The final four women’s teams have been decided at the 2016 Women’s Water Polo Olympic Qualification Tournament. 12 teams were split into two groups with the top four advancing to the quarter-finals. The top four teams qualified to the Olympics. The Women’s Water Polo Olympic Qualification Tournament was held in Gouda, Netherlands from March 21st to March 28th 2016.
Group A was topped by 2012 Olympic and 2015 World champions United States whom went undefeated in five games. Greece would take second in the group by holding on to a 14-11 win over Spain and defeating Canada 11-4. A strong second half for Spain in their match against Canada locked third place for them as Canada took the final spot to the quarter-final after wins against Japan and South Africa.
Group B had three teams which could vie for the top spot; Italy, Netherlands and Russia. The Netherlands made the group interesting with back to back 8-8 draws against Russia and Italy, which included blowing a four goal lead in the final quarter against Russia. On the final day the match between Italy and Russia was a very defensive affair, but it was Italy which did just enough to win the match 6-2. With the win Italy finished on top of the group, Netherlands finished second and Russia finished third. The final spot came down to France and Germany as the two nations defeated New Zealand earlier in the group stage. In the end France won the match 9-5 and advanced to the quarter-final.
The winners of the quarter-finals booked their spots to the Olympics. The United States easily dominated their match winning 19-0 against France. On the other hand a shoot-out was required for Greece and Russia as the game ended in a 10-10 draw. In the end Russia won the shoot-out 3-2. A strong first quarter for Spain was the difference maker in the match against the Netherlands as Spain won the match 10-7. The final match between Canada and Italy had Italy take the slight advantage and while Canada pressed for a comeback during the final quarter Italy was able to hold on for an 8-7 win.
The United States again showed its strength in the semi-finals as they defeated Spain 13-7 to reach the finals. Italy again continued to showcase its defensive prowess as they did just enough to defeat Russia for a second time as they won 9-7.
In the final between United States and Italy the match had both sides pressing as the score became 5-5 by half-time. A strong third quarter by the United States gave them the gap they needed to win the match and as they continued to extend the lead to win the tournament 11-6. Russia won the bronze medal by defeating Spain 10-4.
With the end of this tournament the 8 teams to compete in the Olympics have been decided. The United States will likely be going into the Olympic tournament as the favourite to win the gold medal. The men’s teams will be decided over the next couple of weeks.
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- FINA. Women’s Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament – Results. Access on March 28 2016.