Recap Day 3 – Favorites advance to Quarterfinals

Jul 24, 2023

Germany and Austria win and advance as group winners directly to the quarterfinals of the 16th  Fistball Men’s World Championship. They are followed by second-placed Brazil and Switzerland, who defeated Argentina and Namibia. In front of almost 3,000 spectators at the Rhein-Neckar Stadium, Denmark staged a comeback from a 0-2 set deficit, Belgium celebrated its first victory, and Japan engaged in a dramatic duel – with the better end for the Oceanians.

Germany – Italy 3:0 (11:4, 11:2, 11:5)

Fueled by 2,700 children on Schools Day, Germany celebrated its third consecutive victory, this time against Italy, maintaining a flawless record as Group A’s leader. The standout players were Patrick Thomas with powerful and well-placed smashes and Nick Trinemeier with diagonal shots that often left Italy stranded. Coach Olaf Neuenfeld used the opportunity against the outmatched Italians to give the entire squad the necessary competition experience and playing time.

Austria Tops Group After Obligatory Victory Against Chile
Austria – Chile 3:0 (11:9, 11:4, 13:11)

The match against the supposedly easiest group opponent, Chile, allowed Austria to try out new attacking strategies. Main attacker Karl Müllehner could rest, while Martin Pühringer, Gustav Gürtler, and Jean Andrioli were given more playing time. After a cautious start, Austria found its stride, and Chile’s attacking formation, consisting of Alvaro Mödinger, Andres Gruss, and later Eduardo Mödinger, struggled to find a way to consistently challenge the Austrian defense.

New Zealand Leaves No Chance for Czech Republic
Czech Republic – New Zealand 0:3 (3:11, 8:11, 5:11)

New Zealand not only dominated the duel with the Czech Republic but also finished first in Group C thanks to the victory. The “Kiwis,” led by attackers Bill Roser and Josh Cameron, displayed a nearly perfect first set. The Czech team, with captain Tomas Batka, showed some improvement when setter Ctirad Grüner was brought in. However, nearly all of Czech Republic’s points in the third set came from short serves.

Denmark Stages a Comeback in a Seemingly Lost Game
USA – Denmark 2:3 (11:9, 12:10, 9:11, 10:12, 3:11)

The duel between the USA and Denmark was not for the faint-hearted. The Americans were already leading 2-0 and had two match points, but the smiling winners in the end were the Danes, who won Group D. The match was evenly contested for four sets, but both sides made many unforced errors. In the fifth set, the USA lost their momentum, and Denmark managed to turn the game around.

Switzerland Wins Rainy Match Against Namibia
Switzerland – Namibia 3:0 (11:3, 11:1, 11:6)

In the first rainy match of this World Championship, Switzerland left Namibia with no chance. Due to the weather conditions, Switzerland’s technical superiority was evident. As the second-placed team in Group A, Switzerland will play against Argentina or Australia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, while Namibia will face Denmark.

Brazil’s Defense Slows Down Argentina
Brazil – Argentina 3:0 (11:8, 11:4, 11:6)

Brazil won the South American clash against Argentina and thus follows Austria directly to the quarterfinals as the group’s second-place team. Brazil’s defense was hard to crack despite the sometimes adverse weather conditions. Additionally, their offense impressed with powerful and precise shots that were difficult to defend. Argentina, as the group’s third-placed team, will face Australia on Tuesday.

Belgium Surprises with a Decisive Victory
Serbia – Belgium 0:3 (7:11, 9:11, 11:13)

Belgium ended the preliminary round with a surprising third-place victory against Serbia. The hard-fought match was characterized by long rallies and evenly contested points – with the better end for the Belgians, who converted their third match point. Their next opponent in the President’s Cup on Tuesday will be determined during the morning session. Serbia will face the loser of the match between Chile and New Zealand.

Australia Wins an Intense Fistball Thriller
Australia – Japan 3:1 (11:13, 11:7, 11:9, 11:6)

Underdogs and crowd favorites Japan started surprisingly strong, winning the first set 13:11, which marked their first set victory in the tournament. Attacker Taijo Suzuki went beyond his usual performance level, contributing to a highly dramatic game throughout. Japan fought bravely until the end but couldn’t match the physical superiority of the Australians, who secured the victory.

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