Hungary and the Netherlands join the eight other teams* that have already qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, after winning the semi-final matches of the FINA Women's Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament (from January 19-24, 2021), respectively against Italy and Greece.
In Trieste (ITA), the home team could not overcome an inspired Magyar squad, who had in Rita Keszthelyi the best scorer (six goals) of the decisive game on January 23. The visitors won 13-10 (3-1, 2-2, 4-4, 4-3), sealing their qualification for the Games.
Also on Saturday, Greece got a 4-3 advantage at half of the semi-final against the Netherlands, but after remaining scoreless for the subsequent two periods, the Hellenic side couldn’t avoid the defeat by 4-7.
In the finals on Sunday (with no implication for the Olympic qualification), Hungary won its battle against the Netherlands 13-11 by dominating the first and third quarters (4-3, 2-2, 5-3, 2-3). In the bronze medal match, Greece crushed Italy 10-4 with a strong start in the first quarter (4-1, 0-1, 4-1, 2-1).
For the fifth spot, France imposed itself against Kazakhstan for a final score of 12-10 (3-1, 3-3, 3-4, 3-2), and Israel defeated Slovakia 13-10 (2-1, 1-4, 5-3, 5-2) for places 7-8.
*The eight teams that had already secured an Olympic berth are: USA, Canada, host Japan, China, Australia, South Africa, Spain and Russia.
The final ranking in Trieste was as follows:
1. Hungary (gold), 2. Netherlands (silver), 3. Greece (bronze), 4. Italy, 5. France, 6. Kazakhstan, 7. Israel, 8. Slovakia
Given the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the tournament in Trieste was successfully held under strict sanitary measures, implemented by FINA in co-operation with the Organising Committee.
The FINA Men’s Water Polo Olympic Games Qualification Tournament will take place in Rotterdam (NED) from February 14-21, 2021.