2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships – Water Polo
- June 20 – July 3, 2022 (water polo)
- Budapest, Hungary
- Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Stadium
After the women’s competition got underway on Monday, the men’s water polo tournament at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest kicked off Tuesday with eight matches in group play.
The contests included the reigning Olympic champions from Serbia taking on the U.S., while the defending world champion Italians faced off with the South Africans. The night closed with the hometown Hungarian team taking on Montenegro.
- Georgia 14, Brazil 8
Georgia picked up a 14-8 victory over Brazil thanks to a six-goal third quarter, as both Boris Vapenski and Jovan Saric scored four goals apiece.
Neither team qualified to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, and this is actually Georgia’s first-ever World Championships appearance. The team qualified after Russia was banned from competing.
- Hungary 12, Montenegro 8
The Hungarians got off to a good start on home soil, securing a 12-8 victory over Montenegro thanks to a four-goal performance from Marko Petkovic.
Hungary has been among the best teams in the world over the last five years, winning silver at the 2017 Worlds, placing fourth in 2019, and then winning bronze last year at the Olympics. They also won the 2020 European title (in 2021).
- Japan 12, Germany 11
Japan earned a narrow victory over Germany, 12-11, though they almost blew it.
Japan was up 11-6 after three quarters, and then the Germans charged back in the fourth, getting within two before Japan scored an insurance marker to open the lead up to 12-9 with two and a half minutes remaining. Germany put two more on the board to get within one, but Japan gets the victory.
- Croatia 8, Greece 8 (DRAW)
In a battle of heavyweights, Croatia and Greece fought to an 8-8 draw in their opening match of the competition, with the Greeks getting out to a quick 4-1 lead after the first quarter and then the Croats tying it up heading into the half, 5-5.
With the game tied at 7 in the fourth, Angelos Vlachopoulos scored his fourth goal of the game to give Greece a one-goal lead. Croatia answered with less than two minutes remaining, as Andrija Basic tallied one to bring the game even.
The Greeks were the runners-up to Serbia at last year’s Olympics, while Croatia won bronze at the 2019 World Championships.
- Italy 22, South Africa 4
The defending world champion Italians opened their campaign with a blowout 22-4 victory over South Africa. The win included Italy outscoring the South Africans 15-1 over the middle two quarters.
The Italians had eight different players score at least two goals, led by Andrea Fondelli with four.
In Tokyo, Italy was bounced in the quarter-finals by Serbia, who went on to win the gold medal.
- Spain 19, Canada 2
The Spaniards put a damper on Canada’s first appearance at Worlds since 2017, coming away with a dominant 19-2 victory while keeping the Canadian team scoreless over the entire second half.
Spain was led by Felipe Perrone Rocha, who scored five times on six shots.
Spain was the runner-up to Italy at the 2019 World Championships, and placed fourth in Tokyo after losing the bronze-medal game to Hungary.
In a group where two teams are significantly superior to the two others, we’ll have to wait until Saturday to see Italy and Spain go head-to-head and find out who will come out of Group ‘C’ on top.
- Australia 10, Kazakhstan 4
The two teams battled to a similar result last summer in Tokyo, as the Aussies won 15-7 in group play, though neither advanced to the medal round.
- Serbia 17, USA 13
The reigning Olympic champions took out the Americans in what will likely be their most challenging game until the knockout stage, as Serbia downed the U.S. 17-13 in a tight match.
Up 11-10 going into the fourth, the Serbians pulled away from the Americans with three quick goals to go up 14-11 and ultimately cruise to a 17-13 decision.
Both Dusan Mandic (SRB) and Alexander Bowen (USA) scored four goals. Both players were among the top scorers at the Tokyo Olympics, with Bowen putting the ball in the net 18 times to tie for fourth among all players while Mandic scored 17 times to tie for sixth.