FINA Water Polo World League
Since 2002, the world’s best water polo national teams meet in an annual season format and compete against one another in the sport’s first international league.
In 2007, FINA launched a new formula with a more standard format comprising only preliminaries and the Super Final for both men’s and women’s tournament. In the preliminaries, the competition is organised as a tournament system, two for Asia and Oceania, one for Africa, and a series of “home and away” games for Europe. A Super Final with eight qualifying teams concludes the competition, comprising one team from the Americas, two from the Asia and Oceania tournament, one from Africa and four from the European tournament.
Super Final 2011 (Men): Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and Italy win on Day 1
FLORENCE, Italy (June 21) - The stage of this edition, which will qualify the winning team directly to the 2012 Olympic Games in London and will earn the winners a US$ 100,000 prize money, is the municipal swimming complex “Paolo Costoli” in Florence, Italy. Florence is home to Gianni Lonzi, the FINA TWPC Chairman and the inspirer of the Local Organising Committee. Florence is a traditional hub of Italian water polo and also the home of both the legendary Gianni De Magistris and the current goalkeeper and captain of the Italian national team Stefano Tempesti. Eight teams are taking part in this Super Final: the United States, Serbia, China, Italy in Group 1; Australia, Canada, Montenegro and Croatia in Group 2.
Super Final 2011 (Women): Unstoppable USA claims incredible sixth World League crown
TIANJIN, China (June 19) - United States of America continued its domination of the FINA Women’s World League crown with an incredible sixth title against Italy in the gold-medal final at the Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool this evening.
The USA escaped the doldrums and a 7-7 tie inside the final five minutes to win 9-7. The top-of-the-dais effort means the North Americans have won all the major events for the last two years — 2009 World Championships, 2010 World Cup and three successive World Leagues — and is an ominous sign leading up to next year’s London Olympic Games. The only time in the eight editions of the World League that the USA did not stand on the podium was in Kirishi, Russia in 2005 (finishing fifth). In 2008, Russia had the better of the USA in the final.
For Brenda VILLA and Heather PETRI it was their sixth World League gold medal to go with their three Olympic medals and three FINA World Championship golds. VILLA, named to the Media All Star Team, also has World Cup gold in her collection. Betsy ARMSTRONG, voted the tournament’s best goalkeeper, secured her fourth gold medal along with Lauren WENGER, Elsie WINDES and Kameryn CRAIG. Three others took home their third golds and three more their second.
Super Final 2011 (Women): USA and Italy to battle out World League Super Final decider
TIANJIN, China (June 18) - Reigning champion United States of America will be shooting for its sixth FINA Women’s World League crown when it faces shock finalist Italy in the gold-medal final at the Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool tomorrow. The USA came from 4-2 down at the quarter and 6-5 at halftime to beat Australia 8-7, breaking a 7-7 deadlock with an Elsie WINDES goal inside the final three minutes.
Italy repeated its mega effort of the night before when it beat Russia in a nail-biting shootout to defeat China 7-5 in the other semifinal with a scoreless final quarter. For USA it is a chance to further stamp its authority on this event while Italy is looking to go one better than its one silver (Cosenza, Italy 2006) and one bronze (Long Beach 2004).
Margaret STEFFENS (USA), twice a scorer in the match with Australia, said her team took it “quarter by quarter, winning every little battle” as the match progressed. On there being no panic in the team when behind at halftime, STEFFENS said: “There was adrenalin building in you all the time. We had to be smart on defence. We knew it was going to end up a swim meet as the Australians are super fast. It comes down to who can keep going the longest. “
Super Final 2011 (Women): Russia dumped from the World League semifinals by Italy in sudden-death penalty shootout
TIANJIN, China (June 17) - Russia did the unthinkable by losing to Italy 21-20 in a sudden-death penalty shootout to miss the semifinals of the FINA Women’s World League Super Final in Tianjin. The game was locked at 12-12 by fulltime after Russia missed a gift penalty attempt six seconds from fulltime forcing the shooting that went to 22 shots before a winner could be found. It was astounding, given that Italy had not won a game in the rounds and toppled the unbeaten Russians at the Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool.
The gutsy Italians, who led 1-0 in the first and regained the lead at 8-7 and 9-8, equalised with 12 seconds remaining and gave up a penalty attempt. The win sees it play China in tomorrow’s semifinals. China, needed a penalty shootout to best Spain 13-12.
In the other quarter-finals, the reigning champion United States of America beat Canada 8-6 to set up a semifinal with world No 2 Australia who beat Greece 10-8.
Super Final 2011 (Women): USA and Russia win groups ahead of World League quarter-finals
TIANJIN, China (June 16) - Reigning champion United States of America and world No 4 Russia have topped the groups after on day-three action at the FINA Women’s World League Super Final in Tianjin tonight. Playing before another large crowd at the Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool, the USA slipped into top place after a shock 11-10 sudden-death, penalty-shootout victory by Greece.
It was a rare win for the Greeks over the USA and the game was a rare event in itself with USA winning the first period 4-0, Greece winning the second 4-0 and the USA throwing three consecutive goals after Greece went 5-4 ahead. Greece closed normal time with the only two goals of the final quarter. Both teams converted three shots in the regular rotation but it came down to sudden death where Stavroula ANTONAKOU scored but goalkeeper Eleni KOUVDOU blocked Kelly RULON’s attempt.
Greek captain Kyriaki LIOSI praised her goalkeeper. “She was very good and caught everything. We didn’t start very well.” On what was said at quarter time: “We must be strong. We must solve the problems and we must score. We did that.”
Super Final 2011 (Women): USA impressive in 8-5 win over China
TIANJIN, China (June 15) - Reigning champion United States of America looked impressive against world No 3 China on day-two action at the FINA Women’s World League Super Final in Tianjin tonight. Playing in the impressive Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool in front of 700 people, USA took a 4-2 halftime lead to 8-3 against a jaded-looking China.
Chinese head coach Juan JANE GIRALT said the tournament was tough “with the best eight teams in the world here”. “To play up approximately with the USA and Australia we need to play normal. The solutions are technical. Perhaps I am not selling my ideas very well. We are not creating opportunities very well.”
For USA mastermind Adam KRIKORIAN it was a margin he did not expect. “To beat a team like that by four goals means it must have been an aberration (by them).” He was pleased with his defence — “the five-man defence and the half-court defence”. “Our goalkeeper (Tumuaialii ANAE) played well and I think we were a little too passive once ahead.
WPWL 2011: Brand new stadium hosts Women’s Water Polo Super Final
TIANJIN, China (June 14) - The pecking order for women’s water polo at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai next month is this week taking a turn in Tianjin, east of Beijing. The FINA Women’s Water Polo Super Final started at the fantastic, newly opened Tianjin Olympic Centre Swimming & Diving Pool today.
The complex, which can house up to 5000 spectators in this city of 13 million people, was opened just a month ago and is staging its first FINA event. The city previously held the 2006 FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup.
Making an impression on day one was host team China in what is the team’s hometown. World No 3 China thrilled a large crowd with a last-gasp 9-8 victory over Greece to take the early lead in Group A. The champion of the past two years, United States of America, closed out Italy 9-6 after being 2-1 down in the first quarter.
WPWL 2011: Second-quarter blitz seals top spot in Asia-Oceania for Aussie Stingers women
Sydney (May 19). With the qualifying over, all eyes are now on the FINA World League Super Finals next month. The final qualification matches were played at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre tonight with the big issue who was going to top the women's group of the Asia-Oceania zone.
WPWL 2011: China men book trip to Florence while New Zealanders hit top form
But China men, under pressure to join their female counterparts and qualify, were up against a Japanese team riding a high of top-class play and an easier final day against New Zealand compared to China’s opponent of unbeaten Australia.
WPWL 2011: Australia men and women qualify for Super Finals, as does China women
Sydney (May 18). Australia has qualified both its teams for the FINA World League Super Finals following third-night action in the second leg of the Asia-Oceania FINA World League water polo event at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
China women are also in an unassailable position with two nights remaining but the real action is which of the two teams — China and Japan — will fill the second spot in the men’s competition in Florence, Italy next month?
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