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Water polo. Tokyo 2020: Japan v South Africa

The Japanese Men’s National Water Polo Team defeated South Africa in the fifth round of the Olympic Games.

Format

Preliminary round: The 12 teams are divided into two groups of six each. Each team plays five games in the preliminary round (the 1st-4th ranked teams advance to the quarterfinals).

The quarter-final round pits the teams ranked 1st in their groups against the opposing 4th ranking teams. Winners will qualify for a semi-final spot and losers will meet each other in rankings classification matches for places 5th through 8th.

The teams that lost the quarter-finals in two games contest for placement order. The winners will meet for 5th place, the losers for 7th place if they are competitors.

Water Polo (men). Group tournament. Japan v South Africa

The matchup between the outsiders of Group G is for the penultimate place. Japan has generally left a good impression in these games, although they have lost all four games. But the group was very difficult and they had no chance to advance before this match. As for the rest, even if they could not beat Australia or France, they managed to win easy against the Americans and Greece. They were also pretty good against Italy – who eliminated them from last year’s World Cup – and Hungary.

South Africa is not playing well on the whole. They are three heads lower than almost all opponents. I think even Kazahstan would be beating them by 10 points in a possession game. The Japanese should have an easy end to their tournament at the Olympics. In my opinion, South Africa has disappointed as a team so far – especially during halftime against Hungary and Greece where they simply couldn’t maintain possession of their opponent’s side for long enough in any quarter to secure victory.

Result

Serbia defeats Kenya 26-24 in three sets for their second win of the Group Stage. The Japanese women’s volleyball team earns their first ever home Olympics victory, their last matches before this being devastating losses to Serbia and South Korea.

In Group B, Spain lost its first match to Croatia which put them in second place. Serbia and Montenegro will also play in the quarter-finals while Australia and Kazakhstan were left out of the competition in Tokyo.

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