In three days, the list of the participating teams in the Men’s Super Final of the Water Polo World Cup will be complete.
The tournament of Division 2 begins in Berlin tomorrow, immediately after the finish of the female competition in this rank.
Three European, three Asian teams, one team from Africa and one from Zone Oceania will take part. Two will qualify for the Super Final.
Germany qualified as the host and the winner of the European qualifications, where Romania was 2nd. China and Iran were the finalists of the Asian qualifications. New Zealand represents Oceania. South Africa comes as the best team of the “Dark Continent”.
Malta (3rd in Europe) and Kazakhstan (3rd in Asia) were invited to fill the vacancies because the qualified American teams withdrew.
Group A:Romania, Iran, New Zealand, Kazakhstan
Group B: Germany, China, Malta, South Africa
The competition formula is the same as for the women. The teams are split into two groups. On the last day, the winners of the groups will face the 2nd placed team in two finals. The winners of these duels will play at the Super Final in Los Angeles (June 30 – July 2), joining the best six teams qualified from Division 1 (Italy, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Serbia, the USA).
As usual, the Europeans are the favorites, but the Asians can’t be considered the underdogs. This is especially true for China, the second-best Asian team (after Japan), guided by European coaches Petar Porobic (Germany’s head coach until recently) and Ivan Asic.
The derby of the group stage will be the clash between the Germans and the Chinese, scheduled for Saturday.
Three teams that will battle in Berlin participated in the World Championships last year. South Africa finished 12th, ahead of Germany (13th place) and Kazakhstan (14th place). But, the Africans’ result is a combination of circumstances. They entered the classification for places 9th – 12th because their rival in the group, Canada, had to withdraw from the tournament due to many Covid cases at the team. They didn’t record a single win in Budapest. Germany didn’t meet the expectations with 13th place in Budapest, but it recorded two wins (over Brazil and Canada). Kazakhstan won 14th place, without beating any rival, just like South Africa.
The Budapest tournament maybe isn’t an accurate parameter for the predictions. We’ll see what will happen in the following three days and if South Africa can cause surprises. It will have very demanding tasks in the group.
The World Cup is one of the season’s peaks for more than half of the eight teams. Among them are Germany, Romania, Malta, New Zealand and Iran. These five won’t participate in the World Championships in Fukuoka and the World Cup is their only opportunity to enter the big stage in 2023.
The three teams from the “Old continent “will play the qualifications for the European Championships in June (shortly before the World Cup Super Final). The tournament in Berlin will be a good test before the European qualifiers.
Round 1: Romania – Iran (08:30), New Zealand – Kazakhstan (10:00)
Round 2: Romania – Kazakhstan (16:00), New Zealand – Iran (17:30)
Round 3: Malta – South Africa (14:00), New Zealand – Romania (15:45)
Round 1: China – South Africa (11:30), Germany – Malta (13:30)
Round 2: China – Malta (19:00), Germany – South Africa (20:30)
Round 3: Kazakhstan – Iran (17:30), Germany – China (20:30)
For 7th place: 4B – 4A (14:00)
For 5th place: 3B – 3A (15:45)
Match for the Super Final berth 1: 1A – 2B (17:30)
Match for the Super Final berth 2: 2A – 1B (17:30)