Host City: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Venue(s): Swimming Stadium, Amsterdam
Date Started: August 4, 1928
Date Finished: August 11, 1928
Format: Single-elimination tournament. Bergvall system for third-place.
European Aquatics Championships were instituted in 1926, the first ones held in Budapest, Hungary, so it made it a bit easier to know who were the strongest teams in international sport. Hungary won the water polo title at the 1926 meet, followed by Sweden and Germany. Germany and Hungary were in Amsterdam for the 1928 Olympics but for some reason, Sweden did not participate. Germany and Hungary advanced to the final of the single-elimination tournament, with Germany upsetting the Magyars, 5-2 in overtime, for the gold medal, Hungary taking silver. This was the first of 12 consecutive Olympics at which Hungary would earn a water polo medal.
The defending Olympic champions France advanced to the third-place tournament, after losing in the semi-finals to Hungary. France won three matches to take the bronze medal, shutting out Argentina 8-0 in the final match of the consolation event. The details of how the third-place tournament was contested are confusing. It was apparently to be held by the Bergvall System, in which all those losing to the winner and runner-up contested a tournament for 3rd-place. But that system was not followed precisely and even Dutch and French newspapers mention that the organizers did not know how to follow the Bergvall System. Some of the matches played may have been friendlies or exhibitions.