Introducing teams, men: Serbia

01/08/2020

Group B – Serbia

  • Serbia is the title-holder and it’s set to tie Hungary’s record of winning 5 consecutive European titles. The Magyars achieved that in the first five editions between 1926 and 1938, now the Serbs’ count stands at 4 straight triumphs.
  • Yugoslavia first entered the Europeans in 1934, finishing 5th. After skipping the 1938 and 1947 editions they became a constant medal winner: silver in 1954, 1958, 1962, 1977, bronze in 1950, 1966, 1970, 1974. Ironically, at home in Split this run was halted (4th place in 1981, the same in 1983), then came three more silvers (1985, 1987, 1989). It took 14 participations before they earned their first win in 1991. Yugoslavia was Olympic champion in 1968, 1984 and 1988, world champion in 1986 and 1991.
  • The Serbs could return (still under the name of Yugoslavia) to the world stage in 1996. A European silver in 1997 was the highlight before the big run has started in 2000. Since the Sydney Games they reached at least the semi-finals all but twice in the last 19 years (only missing the SF at the 2013 and the 2019 Worlds). They clinched 25 gold medals en route: the Olympic title (2016), 3 world titles (2005, 2009, 2015), 7 European titles (2001, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018), 12 World League titles (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019), 3 World Cup titles (2006, 2010, 2014).
  • Serbia won 7 of the last 9 editions at the Europeans (2001, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018), stood on the podium 10 times in the 11 editions they took part since their return in 1997, only missing the medal in 1999 (their tally is 7-2-1).
  • At the majors (Worlds, Europeans, World League Super Finals, World Cup) the Serbs had an unbeaten run of 38 matches (34 wins, 4 ties) between the prelim’s third round of the 2014 European Championships and the prelim’s third round of the 2016 Olympic Games, when Brazil stunned them 6-5.
  • They won 9 straight big competitions: 2014 World League, 2014 Europeans, 2014 World Cup, 2015 World League, 2015 World Championships, 2016 Europeans, 2016 World League, 2016 Olympics, 2017 World League.
  • Their golden streak came to an end at the 2017 Worlds when Croatia beat them in the semis and they had to settle for the bronze medal. In the last two years they won 2 events out of 5 – came first at the 2018 Europeans and in the 2019 World League (that secured their Olympic qualification), missed the 2018 WL Super Final, finished 3rd at the 2018 World Cup and 5th at the 2019 Worlds (sent a young team for these last two events).
  • The Serbs’ stats (incl. YUG) at the Europeans: 149 matches, 109 wins, 18 draws and 22 losses. Goal difference: 1243-772.