The draw for the water polo tournament at the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea (July, 14 – 17) was held in Zagreb today.
Croatia, the world champion for men, will play in a Group B, with three non-European teams: USA, Kazakhstan, and Australia.
Group B seems pretty tough, but Group A will be “the group of death” at the men’s tournament. Home team South Korea is the only underdog in this group, as the hosts’ rivals will be Olympic and European champion Serbia, 2018 World League winner Montenegro, and Greece. The tournament will be opened by a South Slavic classic Serbia – Montenegro.
Italy should have an easy task. The “Settebello” will play against Brazil, Germany, and Kazakhstan, but Brazil and Germany were able to surprise big favorites at the big competitions in recent years. Germany took the 4th place at the 2018 World Cup. Brazil was the only team which managed to defeat Serbia at the 2016 Olympic Games, when the Serbs took gold, while the Brazilians won the 1st place at the FINA World Championship Qualification Tournament for the Americas, by defeating the USA in the final. Hungary and Spain are strong favorites in Group C. The other two teams in this group are New Zealand and South Africa.
All groups of the women’s tournament are more or less balanced. Title-holder in women’s competition the USA will face South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands, the freshly-crowned LEN Europa Cup winner.
After the group phase, the teams which finished in the first place go automatically to the quarterfinals.
The squads that finished in the second and the third place, will play crossover matches.
Playoff round (women July 20th, men July 21st)
A2 vs B3 (1)
A3 vs B2 (2)
C2 vs D3 (3)
C3 vs D2 (4)
Quarterfinals (women July 22nd, men July 23rd)
A1 vs winner of pair 3 (QF 1)
B1 vs winner 4 (QF 2)
C1 vs winner 1 (QF 3)
D1 vs winner 2 (QF 4)
Semifinals (women July 24th, men July 25th)
Places 5 – 8
Loser QF 1 vs Loser QF 2
Loser QF 3 vs Loser QF 4
Places 1 – 4
Winner QF 1 vs Winner QF 2
Winner QF 3 vs Winner QF 4
Matches for the final rankings will be played on July 26th (women) and July 27th (men).
The full schedule of the elimination phase
The water polo tournament will be played in a temporary pool which will be placed in the Nambu University Football Field!