water polo competition formats

Below are the competition formats for various Water Polo tournaments including: FINA World League and the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics Games. More formats coming soon...


-- fina world league --

The FINA World League includes any national team that wants to partake in the competition and includes two rounds, the Preliminary Round and Super-Final.  From Europe, 12 nations competed in the Preliminary with 3 progressing to the Super-Final.

  • Points: In the World League no game can end in a tie. In the case of a draw at the end of regulation the teams will go into a penalty shoot-out. Points are awarded as follows: Win (3pts), Win in Penalties (2pts), Loss in Penalties (1pt), Loss (0pts).

  • Tie-Breakers: If two teams are tied in the standings the tie-breakers are as follows: (1) head-to-head; (2) results against highest team in group considered; (3) goal differential against highest placed team; (4) goals forced against highest placed team; (4) if this doesn’t provide a difference then steps 2-4 are repeated with the next highest team in the group.

  • Preliminary Round: The European Preliminary Round consists of 12 teams separated into 3 groups of 4 teams. Each team plays the other twice, home and away, with the 3 group winners qualifying for the FINA World League Super-Final.

  • Super-Final: The World League Super-Final consists of 8 teams separated into 2 groups of 4 teams. Each team plays the other once with all teams advancing to the quarter-finals. In the quarter-finals the match ups will be as follows: A1-B4, A2-B3, B1-A4, B2-A3. The semi-finals will be between A1/B4-B2/A3 and B1/A4/A2/B3. The two winners of the semi-finals will play for the FINA World League Title.


-- rio 2016 summer olympic games --

Men's Water Polo at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games consists of 12 qualified teams. The tournament consists of two rounds, the Group Stage and Knockout Phase. 

  • Group Stage: The Group Stage consists of 12 teams separated into 2 groups of 6 teams. Each team plays the other once with the top 4 teams from each group advancing to the Knockout Phase.

    • Points: Two points are awarded for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss.

    • Tie-Breakers: If two teams are tied in the standings the tie-breakers are as follows: (1) head-to-head points; (2) head-to-head goal difference; (3) head-to-head goals scored (4) Overall goal difference.

  • Knockout Phase: The Knockout Phase consists of 8 teams and each game is played as a single elimination. The match-ups are based off of the standings in the group stage and will be as follows in the quarter-finals: A1-B4, A2-B3, B1-A4, B2-A3. The semi-finals will be between A1/B4-B2/A3 and B1/A4-A2/B3. The two winners of the semi-finals will play in the gold medal match while the two defeated teams will play for the bronze medal. If a game ends in a tie, the match will go directly to penalties without overtime.