The Brazilian women’s water polo team is far the best team in South America, the third best team in the Pan American area, and they have not missed any editions of the FINA World Championships since 1991, but the truth is that they are still chasing the world’s elite.
Water polo has great traditions in certain parts of Europe, North America and Australia, but some continents like South America, where Brazlians are the number ones, are exceptions. They have not managed to achieve any notable international results so far, and they are in a very similar situation to that of South Africans: their country is far away from the international water polo elite, so it is hard to find a strong training partner for them, and this is basically an amateur discipline in Brazil.
Women’s water polo made its debut at the FINA World Championships in 1986, and that was the only tournament the Brazilian women’s team missed. They have been far from being successful in the competition, though…
Their best result was an 8th place at the 1991 FINA World in Perth, but only nine teams participated in that event, and they lost all their matches (five out of five, their goal difference was -56…).
They have finished in the top ten four times since then: in 1998 (Perth), 2001 (Fukuoka), 2007 (Melbourne), and 2015 (Kazan). It is a pity that this year’s World Championships does not take place in Australia, since four out of their five top ten finishes have been achieved Down Under…
Regarding the 2015 FINA World Championships, it was obvious that they had improved a lot thanks to the 2016 Olympics held in Brazil, so after two not too surprising defeats against Team USA and Italy they beat Japan quite comfortably (11-8). They even beat Kazakhstan in the 9-12 playoff, finishing in 10th place in the end after going down to Hungary.
The 2016 Olympics were the only Games Brazilians participated in, but that was only because Rio de Janeiro hosted the event. No wonder South Americans have not qualified for any other Olympic tournaments, since women’s water polo made its debut at the Games in 2000, and only eight teams can qualify, so it is very difficult even for the strongest teams to take part in the event.
In Rio Brazilians played some good matches in the group stage, the largest margin they lost a match with was seven goals. In the quarter final they were heavily defeated by the very strong Team USA, but then they were not outplayed by Australia and China, either.
The selecao finished in 8th place at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 World League Super Final, as well as at the 1991 World Cup, and has been an 'eternal' bronze medallist at the Pan American Games behind the USA and Canada. They have played tighter games against top teams in recent years compared to the 90s and 2000s, when they were sometimes beaten by 15-20 goals. They only lost by a 1-goal margin to Italy, Russia and Canada recently.
Head coach Eduardo Abla named his squad for the 17th FINA World Championships last week:
Victoria Chamorro, Mariana Duarte, Ana Alice Amaral (Paineiras do Morumby); Diana Abla, Marina Zablith, Gabriela Mantellato, Viviane Bahia, Melani Dias (Esporte Clube Pinheiros); Letícia Belório, Mylla Pereira, Kemily Leão (ABDA-Bauru); Samantha Ferreira (Flamengo); Raquel Sá (Botafogo).
Brazil will play against Italy, Canada and China at the World Championships in Alfréd Hajós Swimming Satdium.
THE BRAZILIAN WOMEN’S TEAM AT THE FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
1991: 8th place
1994: 11th place
1998: 10th place
2001: 10th place
2003: 12th place
2005: 13th place
2007: 10th place
2009: 13th place
2011: 14th place
2013: 14th place
2015: 10th place