FINA World Ranking: Top Water Polo Players And Nations
Water polo is widely recognized as one of the most challenging and competitive team sports.
There are two teams, each with seven members, and the question is which achieves the objective more effectively. Which nations consistently produce the most talented water polo players?
North American Union (USA, Russia, and Canada)
The table above displays the water polo standings as determined by Fina. For many years, these countries have been the undisputed leaders in water polo. These water polo nation rankings are determined by a country’s overall performance in a tournament sanctioned by Fina.
Let’s explore the struggles that led these nations to their respective spots on the list.
These are the top 10 water polo-playing nations in the world
Water polo has a long tradition in Greece and has always had a prominent international presence. In 2021, they won every game they played on their way to the Olympic Final, which was one of their proudest moments. According to recent polls and rankings, they are presently the top water polo team in the world.
Though they lost the water polo final at the Tokyo Olympics against Serbia, they still brought home the country’s first-ever Olympic silver medal.
Their 9–7 semi-final victory against Croatia at the Fina World Championship in Budapest, Hungary, earned them the bronze medal. They won bronze in 2005 and 2015 at the World Championships.
The Greek water polo team also won silver in the World Cup in 1997 and bronze at the World League in 2004, 2006, and 2016. In addition, he won four bronze medals in the Mediterranean Games between 1951, 1991, 1993, and 2013.
As a country, Croatia excels in the sport of water polo. They have won the World Championship twice (2007 and 2017), the Olympic gold medal in 2012, and the European Championship in 2010.
Croatia has won a total of eight medals in water polo in international competitions, including the World Championships, Olympic Games, and European Championships.
In addition to their impressive record in the World Championships, the team has consistently advanced to the semi-finals of the most prestigious competitions they’ve competed in. At the 2022 World Water Polo Championships in Hungary, Croatia lost to Greece, ending their hopes of winning a medal for the country.
The Serbian water polo squad is often ranked among the best in the world. Multiple times, they have secured victories at the highest levels of competition, including the Olympics, the World Cup, the World Championships, the European Championships, and other significant leagues.
So far, they’ve taken home 55 medals from 8 separate events. In 2014 and 2018, they swept the Fina World Cup. Serbia placed sixth in the most recent Fina World Championships in Budapest.
Hungary is often regarded as a global force in water polo. They have won 88 competitions, including 11 World Championships and 10 Fina World Cups. The European Championship was a resounding success, as they won four games in a row.
Although Hungary has had one of the strongest water polo teams in recent years, they did not place in the top three at the 2022 World Championships, which took place in Hungary’s capital city of Budapest.
There is a jumble to Montenegro’s water polo past. Before achieving independence, the squad competed as a member of Yugoslavia, FR Yugoslavia, and later Serbia and Montenegro. Most of their earlier accomplishments have been credited to Serbia.
They finished in fourth place three times in the Olympics and second place once at the World Championships after breaking up. They only competed in a few critical events but brought in four medals. Their current position in the rankings is the consequence of their third-place finish at the 2020 European Championship and eighth-place finish in the Fina World Championship, both of which were held in Budapest.
Regarding water polo, Spain often ranks among the world’s best. They have one Olympic gold medal and three World Championships to their credit.
This most recent victory came in the 2022 Fina World Championship in Budapest, when they just edged out Italy for first place and, ultimately, the gold medal. Moreover, their most recent accomplishments, silver medals in several events, have impacted their standing in the Fina water polo rankings.
As of now, Italy has won a record 66 championships across several different events. Three Olympic golds, four world championship golds, one water polo world cup gold, and three European championship golds comprise 22 medals.
Gold from the 2022 World League and silver from the 2021 Fina World Championships in Budapest, where they lost to Spain in the finals, are their most recent accomplishments.
Only the United States team has won an Olympic water polo gold medal without coming from Europe. Their most recent Olympic achievement is a silver medal, earned in a heartbreaking loss to Hungary in the Final.
Additionally, in 1991 and 1997, they triumphed in the Fina Water Polo World Championship. They improved their standing recently, moving to sixth place in the 2018 Fina World Cup, the 2020 Olympics, and the 2022 Fina World Championship in Budapest. In 2020 and 2022, they took second place in the Fina World League.
Regarding water polo, Russia consistently ranks among the world’s best teams. Despite this, they have won a minimal number of medals. They won only two gold medals in the 2002 World Cup and World League.
They last competed in the 2020 European Championship, finishing in eighth place. Due to international sanctions, the Russian water polo team will not be able to compete in any upcoming 2022 events.
Last but not least, in the top 10 in Canada. Regarding contending for major championships, Canada is not among the best teams in the world. Their most excellent Olympic performance was a ninth-place finish in 1976.
However, they have won three matches in the ASUA Cup and once in the 2002 Commonwealth Championship. They finished eighth place in the Fina World League (2022).
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Regulations for Water Polo
- The playing field dimensions are 30 meters by 20 meters and a minimum of 2 meters deep.
- There are 13 players on each team, but only seven may play anytime. There are six field players and one goaltender.
- Players are only allowed to handle the ball with one hand, except the goaltender, who can use both hands within five meters of the net.
- The water polo game is broken into four quarters, each lasting eight minutes. There is a break of two minutes in between each quarter.
- Players may move the ball farther up the field by either swimming with it in front of them or passing it to teammates.
- The contest consists of the players treading water or swimming, and they are not permitted.
- The maximum time a team can possess the ball without attempting to score is thirty seconds.
- When the ball is pushed or hurled through both goalposts and under the crossbar, it is considered to have scored a goal equivalent to one point.
- There are two categories of fouls: major fouls and regular fouls.
- Players are only permitted three major fouls before being kicked out of the game; any more than that, they are disqualified.
- A shootout will be held to determine the victor if the score is still knotted up after regulation and overtime.
Players & Equipment
Each team has seven players in the pool at any time, consisting of six players on the outfield and one in the goal. Players in water polo are free to move about between positions as the game’s action requires. This contrasts with other team sports, such as soccer and hockey, where players must maintain highly set roles. There are two types of positions in water polo: offensive and defensive. Offensive positions include:
- A center forward.
- Two wings play on the edges of the pool.
- A point that is positioned around the 5m line.
Defensive roles include a goalkeeper and two defenders. Regarding defensive positions, the only one fixed in stone is the ‘hole D,’ whose mission is to grab the ball and protect the goaltender and the goal. Utility players are players who do not have a designated position. They are analogous to the midfielders in soccer since they contribute to both the offensive and the defense.
You only need a few different pieces of equipment to play Water Polo. Players must have a net and a ball, and their attire may range from essential swimsuits to trunks according to gender. Swimming caps and goggles can also be used if necessary.
When playing Water Polo, a goal is considered scored when the ball has fully passed through both goal posts and has gone under the crossbar. A side is only allowed to keep control of the ball for 30 seconds before they are required to shoot for a goal. However, if a shot is attempted and the ball rebounds, the shot clock is reset, and play continues for another 30 seconds.
A Victory in the Match
After a match, if the score is tied, a penalty shootout is utilized to decide the victor. In this round, all five players on each side take turns shooting from the 5-meter line. Team scores if the score is tied after the first round. Water polo often has overtime periods as well as shootouts. Read more articles on Sports update
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