Group Draws Set Paris 2024 Olympic Water Polo Fields

The fields for men’s and women’s water polo at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are set, and at the conclusion of the tournament, World Aquatics conducted the draw to split the teams into two pools.

In the Olympic format, 12 men’s teams and 10 women’s teams advance to the Olympic Games. Teams play a single round-robin within their group, with the top four teams advancing to the knockout stages.

Teams are ranked within their groups in this order:

  1. Points (2 for a win, 1 for a draw, 0 for a loss)
  2. Points scored by teams involved in a tie*
  3. Head-to-head goal differential among teams involved in a tie
  4. Head-to-head goals scored among teams involved in a tie
  5. Overall goal difference from teams involved in a tie

Remembering that World Aquatics has removed ties from international water polo, so each game ends in a result, even if it requires a shootout to get there, rules #2, #3, and #4 can be condensed into “who won” when the tie is among two teams.

Men’s Draw

Rankings based on AQUA world ranking system as of the conclusion of 2023

Group A (Average World Ranking 7.67):

  • Greece (#3)
  • Italy (#5)
  • Croatia (#6)
  • Montenegro (#7)
  • United States (#8)
  • Romania (#17)

Group B (Average World Ranking 6):

  • Spain (#1)
  • Hungary (#2)
  • Serbia (#4)
  • Australia (#9)
  • Japan (T-#9)
  • France (#11)

While Group B, on paper, is the better of the two pools, Group A includes the two teams what played for gold at the 2024 World Championships: Croatia (gold) and Italy (silver).

This wound up being close to a ‘true’ field in the sense that the top 11 teams from the most recent World Championships, and 12 out of the top 13 teams, are all qualified for the Olympics. The exception is 13th-place Japan, which qualified ahead of 12th-place China by winning the gold medal at the 2023 Asian Games.

China would have needed to place 10th to qualify for the Olympics – a wildcard spot opened for Romania after South Africa declined its spot as the top team in Africa.

Women’s Draw

Rankings based on AQUA world ranking system as of the conclusion of 2023

Group A

  • Netherlands (#2)
  • Hungary (#4)
  • Australia (#6)
  • Canada (#8)
  • China (#12)

Group B

  • Spain (#1)
  • United States (#3)
  • Italy (#5)
  • Greece (#7)
  • France (#10)

With Russia outlawed from participation and South Africa declining their spot as the top team in Africa, the remaining 10 best teams in the world are headed to Paris for the Olympics, including the hosts France.

The South African withdrawal due to financial constraints allowed Canada a wildcard spot via their 8th-place finish at the 2024 World Championships. The 7 countries ahead of them were already qualified.

The top 8 teams, including gold medalists’ the United States, from 2024 Worlds all qualified, as did 10th-place finishers China and 13th-place finishers France (via host nation qualification).

The United States, which bounced back for gold at the 2024 Worlds after a 2023 stumble, is seeking a fourth-straight Olympic gold medal. They have been drawn into the same group as Spain, the team they beat for gold at Tokyo and Rio.

That means both a big early-season showdown, and that if they finish the expected 1-2 in that group, they wouldn’t face each other in the knockout stages until a potential final.

The only differences from this field to the one in Tokyo is the absence of 4th-place Russia and 9th-place Japan. Greece and Italy are the teams that have entered the fray in their steads.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

I anticipate both the men’s and women’s teams from USA to medal: for the women, gold! for the men, either silver or goal.

li k
2 months ago

Unless the Hungarians get the better of the US teams!!! For the women it was really close…

2 months ago

It’s certainly possible but the US men winning gold is unlikely. And for the women, while they are the favourites, they aren’t as dominant as they were before so I wouldn’t be too sure.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »