Recapping Water Polo at the World Championships: Stats, Awards & Standings

World Aquatics Championships – Men’s Water Polo

The United States women’s water polo team claimed its third straight World Championship title and sixth overall, while Italy was crowned as the men’s champion for the fourth time in Gwangju, Korea. Spain was the runnerup in both water polo championship races.

The USA women downed Spain 11-6 on Friday to earn the three-peat and add another trophy to go to with those from 2003, 2007, 2009, 2015 and 2017.  Spain, meanwhile, had to settle for the silver medal for the second straight Worlds. Australia clinched the bronze with a 10-9 victory over Hungary, marking the Aussies best finish since earning silver in 2013.

Italy captured its fourth men’s water polo World Championship title on with a 10-5 win over Spain. The Italians also won gold in 1978, 1994 and 2011. The silver medal marks the best finish for Spain since a runnerup finish in 2009. Croatia, the 2017 champs, rounded out the podium with the bronze medal, topping 2017 runnerup Hungary 10-7.

Final Women’s Standings

Rank Team
1st, gold medalist(s)  United States
2nd, silver medalist(s)  Spain
3rd, bronze medalist(s)  Australia
4  Hungary
5  Russia
6  Italy
7  Netherlands
8  Greece
9  Canada
10  Kazakhstan
11  China
12  New Zealand
13  Japan
14  South Africa
15  Cuba
16  South Korea

Final Men’s Standings

Rank Team
1st, gold medalist(s)  Italy
2nd, silver medalist(s)  Spain
3rd, bronze medalist(s)  Croatia
4  Hungary
5  Serbia
6  Australia
7  Greece
8  Germany
9  United States
10  Montenegro
11  Japan
12  South Africa
13  Brazil
14  Kazakhstan
15  South Korea
16  New Zealand

Statistically Speaking

On the women’s side, Hungary scored the most goals, racking up 134 across seven matches, including a record-breaking 64-0 preliminary victory over Korea.

Russia followed with 95 goals in six contests, while the USA came in third with 93 scores across six games.

Hungary made 53 percent of its total shots (134/154). Spain cashed in on 43 percent of its tries (85/197) followed by Canada (84/204) and Japan (62/152) with 41 percent.

The top goalkeeper in terms of saves was Italy’s Giulia Gorlero, who made 80 stops in 124 shots faced across six games (65 percent). Greece’s Ioanna Stamatopoulou was second in saves with 61 in 127 tries (48 percent). Kazakhstan’s Alexandra Zharkimbayeva was third with 59 stops in 135 shots faced (44 percent).

Name Saves/Shots Faced Save Percentage
Giulia Gorlero, Italy 80/124 65
Ioanna Stamatopoulou, Greece 61/127 48
Alexandra Zharkimbayeva, Kazakhstan 59/135 44
Gabriella Palm, Australia 54/96 56
Anna Karnaukh, Russia 54/98 55

In terms of efficiency, Russia’s Evegeniia Golovina stopped 96 percent of the shots she faced (22 of 23) in three matches. For those facing more than 30 shots, the United States’ Ashleigh Johnson (74 percent, 43/58) and Gorlero (65 percent) were tops in goals against percentage. Full goalkeeper stats are available here.

Name Saves/Shots Faced Save Percentage
Evgeniia Golovina, Russia 22/23 96
Minami Shioya, Japan 9/12. 75
Ashleigh Johnson, USA 43/58 74
Claire Wright, Canada 19/27 70
Giulia Gorlero, Italy 80/124 65

Hungary’s Rita Keszthelyi racked up a tournament leading 24 goals, with 15 in the preliminary round and nine in the finals. The Netherlands’ Maud Megens was second with 20 goals, followed by Japan’s Yumi Arima and Hungary’s Greta Gurisatti with 18 apiece.

Name Goals/Shots Efficiency (%)
Rita Keszthelyi, Hungary 24/55 44
Maud Megens, Netherlands 20/42 48
Yumi Arima, Japan 18/41 44
Greta Gurisatti, Hungary 18/27 67
Morgan McDowall, New Zealand 17/32 53

In terms of shooting efficiency, Hungary boasted the top three scorers in Dora Leimeter (14 of 17, 82 percent), Rebecca Parkes (15 of 22, 68 percent) and Gurisatti (18/27, 67 percent). Stephanie Haralabidis of the United States and Maica Garcia Godoy rounded out the top five with 63 percent made, scoring 12 of 19 shots apiece.  A full list of the Top 24 scorers is available here.

Name Goals/Shots Efficiency (%)
Dora Leimeter, Hungary 14/17 82
Rebecca Parkes, Hungary 15/22 68
Greta Gurisatti, Hungary 18/27 67
Maica Garcia Godoy, Spain 12/19. 63
Stephanie Haralabidis, USA 12/19. 63

In men’s action, Spain scored a tournament best 95 goals in seven games, while Hungary added 87 in six games and Germany added 82 scores in seven games. Montenegro was fourth with 81 goals over six contests, while the United States was fifth with 79 scores in six games.

Spain and Hungary were the most efficient scoring teams, each putting in 43 percent of its shots. The Spaniards made 95 of 222 shots, while Hungary hit 87 of its 204 tries. Croatia (77/184) and Montenegro (81/191) were tied for third with 42 percent made. The USA was fifth, making 41 percent of its shots (79/193).

Germany’s Moritz Schenkel racked up the most saves among the tournament’s goalkeepers, saving 69 shots. Italy’s Marco Del Lungo (67) and Serbia’s Strajo Risticevic (60) followed.

Name Saves/Shots Faced Save Percentage
Moritz Schenkel, Germany 69/125 55
Marco Del Lungo, Italy 67/107 63
Strajo Risticevic, Serbia 60/107 56
Daniel Lopez Pinedo, Spain 59/103 57
Joel Dennerley, Australia 57/117 49

In terms of efficiency between the pipes, Serbia’s Lazar Dobozanov saved 80 percent of the shots he faced, but only played in one match, making four saves in five shot attempts. Croatia’s Ivan Marcelic and Spain’s Eduardo Lorrio Bejar followed with 75 percent and 68 percent respectively, but both faced less than 19 shots.

Among those with 30 or more shots faced, Del Lungo was tops with 63 percent, followed by Greece’s Emmanouil Zerdevas (61) and Konstantinos Galanidis (60).

Name Saves/Shots Faced Save Percentage
Lazar Dobozanov, Serbia 4/5. 80
Ivan Marcelic, Croatia 9/12. 75
Eduardo Lorrio Bejar, Spain 13/19 68
Drew Holland, USA 11/17. 65
Marco Del Lungo, Italy 67/107 63
Tomoyoshi Fukushima, Japan 5/8. 63
Emmanouil Zerdevas, Greece 47/77 61
Konstantinos Galanidis, Greece 35/58 60

Montenegro’s Aleksandar Ivovic was goalkeepers’ toughest foe, putting in a tournament-best 21 goals. Croatia’s Maro Jokovic (19) and Hungary’s Gergo Zalanki (18) followed.

Name Goals/Shots Efficiency (%)
Aleksandar Ivovic, Montenegro 21/35 60
Maro Jokovic, Croatia 19/30 63
Gergo Zalanki, Hungary 18/39 46
Strahinja Rasovic, Serbia 16/29 55
Luuk Gielen, Germany 15/34 44
Alvaro Garnados Ortega, Spain 15/38 39
Joe Kayes, Australia 15/29 52
Blai Mallarach Guell, Spain 15/40 38
Alberto Munarriz Egana, Spain 14/34 44

American Johnny Hooper was the most efficient shooter, hitting 70 percent of his 20 shots (14/20). Jokovic (63 percent) and American Ben Hallock (62 percent) rounded out the top three.

Name Goals/Shots Efficiency
Johnny Hooper, USA 14/20 70
Maro Jokovic, Croatia 19/30 63
Ben Hallock, USA 13/21 62
Aleksandar Ivovic, Montenegro 21/35 60
Strahinja Rasovic, Serbia 16/29 55


On the women’s side, Spain’s Roser Tarrago I Aymerich was tabbed as the Most Valuable Player. Tarrago put in 16 goals on 32 shots (50 percent)

Spain’s Laura Ester was tabbed as the most valuable goalkeeper, making 42 saves of 76 shots faced (55 percent) in five games.

The seven member Media All-Star team included players from five countries.

For the men, Italy’s Francesco Di Fulvio was tabbed as the MVP after posting a team-leading nine goals in 35 shots.

The Most Valuable Goalkeeper was Spain’s Daniel Lopez Pinedo. Lopez made 59 saves in 103 shots faced (57 percent).

The seven-member Media All-Star team  included players from six different countries.

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3 years ago

So the Spanish women get routed by the USA in the final but still snag the Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Goalkeeper awards for the tournament? The water polo bureaucracy must be pretty mad at the USA women these days.