The women’s water polo tournament at the 2020 Olympics has been decided with the results of the Women’s Water Polo Olympic Qualification Tournament. The two finalists of the eight-team tournament qualified to the games. The format included a round robin group stage where all eight teams advanced to the quarterfinals. The event was held in Trieste, Italy from January 19th to January 24th 2021.
A draw between the Netherlands and Italy (7-7) saw the two nations finished atop of Group A with five points each. With a better goal differential, it was Italy who finished first in the group. Third place was won by France who fought off a second quarter comeback by Slovakia to win the match 17-9.
Group B came down to Greece and Hungary as the two nations had back-to-back victories over Israel (20-1 and 27-2 respectively) and Kazakhstan (13-5 and 23-6 respectively). In the deciding match, it was Greece which finished with an 8-5 victory. The third-place match of the group between Israel and Kazakhstan ended in a 7-7 draw and thus the latter finished ahead due to goal differential.
The quarterfinals saw no upsets as the four European powerhouses dispatched their opponents. The Netherlands defeated Kazakhstan 19-6, Greece won over Slovakia 22-3, Hungary finished ahead of France 20-7 and Italy was the victor over Israel 15-6.
The semifinals and the Olympic qualification deciding matches saw Greece take an early lead over the Netherlands where they held a 4-3 advantage at half-time. However, the Netherlands were able to prevent Greece from scoring again as they won the match 7-4. The second Olympic quota was won by Hungary who took a 3-1 first quarter lead over Italy and thanks to a six-goal effort by Rita Keszthelyi, won the match 13-10.
The final and bragging rights was won by Hungary who defeated the Netherlands 13-11. Third place went to Greece as they won over Italy 10-4.
This will be the Netherlands’ first Olympic appearance since winning the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. The team will be hoping to repeat that performance at the 2020 Olympics. Hungary on the other hand, will be looking to win their first Olympic medal after finishing fourth at the previous three Olympics. This completes the Olympic roster for the women’s water polo teams. The final men’s teams will be decided at their respective Olympic qualification tournament scheduled to be held in February.