A victory at the Settebello was needed for mathematical certainty. The Azzurri beat the United States 13-12, qualify for the quarter-finals of the Water Polo World Cup and become the first Italian team to qualify for the Paris Olympics. A goal achieved at the end of a hard-fought match by a group renewed by the silver in Budapest '22 which opened the new Olympic cycle and which will play against Greece on 13 February at 3.30pm for a place in the semi-final. Another chance for a world podium after the disappointment of penalties against Serbia six months ago in Fukuoka with a different path.

Coach Sandro Campagna was satisfied: "We also needed classy moves from the individual players. The individual must support the team and the team must support the individual. I told the boys before the match that this match would make us grow even more more. When you play under stress in this way, it means that something important is emerging. I told you that this path would be good for us, because we needed suffering. Even defeats are good. Winning without suffering is not never positive. At the Olympics there will be a frightening balance."