Netherlands, Australia and USA were the winning teams in a busy week of the 2019 edition of the FINA Water Polo World Leagues, comprising the Intercontinental Cup in Perth (AUS), from March 26-31, and the Europa Cup in Turin (ITA), from March 29-31.
In Australia, the Intercontinental Cup, for both men and women, consecrated Australia and USA, respectively, in a tournament that qualified four non-European teams for the Super Finals of the competition. Among men, the locals defeated Japan 10-8 in the decisive match (3-2, 4-4, 3-1, 0-1), while Canada easily won (9-4) the bronze medal game against Kazakhstan. These four teams are qualified for the Super Final of the men’s World League, taking place in Belgrade (SRB), on June 18-23, 2019. They will play against the best four European teams, to be decided in the Europa Cup, on April 5-7 in Zagreb (CRO).
In women’s action, the North American squad prevailed (14-12) in Perth, beating the home team after a thrilling game, decided on a penalty shootout. After the regular time, the match was tied at 9-9, but the USA was luckier in the penalties’ session, scoring five goals, against only three for Australia. In the bronze medal match, China was better (11-8) than Canada, completing the quartet qualified for the Super Final of the competition, to be staged in Budapest on June 4-7.
In Perth, the best scorers were respectively Yusuke Inaba (JPN, 21 goals) and Rowie Webster (AUS, 22), in the men’s and women’s tournaments.
USA, Australia, China and Canada will now play the Super Final against the best four of the FINA/LEN Europa Cup, held in Turin this weekend. In the final, Netherlands beat Russia 11-9 (2-1, 4-2, 3-2, 2-4), while Hungary defeated Italy by 13-11 (5-5, 3-1, 2-3, 3-2). At the end of the tournament, Elisabeth Aarts (NED) and Elvina Karimova (RUS) were chosen as the Best Goalkeeper and Best Player, respectively.
Final ranking – Intercontinental Cup
1. Australia; 2. Japan; 3. Canada; 4. Kazakhstan; 5. Argentina; 6. China; 7. New Zealand; 8 South Africa
Teams qualified for the Men’s Super Final:
Australia, Japan, Canada, Kazakhstan + 4 best of the Europa Cup
1. United States; 2. Australia; 3. China; 4. Canada; 5. Japan; 6. Kazakhstan; 7. New Zealand; 8. South Africa
Final ranking – Women’s Europa Cup
1. Netherlands; 2. Russia; 3. Hungary; 4. Italy; 5. Spain; 6. Greece
Teams qualified for the Women’s Super Final:
USA, Australia, China, Canada, Netherlands, Russia, Hungary and Italy