Setting the Stage for the Women’s Water Polo World League Super Final

FINA Women’s Water Polo World League Super Final

  • June 4-9, 2019
  • Venue: Duna Arena, Budapest, Hungary
  • Time: UTC+2; 6 hours ahead of ET
  • Live Streaming: All matches will stream live on FINA TV, subscription required
  • Tournament Central

The FINA Women’s Water Polo World League Super Final will pit eight teams against each other with the winner earning both the 2019 World League title and one of 10 berths to the 2020 Olympic Games.

The teams are separated into two groups of four. Australia, China, Italy and the Netherlands will face off in Group A, while Canada, Hungary, Russia and the United States will tangle in Group B.

Standings for the group stage/quarterfinals are decided on points with three being awarded for a regulation victory, two for a shootout win, one for a shootout loss and zero for a regulation loss.

The quarterfinals are set for June 7, followed by the semifinals and fifth through eighth place play on June 8 and the podium matches on June 9.

History

The United States has won the last five Super Final titles and nine of the last 10 (save 2013), boasting 12 overall championships in program history. Team USA, the two-time defending Olympic champ (2012, 2016) brings a roster of 15, including nine members of the 2016 Olympic gold medal team, to Hungary.

The Americans edged the Netherlands 8-6 for the 2018 title to cap a 6-0 run through the tournament, while Russia topped Canada 7-6 for third place.

American Ashleigh Johnson was tabbed as the best goal keeper of the tournament, while the Netherlands’ Sabrina van de Sloot was tabbed as MVP and Maud Megens was the top scorer with 15 goals.

Group A

The reigning European champions from the Netherlands are the team to beat in Group A after their runnerup finish in 2018. Italy is new to the field in 2019, while China finished sixth and Australia checked in at seventh last year.

The Dutch earned their place in the Super Final after winning the Europa Cup Final in Turin, Italy, in March. After going 3-2 in preliminary round action, before winning three in a row en route to the title. The Netherlands topped Spain in the quarterfinals (9-6), Italy (17-11 in the semis) and Russia (11-9 in the final).

The Italians, which were the runnerup at the 2016 Olympics and finished fifth in their last World League Super Final appearance in 2016, were the fourth Super Final qualifier out of the Europa Cup Final in March. Italy went 5-1 in the European preliminaries, but stumbled against the Dutch (17-11 in the semifinals) and Hungary (13-11 in the third-place match) at the Europa Cup Final.

China, which won the Asian Games title in 2018, finished third at the Intercontinental Cup in March to earn their spot in the Super Final. After going 2-1 in the Group A behind the United States, China fell to Australia (12-8) in the semifinals, before topping Canada 11-8 in the third-place game.

Australia won Group B of the Intercontinental Cup in March with a 3-0 record, then rattled off wins over New Zealand (15-4 in the quarterfinals) and China (12-8 in the semis) before falling to the United States 14-12 in the final.

Group B

The United States are the favorites to win the group and go on to win a sixth-straight Super Final crown. Nine Olympians, including captain Maggie Steffens and two-time gold medalist Melissa Seidemann, lead the way for Team USA. Collegiate stars on the roster including all three 2019 finalists for college water polo’s top honor, the Cutino Award, in USC’s Amanda Longan and Paige Hauschild and Stanford’s Makenzie Fischer.

The Americans, which posted a 33-1 mark in 2018, went 6-0 at the Intercontinental Cup to qualify for the Super Final, taking the event title with a 14-12 win over Australia.

Joining the Americans in Group B are host Hungary, Russia and Canada. Russia earned the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and has finished third at the last two World League Super Finals. The Russians went 7-1 in Europa Cup action, falling to the Dutch 11-9 in the final, in qualifying for the Super Final.

Hungary was third at the Europa Cup, besting Italy for the bronze after falling to Russia (15-14) in the semifinals. The Hungarians, which have finished fourth at the last three Olympic Games, did not play in the 2018 edition of the Super Final.

Canada was the fourth qualifier out of the Intercontinental Cup, falling to China 11-8 in the third-place game. The Canadians were fourth at the 2018 Super Final, falling to Russia 7-6 in the bronze medal match.

 

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