Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Aquatic Centre, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Athina
Date Started: August 16, 2004
Date Finished: August 26, 2004
Format: Round-robin pools advanced teams to classification matches.
The United States came into Athens as the defending World Champion, having won the 2003 title by defeating Italy, the 2001 World Champions, in the final match. The USA led Group B in the preliminary with defending champion Australia leading Group A. The groups served to eliminate only Canada and Kazakhstan from title contention, as the other six teams moved on to the single-elimination tournament. Italy advanced but was not seeded into the semi-finals and had to face Hungary in the quarters, defeating them 8-5. Greece, which had never placed better than fifth at the Worlds, upset Russia to win the other quarter-final, placing Australia, Greece, Italy and the United States in the semi-finals.
In the first semi-final the surprising Greeks continued their unexpected run, defeating Australia 6-2 to move on to the finals. Italy trailed the United States for much of the other semi, but eventually won 6-5. Italy had defeated Greece, 7-2, the group play, but the final was much closer. The match was tied 7-7 at the end of regulation. Greece went ahead 9-7 in the first overtime, but Italy came back to tie the match again, and then won the gold medal in the second overtime, 10-9, on a goal by Melania Grego.