IFA 2023 Fistball World Championship in Mannheim – Recap

Jul 31, 2023

The 16th IFA Fistball Men’s World Championship in Mannheim, Germany has set new standards and will go down in the history of fistball. For eight days, the 16 best nations from all continents promoted their sport. More than 30,000 spectators flocked to the Rhein-Neckar Stadium during the World Championship week and to the SAP Arena on the final weekend. In front of a record audience of 10,000 spectators, Germany celebrated its fourth consecutive World Championship title.

It was the spectacular fistball festival that athletes and fans had been eagerly waiting for months. After the preliminary rounds and quarterfinals at the Mannheim Rhein-Neckar Stadium, the final matches at the SAP Arena were the sporting and emotional highlight of this World Championship.

As the host, Germany made history with the final round being played both indoors and on natural grass at the same time – something that had not been done before. “This was a magnificent World Championship on a completely new scale. We have never experienced such an atmosphere,” said IFA President Jörn Verleger. “Setting up a natural turf ground inside an indoor sports arena was a historic premiere for fistball.” For the event, an additional mobile grandstand was erected at the Rhein-Neckar Stadium, providing seating for over a thousand more spectators. Several thousand visitors attended the six days of matches in the stadium, where the Preliminary Round received maximum attention. More than 500 volunteers were involved in making this event unforgettable for guests from all over the world. One of the highlights off the field was the School’s Day on the third day of the preliminary rounds with 2,700 children and teenagers creating a festive atmosphere. “We were thrilled to see so many young people excited about fistball in one morning,” said MWC-CEO Sönke Spille, who emphasized: “We experienced a spectacular World Championship week with many goosebump moments, starting at the Rhein-Neckar Stadium with a lot of fans and a fantastic atmosphere. I heard many people praising the atmosphere.” The final days at the SAP Arena were the climax of the World Championship week. “The Arena was unique in presenting our sport. Everyone who was there experienced two final days that will never be repeated. It was a fistball spectacle created together by the teams and fans, something that will be remembered for a long time,” said MWC-CEO Sönke Spille.

Germany impressively secures its 13th World Championship title
The new and reigning world champion is Germany, who lived up to their favorites’ role in front of their home crowd. This is the fourth consecutive title and the 13th overall for the record holders. The team led by the world’s best striker Patrick Thomas left no chance for Austria in the final, securing a clear 4-0 victory. “There is nothing greater than winning a World Championship at home,” said Thomas, who celebrated his fourth World Cup triumph, just like captain Fabian Sagstetter. “We have worked hard all year for this title. We are over the moon that we made it. It was extremely fun to play here – the atmosphere was absolutely incredible,” said Sagstetter.

Brazil wins a high-class bronze medal duel
History repeated itself. Four years ago, at the World Championship in Winterthur, Germany won the final against Austria. “Germany had a perfect day and is a well-deserved world champion,” emphasized coach Siegfried Simon, who is very proud of winning the silver medal. “My team played a fantastic tournament.” The Austrians qualified for the final after a high-caliber and exciting semifinal against Switzerland. Germany reached the final with a 3-0 victory against Brazil. At this World Cup, the “big four” once again dominated the tournament. The bronze medal match between Brazil and Switzerland was one of the best of this World Championship. Both teams engaged in a high-class battle, with the Brazilians coming out on top, securing the third place for the second time after 2019. Switzerland once again missed out on a medal.

The USA wins the President’s Cup
With a strong performance throughout the tournament week, the USA team secured the title in the President’s Cup, the competition for teams ranked from nine to 16. Led by Todd Strassberger, the Americans defeated Namibia, the only African representative, 3-1. Chile celebrated its best result in World Championship history. Led by striker Alvaro Mödinger, the South Americans defeated Argentina and finished the tournament in fifth place for the first time, after having finished sixth in nine previous World Championships. Denmark made the biggest leap forward, improving from 12th place in Winterthur to the top ten in eighth place. A reward for the long-term development work of the Scandinavians, who play in the second highest league in Germany. The almost fairy-tale-like story of the Belgian team, which replaced India three days before the start of the tournament, ended with two wins in four games, securing 12th place.

Final Ranking:

  1. Germany
  2. Austria
  3. Brazil
  4. Switzerland
  5. Chile
  6. Argentina
  7. Italy
  8. Denmark
  9. USA
  10. Namibia
  11. New Zealand
  12. Belgium
  13. Czech Republic
  14. Australia
  15. Serbia
  16. Japan

All games are available Re-Live on fistball.tv