Canada stumbles into quarters with 3rd consecutive loss in water polo Olympic qualifier

Canada’s hopes of qualifying for the Olympics for the first time since 2008 in men’s water polo continues to dwindle after suffering a third consecutive loss, losing 19-6 to Greece on Thursday at the Zwemcentrum Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Greece (3-1) took control of the match early, scoring 4 straight goals within the first three minutes, eight seconds of the match.

Sean Spooner (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) ended that run with a goal for Canada (1-3), but Greece closed out the first quarter with a 6-1 lead.

The second quarter was much of the same as Greece continued to dominate Canada with a 4-1 difference. This was the story of the match as Greece outscored Canada 4-2 and 6-2 in the third and fourth quarters.

Nicolas Constantin-Bicari scored two goals for Canada, while Bogdan Djerkovic, Sean Spooner, Aria Soleimanpak, and Max Schapowal scored the other four goals.

The Greeks had three players cross the three-goal mark in this one with Stylianos Argyropoulos scoring four,  while Alexandros Papanastasiou and Ioannis Fountoulis each scoring three.

Prior to the tournament, CBC Sports analyst George Gross Jr. said Canada needed to finish third of five teams in Group A to get a favourable matchup in the crossover quarter-finals.

Canada awaiting next opponent

The loss puts Canada in fourth place coming out of the preliminary round in Group A, with the quarter-finals set to take place on Saturday. 

The top four teams in each of the two groups advance from the preliminary round. Group B consists of No. 2 Croatia, No. 14 Germany, No. 15 Russia, France, Romania and the Netherlands.

With the final matches of the preliminary round for Group B set to take place later in the day, Canada must wait to see who it will face in the quarters.

That matchup, however, will probably be against Croatia or Russia. Croatia (3-1) is set to take on last place Germany, while Russia (3-0-1) will face hosts Netherlands later today to decide who goes top in Group B. 

Only the top three teams from the tournament qualify to join the other nine teams that are already set to compete at the 2021 Tokyo Games.