FINA World League

USA and Australia face in two final games at Inter-Continental Cup

Photo: Water Polo Canada/Facebook.com

The Intercontinental qualifications for the FINA World League Super Final tournaments are approaching the end. The competition, called the Inter-Continental Cup, both for men and for women, is taking place in Auckland (New Zealand), with the participation of nine male and seven female teams. The Inter-Continental Cup started on Tuesday and will be ended tomorrow. Top four teams in both competitions will play at the Super Final tournaments.

Friday and Saturday were the crucial days of the contest in Auckland. After women’s quarterfinals and the last round of the group phase for men, eight teams advanced to the World League Super Final tournaments. Non-European teams at the WPWL Final Eight for men will be the USA, Australia, Kazakhstan and Japan. Women’s squads of Australia, the USA, Canada and China booked their Super Final berths.

The matches for the final classification at the Inter-Continental Cup will be played on Sunday.

FINA Inter-Continental Cup for men: USA and Australia unbeaten

Australia and the USA will play in the men’s final, as both squads finished the preliminary competition atop of their respective groups. The Aussie Sharks played in a group of four teams (Group A) and recorded three big wins (against Canada, Argentina and Kazakhstan).

The United States water polo squad had four rivals in Group B. The USA finished the group phase unbeaten, as well as Australia. The Americans had three pretty easy tasks (New Zealand, China and Saudi Arabia). As expected, their biggest opponent was Japan, which upset the USA team at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, beating the Americans by a six-goal margin (11:5). The two sides fought a big battle in Auckland on Thursday. Japan opened the match with a 2:0 lead. By halftime, the USA turned around a deficit to a slim lead (6:5). The USA controlled the close battle in the second half for a 12:10 win.

Japan convincingly defeated China (16:4), New Zealand (18:10) and Saudi Arabia (18:5) and took the 2nd place in Group B. Japan will face Kazakhstan in the match for bronze.

Kazakhstan was ranked 2nd in Group A. The players from the former USSR republic were defeated by Australia. They secured the 2nd place thanks to victories in two dramatic matches – against Canada (10:9) and against Argentina, which made a debut in the World League (12:9, after the penalty shootout).

Results and standings

Group A

Day 1
Kazakhstan – Canada 10:9 (0:3, 4:3, 2:1, 4:2)
Australia – New Zealand (2nd team) 20:0 (5:0, 5:0, 6:0, 4:0)*

Day 2
Kazakhstan – Argentina 12:9 (1:3, 3:1, 3:2, 1:1 – 4:1 pso)
Australia – Canada 15:8 (4:2, 4:1, 6:2, 1:3)

Day 3
Australia – Argentina 16:7 (7:3, 3:3, 2:1, 4:0)
Canada – New Zealand (2) 20:9 (5:2, 7:2, 5:2, 3:3)*

Day 4
Kazakhstan – Australia 6:21 (2:4, 1:5, 3:6, 0:6)
Argentina – New Zealand (2) 18:3 (4:0, 4:1, 5:0, 5:2)*

Day 5
Argentina – Canada 3:10 81:4, 0:2, 1:1, 1:3)
Kazakhstan – New Zealand (2) 15:7*

1. Australia 3 – 9
2. Kazakhstan 3 – 5
3. Canada 3 -3
4. Argentina 3 – 1

*unnoficial game. Team New Zealand 2 is competing in the tournament, but its ranking  will not count for qualification for the FINA Water Polo World League Super Final 2018.

Group B

Day 1
China – Saudi Arabia 13:4 (4:0, 4:2, 4:2, 1:0)
New Zealand – United States 3:18 (0:4, 1:3, 1:8, 1:3)

Day 2
United States – Saudi Arabia 18:3 (7:1, 3:1, 5:0, 3:1)
Japan – China 16:4 (3:1, 4:1, 5:1, 4:1)

Day 3
Japan – United States 10:12 (3:3, 3:4, 3:3, 1:2)
New Zealand – Saudi Arabia 15:9 (2:3, 2:4, 5:1, 6:1)

Day 4
China – USA 2:14 (0:3, 1:5, 0:4, 1:2)
New Zealand – Japan 10:18 (2:8, 2:3, 4:5, 2:2)

Day 5

China – New Zealand 7:10 (1:3, 2:1, 2:4, 2:2)
Japan – Saudi Arabia 18:5 (5:0, 4:1, 7:1, 2:3)

1. USA 4 – 12
2. Japan 4 – 9
3. New Zealand 4 – 6
4. China 4 – 3
5. Saudi Arabia 4 – 0

Matches for the final classification (Sunday)

For 9th place: Saudi Arabia – New Zealand (unofficial)
For 7th place: China – Argentina
For 5th place: New Zealand – Canada
For bronze: Kazakhstan – Japan
Final: USA – Australia

USA, Australia, Kazakhstan and Japan will play at the FINA World League Super Final

FINA Inter-Continental Cup for women: Surprise on Day 1

Just like in men’s tournament, Australia and the United States will play in the final game of the women’s competition. It will be their 2nd clash at the Inter-Continental Cup in Auckland.

The seven female teams were split into two groups. After the group stage, all of them continued the competition in the quarterfinals.

The tournament started with a surprise in Group B. On Day 1, Australia defeated the team of the USA, which has dominated in the women’s water polo in the last few years. The USA led for most of the time. The Olympic and the world champions led 6:3 early in the third period. Australia netted three goals in a row to go ahead for the first time (8:7). The Americans levelled, but Baxter scored the winner for the Aussie Stingers seven seconds from the end (9:8). Australia took the first place in the group, the USA was the 2nd, ahead of Kazakhstan.

Canada was the first team which secured its spot at the Super Final tournament. The Canadians won the first place in Group A, and directly advanced to the semifinals. Three teams were in official competition in Group B (the fourth was New Zealand 2). Because of that Canada Canada had a quarterfinal bye. A win against China in a thrilling match on Day 1 (11:10) proved vital in Canada’s run to the top spot in Group A.

In the quarterfinals, Australia demolished host New Zealand (15:4). The USA defeated Japan with an ease (16:9). China continued its route to the Super Finals by beating Kazakhstan – 9:6, in the encounter which was decided in the first two quarters (China was 8:4 up at halftime).

Canada was stopped by the USA in the semifinals (16:11), while Australia defeated China in an encounter which was very similar to the match USA – Australia in the 1st round. The Aussie Stingers defeated China with a goal scored just 1.3 seconds before the final buzzer (8:7). Canada and China will play for bronze.

Results and rankings

Group A

Day 1
Canada – China 11:10 (3:2, 2:2, 4:3, 2:3)
New Zealand – Japan 7:9 (0:0, 1:3, 1:3, 5:3)

Day 2
China – Japan 11:7 (3:2, 4:2, 2:2, 2:1)
New Zealand – Canada 5:15 (1:5, 1:3, 3:3, 0:4)

Day 3
Canada – Japan 15:13 (3:3, 5:3, 6:5, 1:2)
China – New Zealand 10:5 (2:1, 3:0,3:2, 2:2)

1. Canada 3 – 9
2. China 3 – 6
3. Japan 3 – 3
4. New Zealand 3 – 0

Group B

Day 1
Kazakhstan – New Zealand (2) 19:5 (7:1, 2:1, 6:1, 4:2)*
United States – Australia 8:9(3:1, 2:2, 2:4, 1:2)

Day 2
USA – New Zealand (2) 24:2 (5:0, 6:1, 7:0, 6:1)*
Kazakhstan – Australia 2:10 (1:2, 0:3, 1:3, 0:2)

Day 3
Australia – New Zealand (2) 20:2 (7:0, 4:0, 6:2, 3:0)*
USA – Kazakhstan 13:6 (6:4, 2:0, 4:1, 1:1)

1. Australia 2 – 6
2. USA 2 – 3
3. Kazakhstan 2 – 0

*unofficial game. Team New Zealand 2 is competing in the tournament according, but its ranking in the final standing will not count for qualification for the FINA World League – Super Final 2018.

Quarterfinals

China – Kazakhstan 9:6 (3:2,5:2, 1:1, 0:1)
USA – Japan 16:9 (6:2, 6:2, 1:4, 3:1)
Australia – New Zealand 15:4 (4:1, 4:1, 4:0, 3:2)
Canada bye (beat New Zealand 2 in unofficial match 18:4)

Semifinals

1st – 4th place
China – Australia 7:8 (1:1, 2:3, 2:2, 2:2)
USA – Canada 16:11 (4:3, 6:4, 3:1, 3:3)

5th – 8th place
Kazakhstan – New Zealand 18:17 (4:2, 1:3, 5:4, 4:5, 4:1-penalty shootout)
Japan bye (beat New Zealand in unofficial match 24:3)

Matches for the final classification (Sunday)

For 7th place New Zealand – New Zealand 2 (unofficial)
For 5th place: Japan – Kazakhstan.
For bronze: Canada – China.
Final: USA – Australia.

Australia, USA, Canada  and China  will play at the FINA World League Super Final

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