Saturday promised to be nothing but hard games in the Mixed division. After pool play, the top teams separated into the championship bracket and the quarterfinals were set to go off like fireworks. And one game that definitely started with a bang was the highly anticipated matchup between Ireland and Great Britain. Coming off a tough loss in pool play versus the Irish, GB was looking for revenge and a place in the semifinals. However it was the Irish that came out all fired up, jumping up and screaming their lungs out whenever they made a big play. With two beautiful assists by captain Séamus Murray, the Irish quickly put a 3-0 on the scoreboard. A beautiful moment was the Irish national anthem sounding from the sidelines as the Ireland Open team enthousiastically supported their fellow countrymen and –women. On the pitch again, GB finally found their way onto the scoreboard with Adriano Scarampi catching for 3-1. However momentum would never really change sides as Ireland went on a 6-0 streak making it 9-1, including a truly wonderful inside forehand huck. Flying around a whole bunch of defenders, this great pass by (who else but) Murray was chased down full field and caught with a layout by Rob Kiely. The Irish completely took the upperhand with amazingly placed throws and great connections, while GB struggled to work the disc around the field. Even a nice catch by GB’s Luke Tobiasiewicz to save a disc that seemed lost couldn’t help GB find their A-game and Ireland kept on playing on their cloud ending the game at 13-4. A surprising outcome, but an incredible display of efficiency and motivation by the Irish.
Sweden, having been underseeded, came out against a strong Russian squad who only had lost to Portugal thus far. The Swedes immediately went up 3-1, then extended their lead to 8-3. Some impressive plays couldn’t even help the Russians as they trailed throughout the whole game. Eventually Sweden went on to win this game 13-8, advancing into the semis.
Another rematch in these quarterfinals was France against Portugal. The pool play game ended in a 11-10 universe point win by the Portugese. This time Portugal would pull out another close win over the French as Andre Carvalho used his good connection with Pedro Vargas for an amazing full field huck, chased down and caught by Pedro for the win, 11-9. Germany pulled out a convincing win over the Polish, securing their spot in semis with a 13-8 score.
Sweden, still on a high from their previous victory over Russia, took an early lead over Germany at 5-2. #13 Stefan Johansson got a decisive block and got the bookends, making the score 6-2. Germany’s #15 Michael Schulenberg tried to turn the tide with his big layout block and also got double happiness for the 6-3 score. Sweden was still on a roll however and took a convincing victory 11-4.
In the arena, the temperature was still rising as the sun was up high and both Ireland and Portugal were working hard to secure a spot on the final stage. After trading points up until 7-6, Ireland’s #15 Finnola Shannon skied one of the Portuguese men for the decisive break making it 8-6. Ireland took a 10-7 lead after that as the Portuguese fought hard under the supervision of many livestream fans online but couldn’t prevent Ireland running away with a well-deserved spot in finals, winning 11-9.
In the 9 to 18 consolation brackets, a lot of teams were willing to get down and dirty for the highest ranking possible. For some a last chance for an honorary victory, for others an option to confirm that they actually should have ended up higher. Host country Spain pulled out a 10-8 win over Austria and a universe win over the Netherlands. The Dutch had given a lot of the top teams really tight games and were quite disappointed with the outcome, but nevertheless kept (and will keep) on fighting as they will play for 11th place tomorrow.
In the other mixed stage II (9-14), Belgium showed an impressive performance. Beating both Turkey and Switzerland, they have been on a winning streak since the beginning of day 2 and will fight for 9th place on Sunday. Every team not making it to quarterfinals can find honor in fighting for that winning spot in the other half of the division (as in this case there are 18 teams). In the bottom of the consolation pool (15-18), both UEI and Italy knocked out Hungary and Norway, respectively, who will have to battle it out for the red lantern spot in the Mixed division.
Sweden and Ireland will meet in the Mixed final tomorrow at 15:00 CET, livestreamed on http://live.ecbu2013.org.