As pool play wrapped up this morning, only one pool’s top seed exited their first three games unscathed. Here’s what happened.
After each team won both their games on Thursday, Switzerland (1) and France (2) squared off for the top spot in the pool. Switzerland struck first, as David Moser came down hard on the pull and laid out for a huge Callahan and the first break of the game to give his team a 3-2 lead. France did not get discouraged, and Pierre Lemerle made several big plays in the air to keep France in the game. Switzerland broke to take half, 7-6, then Tore Harms came down with a jump ball and dished to Armin Ambühl for another break to go up 9-7. France had a couple chances to get a break back, but the Swiss defense and some execution mistakes denied them. Switzerland was clinical on the final point of the game, as Basil Furrer put up a forehand huck to space that David Moser ran down for the 12-10 victory.
After close losses to the top seeds on Thursday, Belgium (3) continued their strong play against Portugal (4). Their entire roster got involved as the took the game, 13-4.
1. Switzerland 3-0
2. France 2-1
3. Belgium 1-2
4. Portugal 0-3
With wins over the pool’s top two seeds on Thursday, Russia (3) had the pool locked up heading into their game against United European Islands (4). UEI kept the game close to 6-6, but Russia finished on a 5-1 run to win 11-7.
In the other game, Germany (1) played Denmark (2) for 2nd place in the pool. Germany looked to be in control early, opening up a 7-4 lead at halftime. Denmark switched to a zone defense that frustrated the Germans, going on a huge 7-1 run to tak an 11-8 lead. With their backs against the wall, Germany stepped up their defensive intensity. Helped by some Denmark miscues, they brought the game back to 11-11 universe point. After forcing another Denmark turnover, Germany struck quickly, with Fabian Bachmann finding Thomas Zormaier wide open deep for the 12-11 win.
1. Russia 3-0
2. Germany 2-1
3. Denmark 1-2
4. United European Islands 0-3
After two blowout wins on Thursday, Italy (1) took on Ukraine (2), who also were 2-0. After trading breaks early, Ukraine got the only other break they needed as Dmitry Strelchyn found Artem Lykov to go up 6-4. Neither team would convert another break, and led by 3 second-half goals from Gnat Melnyk, Ukraine traded out to a 12-10 victory.
After opening the tournament with two losses, Poland (3) came out strong against Ireland with four straight breaks to open the game. All 13 players on the Poland roster recorded a goal or an assist in the game, and Poland rolled to a 13-4 victory.
1. Ukraine 3-0
2. Italy 2-1
3. Poland 1-2
4. Ireland 0-3
Despite getting upset by Latvia (3) yesterday, Great Britain (1) knew they controlled their own destiny and would win the pool if they could beat Spain (2) by at least 5 goals. Stepping up their intensity, Great Britain frustrated Spain with hard, physical defense. Led by some huge defensive plays from David Ford, Great Britain rolled off 5 straight goals to take a 10-3 lead. Spain would get one break back, but it was too little, too late. Great Britain claimed the game, and the pool, with a 11-5 win.
Latvia put in another strong performance against Hungary (4), who had almost upset Spain yesterday. Latvia, with only 10 players on their roster, raced out to a 9-3 lead, then held on to win 13-7.
1. Great Britain 2-1 (+5)
2. Spain 2-1 (+2)
3. Latvia 2-1 (-7)
4. Hungary 0-3
Play continues with crossovers this afternoon. Each team in pool A plays the team in pool B that finished in the same position, and the same for pools C and D. Crossovers are for seeding heading into the 16-team bracket that starts this evening. The crossovers are:
Portugal-United European Islands