Greece will be chasing back-to-back titles when the International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Men’s Junior Water Polo Championships start tomorrow, at the new Al-Nasar Sport Club in Kuwait City.
The Belgrade 2017 final was one of the most exciting in the event's history, with the Greek team earning gold 12-10 on a penalty shoot-out over Croatia, having brought the score to 7-7 with a goal in the final second of regular play.
Serbia collected bronze and Hungary - minus a head coach and a player due to red cards - were fourth after the 12-11 encounter.
There are 20 teams gathered again for the 20th version of this event, which started in Milan, Italy, back in 1981 when the Soviet Union triumphed.
The Italians have the best record in the Championships, having won five titles, as well as two silver and two bronze medals.
Only Hungary, who are also involved, have been on the podium more often, given their record of three golds, four silvers and six bronzes.
Four groups of five squads each will play the preliminaries of the tournament until December 16.
This will be followed by three days of classification games, followed by the finals on December 20.
The defending champions are in Group D along with Uzbekistan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
Serbia and Croatia are in Group A with Japan, South Africa and China.
Italy are in Group C along with Montenegro, the United States, Iran and the hosts.
Hungary are accompanied in Group B by Russia, Canada, Spain and Egypt.
Tomorrow's first day of competition in Kuwait will see the following line-up: South Africa vs Croatia; Japan vs China; Spain vs Hungary; Canada vs Egypt; Kuwait vs Iran; Greece vs Australia; Uzbekistan vs New Zealand and United States vs Italy.