(Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images - image credit)
In the end, an attempt at a small victory became challenging for Canada's men's water polo team.
The young squad, hoping to avenge a loss five days ago to a Georgia side that hurt its chances of securing a Tokyo Olympic berth, dropped a 18-10 decision on Sunday — its fifth in a row after a tourney-opening win over Brazil — and finished eighth at the 11-team qualifier in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Reuel D'Souza, who was cleared for the tournament after contracting coronavirus while playing professionally in France, led the Canada attack with five goals. Bogdan Djerkovic with two, Jeremie Cote, Mark Spooner and Gaelan Patterson also scored.
The Canadians have now missed qualifying for the past three Summer Games following an 11th-place performance at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Georgia, which beat Canada 14-11 on Tuesday, held quarter leads of 4-2, 12-5 and 15-7 on Sunday and ended the tourney seventh.
With Canada trailing 4-2, D'Souza shone in the second quarter with three goals, but it mattered little as Georgia put eight on the board in eight minutes before halftime.
Sixth-ranked Montenegro won the tournament with a 10-9 victory over No. 8 Greece in Sunday's gold-medal match. Both clubs, which beat Canada in the preliminary round, secured Olympic spots with semifinal wins on Saturday.
World No. 2 Croatia grabbed the third and final Olympic berth with a 25-24 win over No. 15 Russia on Sunday.
Canadian women learn Olympic draw
Canada's women's water polo team has been drawn into a pool with Australia, South Africa, Netherlands and Spain for the Tokyo Olympics.
World No. 6 Canada will be making its third Olympic appearance in Tokyo. Its best result was a fifth-place finish at the 2000 Sydney Games.
Spain, ranked third in the world, won the European championship in 2020. The Spaniards won an Olympic silver medal in 2012.
Seventh-ranked Australia will make its sixth appearance. It won gold at home in 200 and bronze in 2008 and 2012.
The ninth-ranked Dutch won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games but failed to qualify for the next two Olympics in London and Rio de Janeiro.
South Africa, ranked 20th, is making its first Olympic appearance.
The other pool features the top-ranked United States along with Russia, China, Hungary and host Japan.