The first competition for the national teams in 2023 will be the newly-launched Water Polo World Cup, which is a replacement for the World League.
The qualifications in Division 1 for men will be held in March. The teams will play in two groups, with six teams in each group, as planned. The round-robin system will be applied. But the calendar and the composition of the groups have been modified.
According to the initially announced competition format, the games of each group were supposed to be played in two different venues. The first three rounds were scheduled for March 8 – 10, while the remaining two were supposed to be staged on March 14 and 15
Meanwhile, some changes have been made. All games in one group will be played in the same pool.
The Croatian Water Polo Federation was awarded the organization of Group A, which will take place in Zagreb. The Montenegrin Water Polo Federation will host the tournament of Group B in Podgorica.
But, at the draw, held in Budapest on November 25, Croatia and Montenegro were drawn into the same group (Group B).
Since Croatia will host the games of Group A, it was moved to this group. The European champions switched places with Greece, which will play in Group B. These two teams were in the same pot of the draw. The teams were allocated to the pots according to the rankings at the World Championships in Budapest (Greece won 3rd and Croatia 4th place at the Championships in Budapest).
After this modification, the groups are as follows-
GROUP A: Italy, Croatia, USA, Hungary, Japan, France.
GROUP B: Spain, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Australia, Georgia.
The tournaments in Croatia and Montenegro will be played between March 8 and 14. Each team will play five games and have two days off during the competition.
The top three teams from each group will advance to the World Cup Super Final (the host hasn’t been determined yet).
Besides six teams from Division 1, the top two teams from Division 2 will participate in the Super Final. The final tournament will be staged between June 30 and July 2 with a knockout competition system (quarterfinals, semifinals, final).
The finalists of the World Cup will qualify for the 2024 World Championships in Doha.
The start of the World Cup for ladies is scheduled for April.