I’m enjoying the scene here in Sakai, Japan, taking the time to get back to watching ultimate instead of just purely commenting throughout the day. Today was filled with some shocking upsets, starting with Sweden vs. Japan.
Sweden vs. Japan
The end result is a surprise, but after watching the first half you’d take a bet on Sweden to the bank. They came in with the right mindset and right strategy to steal a win over the Japanese. The only real surprise from watching this game is that they didn’t win by more. With the wind blowing at 20-30 mph, Sweden employed a tall zone from the get go, making it incredibly difficult for Japan to move it up wind. On the downwind points they relied on hucking from any position on the field, didn’t waste any time looking for the underneaths and finding main target Sebastian Sporrong. Sporrong led the way with 3 assists and 5 goals. Sweden found ways to score over the smaller Japanese up wind with 50-50’s and other variety of floaty passes, building a 9-6 halftime lead and never looking back. They also had their hands on two more discs in the upwind end zone, but couldn’t reel those in. Sweden will go on to face Great Britain in the semi-finals. Sweden 17 Japan 14
Great Britain vs. Australia
In the end, it was another game about the ability to score upwind. Great Britain took an early lead off of an up wind huck, but could not preserve it till halftime. Down 8-6 Australia brought it within one, then broke upwind, also taking the ensuing downwind point for half. Great Britain battled back, getting one up wind point in the second half, carrying that lead all the way to 14-13. Australia had several chances at the door step to take the upwind point, and would have gotten a chance at an easy downwind double break, but Great Britain held with two hucks to take the game 16-14.
US and Canada advance
Canada rolled to victory, only getting broken once towards the end of the game, and advanced to semis with a 17-4 victory over the Germans. Willing to play a gritty style, a tight zone, and quick transition passes led to an easy lead. The USA struggled for a bit, and was tied 5-5 against Finland. After trying to play patient, the team looked to take the ugly route as well, dominating with their receivers and defensive athleticism. USA advances to play Canada tomorrow, 17-7.
Great Britain and Sweden is a rematch of the European Final, while USA vs. Canada faced off last in 2008 where team Canada took the gold.