A week after the end of the Women’s World League, eight male teams will start the battle for a trophy in this competition.
Men’s World League Super Final starts tomorrow in Tbilisi (Georgia).
According to the regulations, four European and four non-European teams play at the Super Final. But, the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic affected changes in the composition of the Super Final this year. Five European teams will play in Tbilisi: Greece, Montenegro, Italy, host Georgia, and France. They are joined by the USA, Kazakhstan, and Japan.
Group A: Greece, Italy, France, Kazakhstan.
Group B: Montenegro, Georgia, USA, Japan.
Greece, Montenegro, and Italy secured their spots at the Super Final as the best three teams of the European Qualifications. Georgia is directly qualified as a host. The Intercontinental Cup (non-European qualifications) has been canceled due to the effects of the pandemic. Information that the USA, Kazakhstan, Japan, and Argentina will be non-European teams at the F8 appeared a few months ago. But, Argentina, meanwhile, withdrew, and France was invited to replace the South Americans.
The vacant throne is waiting for a new ruler.
Title-holder Serbia, the 10-time gold medalist, didn’t come to Tbilisi. The Olympic champions were ousted in the quarterfinals of the European qualifications.
None of the medal winners in the 2019 World League will play at this year’s Super Final. Croatia, the runner-up in the previous edition, also didn’t manage to pass its hurdle in the European quarterfinals. Australia, which won the bronze medal two years ago, withdrew.
Montenegro is the only of the eight participants that has already won the World League. The Montenegrins did it in 2010 and 2018. They have one silver and two bronze medals. Italy has won four medals in the World League (three silvers and one bronze), the United States’ team has been a runner-up twice, and has finished 3rd once. Greece has won three bronze medals. The other four teams have never won a medal. Japan upset many favorites by reaching the semifinals in 2018, but they finished 4th.
Montenegro, Italy, and Greece are clear favorites for medals. Team USA is also one of the medal contenders. The favorites shouldn’t underestimate host Georgia, France, Japan and Kazakhstan. All of them have made notable progress in recent years. They have caused headaches to the favorites several times at major tournaments. So, it won’t be a big surprise if one of these four teams reaches the semifinals.
Comparing to the previous Final Eight, held in Belgrade in 2019, only two teams are again at the Super Final – Japan, which won 6th place, and Kazakhstan, which finished 7th in Belgrade.
The Super Final will be a good rehearsal for the Olympic Games for six teams. Georgia and France didn’t qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
FINA Men’s World League Super Final 2021, Schedule
Greece – France (18:15)
Kazakhstan – Italy (20:00)
Kazakhstan – France (14:45)
Italy – Greece (18:15)
Greece – Kazakhstan (14:45)
France – Italy (20:00)
Japan – Georgia (16:30)
Georgia – Montenegro (16:30)
Japan – USA (20:00)
USA – Georgia (16:30)
Montenegro – Japan (18:15)
Quarterfinals, June 29
QF1: A1 – B4 (14:45)
QF2: A2 – B3 (16:30)
QF3: A3 – B2 (18:15)
QF3: A4 – B1 (20:00)
Semifinals, June 30
Semifinals 5th-8th place (14:45 and 16:30)
Semifinals 1st – 4th place (18:15 and 20:00)
Final day, July 1
7th-place match (14:45)
5th-place match (16:30)
3rd-place match (18:15)
All times are local (UTC + 4)
2002: Russia, 2003: Hungary, 2004: Hungary, 2005: Serbia and Montenegro, 2006:Serbia and Montenegro, 2007: Serbia, 2008: Serbia, 2009: Montenegro, 2010: Serbia, 2011: Serbia, 2012: Croatia, 2013 – 2017 (5 titles): Serbia, 2018: Montenegro, 2019: Serbia.