Olympic champions Serbia will defend their European crown in Barcelona ©Getty Images

The holders of the top three prizes in men's water polo will be in action at the European Championships which begin tomorrow in Barcelona.

Olympic gold medallists Serbia, the reigning European champions, will defend their continental crown against the likes of current world champions Croatia.

Montenegro, who won the World League Super Final in Budapest last month, will also be in action alongside the side they beat in the final, host nation and nine-time Olympic gold medallists Hungary.

Competition will be held at the Piscines Bernat Picornell in the Spanish host city of the 1992 Olympic Games.

Sixteen sides have first been divided into four groups of four.

Germany, Georgia, Hungary and Italy will contest Group A with Montenegro, Malta, France and hosts Spain in Group B.

Montenegro won the World League Super Final last month ©Getty Images
Montenegro won the World League Super Final last month ©Getty Images

Croatia, The Netherlands, Turkey and Greece will lock horns in Group C with Rio 2016 winners Serbia beginning their defence in Group D, alongside Russia, Slovakia and Romania.

All four group winners will reach the quarter finals with those finishing second and third entering a play-off round for a chance to also make the last eight.

The bottom sides in the groups will be eliminated.

Competition will run through to the final on July 28, with the women's event already underway. 

The Netherlands are top of Group A with two wins after beating Croatia 21-1 and Israel 20-2.

Greece have beaten France 12-5 and Italy 7-6 and also have a 100 per cent start.

In Group B, Russia are the only team unbeaten after two games.

They thrashed Turkey 35-4 and Serbia 27-2.