2022 World Champs: Women’s Water Polo Group Play Concludes – US, AUS, ITA Dominant


  • June 20 – July 3, 2022 (water polo)
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Stadium
  • Results

The Round of 16 for women’s Water Polo begins today at the 2022 World Championships, while the men’s Round of 16 will commence tomorrow. This post is dedicated to reviewing the Group play that preceded the Round of 16 in women’s water polo.

The next round matches are set as follows:



Classification 13-16:


Italy, USA, Australia, and Greece automatically advanced to the quarterfinals by virtue of winning their groups.


Italy was the clear winner of Group A, ending group play with a 2-0-1 record. Next was Hungary at 2-1-0, then Canada at 1-1-1, and Columbia was last with an 0-3 record. Sticking with the overview, Hungary’s topline stats were actually a bit better than Italy’s The Hungarian team scored 55 goals in group plat, only allowing 21 goals to go in their net. That compares favorably against Italy in both columns, as the Italians scored 48 goals, and allowed in 21 goals.

That being said, the Italy vs Hungary match was probably the most exciting of the Group A play. Hungary ended the 1st quarter up 4-3, then both teams scored 2 points in the 2nd quarter, sending Hungary into halftime with a 6-5 lead. Italy put together a great 3rd quarter, outscoring Hungary 3-1. The 4th quarter saw both teams score 2 goals, which gave Italy the slight edge, and the match ended 10-9 in favor of the Italians.

Italy shot 50% on the match, which is what ultimately put them over the edge. Claudia Roberta Marletta, Chiara Tabani and Sofia Giustini were both critical to Italy’s offensive success, keeping pressure on the Hungarian keeper by taking a combined 10 shots. Marletta made 2 of her 4, while both Tabani and Giustini shot 1-for-3. Silvia Avegno was another key player, staying in the game for 25:23, the most of any Italian player. She made the most of her opportunities, making both shots she took.

Italy and Hungary both feasted on Columbia, scoring 31 and 35 points respectively in their matches.

Though Canada finished 3rd in the group at 1-1-1, they proved a strong competitor against both Italy and Hungary. It was Canada who tied Italy in a low scoring affair, with the match ending 7-7. The Canadians were hanging tough with Hungary, entering halftime down just 5-4, but a 4-0 rout by Hungary in the 3rd quarter would put the match out of reach, and it would end 11-7 in Hungary’s favor.

Group B

As expected, the USA was dominant in Group B, posting a 3-0 record in group play. Those wins included routs of South Africa and Argentina, as the Americans beat RSA 24-2 and Argentina 23-3.

The Netherlands finished 2nd in the group with a 2-1 record, facing just one loss at the hands of the USA. Argentina picked off a win against South Africa to finish 1-2, while the South Africans unfortunately went winless, 0-3.

As was the case for most of the Olympics last summer, the strength of this U.S. squad appears to be on the defensive end of things. The Americans scored 58 points in group play, but only let in 12 goals, meaning they averaged just 4 goals allowed per game. Netherlands also scored 58 goals, letting in 18 on their end. That’s still a fantastic 6 goals allowed on average per match. Of course, we expect those numbers to go up now that we’re into the round of 16, however, it’s still notable just how strong these teams are defensively.

The match between the USA and Netherlands was the highlight of Group B’ group play. The match ended 11-7, not a blowout, however, the Americans were in control of the match the entire time. The US went into halftime up 6-3, and outscored the Dutch team again in the 3rd quarter, 3-2. By that point, it was too late for the Dutch team, and they would take their only loss of group play.

American Goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson was on top of her game for this match, saving 12 of the 19 shots that came her way, for a 63% save rate. She was also great on extra player shots, saving 2 of the 4 that came her way.

Group C

Similar to the US in Group B, Australia won Group C with a group play record of 3-0. New Zealand played extremely well, dropping only one match, to Australia, for a 2-1 record. Kazakhstan managed one win for a 1-2 record, while Brazil went winless.

Australia was really in a league of their own here, dominating the competition in all 3 matches. They beat Group C runner up New Zealand 11-2, Kazakhstan 19-6, and Brazil 17-5. The Aussies only allowed 13 goals across all 3 matches of the group play, scoring 47 goals of their own.

Group D

Group D was the most evenly matched group of the 4. Greece and Spain ended in a tie, both going 2-0-1 in the group play, with the tie coming in the match against each other. Greece would win the tiebreaker to automatically advance to the quarterfinals. Both teams blew out Thailand (0-3), Greece 28-1, Spain 30-2. They also both cleared France (1-2) without an issue, with Greece having the better match in those regards. The Greek team beat France 15-4, while Spain won their match 18-8.

The Spain versus Greece match was a thriller, ending in a 10-10 tie. They were tied at halftime, 6-6, then both teams scored 2 goals in the 3rd and 4th quarters, resulting in a dead heat.

Not only was the score insanely close, the stats are nearly identical. Spain shot 10/34 on the match, a 29% shooting percentage, while Greece was 10/31, 32%. The Spanish keepers saved 8/18 shots, while the Greek keeper saved 9/19. One key difference is that 4 of Spain’s goals came on extra player shots, while Greece only scored one such goal of their own.

Spain’s Elena Ruiz Barril and Beatriz Ortiz were stars of the match, combining for 19 shots between the pair. Ruiz Barril scored on 4 of her shots, while Ortiz scored 3. On the Greek team, Vasiliki Plevritou and Eleftheria Plevritou were dynamic as well, accounting for 15 shots. They would each score 3.

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