- What: The 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships
- Who: The top four favorite teams to take home the Women’s Water Polo title
- Where: The host city will be Fukuoka, Japan
- When: The World Aquatics Championships will take place from May 13-29, 2022
Since 2019, the world has been waiting with bated breath to see who the next world champion of women’s water polo will be. At the 2019 World Aquatic Championships, the United States was able to lock down sixth overall world title after triumphing over Spain in the championship final. In a tournament that featured 48 overall matches, the Americans were able to get past the Spanish, bronze-medal winner Australia, and Hungary among other traditional powers.
Could this be the case again in 2022? Perhaps, but there are a slew of contenders looking to unseat the U.S. from the perch on top of the women’s water polo throne.
|Odds to Win Women's Water Polo Title at 2022 World Aquatic Championships|
The Number One Contender: Hungary (Odds: TBA)
As of this writing, Hungary is recognized as the number one team in the world according to FINA’s women’s water polo world rankings. This is for good reason as the Hungarians have excelled in a variety of major competitions as of late. The squad finished with the gold medal in the Olympic Qualification Tournament and then followed that up with a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games. In this year’s World Championship tournament, Hungary will be aiming for its third overall world title and its first since 2005. Three-time Olympian Rita Keszthelyi will be leading the way for the Hungarians as she has been for over a decade.
Number Two: United States (Odds: TBA)
The reigning world champions, the U.S. currently sits at number two in the world rankings. One of the best water polo teams in the world since the 1990’s, America has had a consistent run of success at the international level with three consecutive titles at the World Aquatics Championships. In fact, in the last two tournaments, America was able to knock off Spain, 13-6 and 11-6, in 2017 and 2019, respectively. With a gold medal at the most recent Olympic Games as well, one would have a hard time betting against the United States given their prolonged dominant run of success.
Number three: Spain (Odds: TBA)
The usual foil to America, the Spanish are another historic power that has had a dominant run at the world championships. Though they have not won a world title since the 2013 tournament, Spain still is a formidable power, illustrated by their silver medal finish in Tokyo and their first place title at the 2020 European Championship. Led by captain Pili Peña, a two-time silver medalist for Spain, the squad has a ton of championship pedigree and is arguably the most successful women’s team in Europe over the last decade.
Dark horse contender: Russia (Odds: TBA)
Another traditional European power, Russia has never quite gotten over the hump to win the gold medal at the world championship. With third place finishes in 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2017, the Russians have always been a consistently high finisher at the event, but never a true champion. Could that be different in 2022? Perhaps, but the team will have its work cut out to knock off the U.S. and Spain. Head coach Alexander Gaidukov does have the opportunity to make history though if he is able to inspire his squad enough to win a world title.
Prediction: In wagering, it is always safe to roll with the hot head, and in women’s water polo on an international level, the sentiment is very much the same. This is why the United States women’s team will secure their fourth consecutive world title at the 2022 world championship.
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