the Asian representative behind to finish in the first four. In order to avoid the top countries Greece and Montenegro in the quarterfinals, we will also have to stand in the group. It will be a tough task, but with the support of the home crowd we will of course go for it.”
Netherlands, France, Italy, Asia 2, Slovakia
Greece, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Asia 1
The head coach of the Dutch women’s national team Arno Havenga in a first reaction: “We knew in advance that we were going to compete with Italy, Greece and Hungary for two tickets, that we would be in one of those countries and that we had to win the semi-final. The other countries are normally too weak to play a significant role, so we know what we have to do. First try to win in the pool of Italy and then beat Hungary or Greece in the semi-final.”