The 2020 edition of both the Men’s and Women’s FINA Water Polo World League kicks-off this Tuesday November 12, with the first matches of the European preliminaries. Five games will take place in different locations of the Old Continent, corresponding to “Game Day 1” in both the men’s and women’s tournament.
The men’s calendar includes four encounters: in Piraeus, Greece will receive Italy (the 2019 world champion); in Budapest, the team of Hungary will play the initial match with Russia; in the Hague, the Dutch side won’t have an easy task against the 2019 World League winners, Croatia; and in Niksic, Montenegro will try to beat Ukraine.
The European competition for men includes four groups of three teams each, as follows:
Group A – Greece, Italy and Georgia
Group B – Hungary, Russia and France
Group C – Netherlands, Serbia and Croatia
Group D – Montenegro, Ukraine and Spain
After these first matches on November 12, subsequent rounds will take place on December 17, February 11, 2020, March 17, April 14 and 28.
The four best European squads will then be selected for the Super Final of the World League, which will also include the four best teams of the Intercontinental Cup (for non-European nations). The host of the Super Final is included in either the European or non-European group of qualifiers.
Among women, the “Game Day 1” will only comprise one match, in Sabadell, where Spain (2019 world silver medallist) will encounter France. The remaining two games of this round will take place on December 10 (Italy vs Russia) and on December 23 (Greece vs Hungary). Subsequent rounds of the women’s tournament are scheduled on November 19, February 25, 2020, March 24, April 7 and 28.
Seven teams (the best three will qualify for the Super Final) are competing in the women’s European preliminaries – Spain, Netherlands, Greece, Russia, Italy, Hungary and France. Four more teams (plus the host) will qualify for the Super Final, coming from the Intercontinental Cup, to be held on April 28-May 3, 2020 in Indianapolis (USA).
The FINA Water Polo World League provides a total of USD 690,000 in prize money, equally distributed between the men’s and women’s tournament.
In the 2019 edition of the FINA Water Polo World League, the best of the men’s event were Serbia (first), Croatia (second) and Australia (third), while USA (gold), Italy (silver) and Russia (bronze) prevailed in the women’s tournament.