After an impressive five days of competition, Canada’s men’s water polo team is not only undefeated, but one victory away from an Olympic berth.
The Canadians went into the Olympic qualification tournament expecting a difficult battle for a ticket to Rio 2016. After kicking off the competition with a victory, the squad carried that momentum throughout the round robin, ending with a record of three wins and two draws. Now the only thing separating the team from clinching an Olympic berth, is a victory in Friday’s quarterfinals.
The Canadians will go up against the Spaniards in the final showdown for spot at the Games this summer. The match will take place on Friday and will be live streamed on CBC sports starting at 11:30 am EST.
Here’s a recap of Canada’s round robin play:
Canada kicked off the Olympic qualification tournament with a 7-6 victory over Russia on Sunday. The team went on to tie the nine time Olympic champions, Hungary 14-14. Next up the Canadians added a second win to their account, defeating the Slovakians 11-9, before tying the Romania 10-10. On Thursday the Canadians went up against the Frenchman, one of their toughest opponents in Group A and came through with a massive 13-5 victory.
“We are happy with our victory today [Thursday] even if the French did not play their best game. It is time to put aside our results of the last days and remember that it is the game tomorrow [Friday] that matters. We’ll be ready for that one,” shared David Lapins with Water Polo Canada.
Related: Men’s water polo wins Pan Am bronze
Water polo Canada will look to make its Olympic return, after missing out on London 2012. Team captain Kevin Graham was on the nations last Olympic squad at Beijing 2008, with teammates Justin Boyd, Constantine Kudaba and goalie Robin Randall. After Canada’s women suffered a heartbreaking quarterfinals loss during their Olympic qualification tournament, the men’s squad is the nation’s last chance to grasp a Rio 2016 water polo ticket.
If Canadians beat the Spaniards, they will join Australia, Brazil, Croatia, the United States, Greece, Japan, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as the winner of the Friday’s other quarterfinal match in Rio. The water polo competitions will take place from August 6 to 20 at Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre.