Men's Olympic Water Polo Qualifying Tournament Schedule

SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 22: Germany and Italy race to the ball in the Men's Water Polo first preliminary round match between Italy and Germany during Day Seven of the 14th FINA World Championships at the Oriental Sports Center on July 22, 2011 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

The 2012 Olympic Qualifying tournament is taking place in Edmonton, Alberta running from April 1 - April 8 on the men's side. This tournament is significant since it is the last chance for teams to earn a bid to the 2012 Olympic Games. Normally it is the three teams with the best finish who have not qualified for the Olympics will earn a bid to London, but due to who has already qualified there will be four spots on the line this week.

The teams are two divisions of six teams with the top four in each group advancing to the knock out stages with the top four overall earning an Olympic bid.

Here are the groups:

Group A Group B
Montenegro Venezuela
Germany Turkey
Greece Spain
FYR of Macedonia Brazil
Romania Argentina
Netherlands
Canada

At the 2011 FINA World Championships Spain finished the best out of these teams as they placed 5th and are the favorites in this tournament. Here is how the 2011 FINA World Championships placed out, where half of the this field participated.

1 - Italy
2 - Serbia
3 - Croatia
4 - Hungary
5 - Spain
6 - U.S.A.
7 - Montenegro
8 - Germany
9 - Australia
10 - Canada
11 - Japan
12 - Romania
13 - Kazakhstan
14 - Brazil
15 - P.R. of China
16 - South Africa

Germany and Montenegro both played in the Four Nation's tournament this past week and Germany lost 12-10 to the United State and 9-5 to Italy. While Montenegro tie the United States team 8-8 and lost 16-13 to Italy. The play was not great since the these teams arrived to California on little rest and play was sloppy.

My prediction of the four teams that will make the London Games (in no order) are Germany, Spain, Montenegro and host Canada. If Canada does make it in the top four they will qualify for the first time in 22 years and the only reason they made it was that the Olympics were in Montreal. The Canada team is very young so they are a wild card team in this tournament, but being in their home country will help.

Here is the schedule:

Screen_shot_2012-03-29_at_8Screen_shot_2012-03-29_at_8 Screen_shot_2012-03-29_at_8

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