Serbia continued its dominance at the Men’s Water Polo World League by winning its third championship in a row and ninth overall. The World League is an annual competition that pits eight nations from around the world against each other. The 2015 edition was held in Bergamo, Italy from June 23rd to June 28th 2015. The winner qualifies to the Olympics.
The biggest upset at the group stage was Brazil’s win over Croatia. With the Olympics coming soon Brazil built up a lead in the second and third quarters and despite a comeback from Croatia they were unable to catch Brazil, losing 17-10. In the knock-out stage Brazil used its momentum to defeat Australia in a close 9-8 match while the United States upset group A winners Hungary by winning the fourth quarter 2-1 and the overall match 8-7.
The semifinals went as expected as Serbia and Croatia won over Brazil and the United States respectively, setting up a match against two strong rivals. In the finals after a tied first quarter Croatia pulled away in the second quarter and it was 4-2 at the half. Serbia pulled the match back to even in the third quarter setting up a final showdown with only one quarter remaining. Serbia was able to take control of the match winning the quarter with a score of 4-1 and the overall match 9-6. For the third place match Brazil defeated the United States in a lengthy penalty shoot-out 14-13.
While Serbia has been the best team at the World League the gold medal at the Olympics as a separate nation still eludes them, though they have medalled over the past three Olympics. Maybe 2016 will be different for them. The next set of qualifiers for men’s water polo will be at the World Aquatics Championships.
- United States
FINA. Men’s Water Polo World League 2015. Access on June 28 2015.