Recap Day 7 – Germany and Austria advance to the Gold Medal Match

Jul 28, 2023

The Fistball World Championship has moved to the SAP Arena. First, the USA wins the President’s Cup, finishing the championship in 9th place. Italy defeats Denmark and secures the 7th place in the final rankings. The eagerly awaited semi-finals then go in three sets to the favored teams of Germany and Austria. The teams from Brazil and Switzerland, who were defeated in the semi-finals, will compete for the bronze medal.

The President’s Cup of the Fistball World Championship goes to the USA
USA – Namibia 3:1 (11:7, 11:9, 10:12, 11:8)

The first match at the SAP Arena brings victory to the favored American team in the President’s Cup. The US team starts strongly, and Todd Strassberger impresses with his serves. In the third set, the USA seemed to have secured the win, but Namibia fought back and narrowly won 12:10 in extra points. After a change of ends, the USA regains control and rightfully celebrates their victory in the President’s Cup.

Italy wins the 7th place game
Italy – Denmark 3:1 (5:11, 9:11, 12:10, 6:11)

Italy didn’t have much time to recover from the disappointment of not making it to the 5th place game. Against Denmark, they needed four sets of concentration to achieve their minimal goal of securing 7th place. Denmark had difficulties establishing a stable defense, and the Italian attackers regularly scored points with short shots. Only when Italy substituted their top formation and gave playing time to young players did Denmark find their rhythm and capitalized on Italy’s weaker phase. However, with Runer, Prudenziati & Co. back on the field, the balance was quickly restored, and Italy won deservedly and convincingly with 3:1.

Germany secures a spot in the final without difficulty
Brazil – Germany 0:3 (9:11, 8:11, 7:11)

The highly anticipated semi-final electrifies the SAP Arena. Germany defeats the South American team from Brazil in three sets and secures a spot in the final of the home World Championship. Brazil managed to keep up with Germany’s level at times and made all sets competitive. However, in crucial moments, Germany’s experience and decisiveness proved too much. Brazil attempted different tactical formations to control Germany’s attacking game but never seriously threatened their success. After about 50 minutes, the fists of the German national team rose in celebration, and the emotions were evident on all players. Germany reaches the final of the Fistball World Championship for the fourth consecutive time.

Olaf Neuenfeld (Head Coach, Germany): “We have never experienced an atmosphere like this before. Today, I am more exhausted than my players. The result sounds clearer than it was. The sets were close, and they could have turned with just one or two points. Brazil is an extremely strong team. They tried everything, including tactical changes, but we showed the right reactions. Preparing for such a game is totally different. It’s so loud. When I stand next to Patrick, I can say something to him, but just five meters away, he can’t hear me anymore.”

Patrick Thomas (Main Attacker, Germany): “This is my fourth World Championship, but it’s incomparable to anything else. It’s an absolute highlight. We had to adapt a bit because the field was different from the preliminary round. The ball doesn’t bounce as high, so we had to apply pressure during the serves, but we managed it well. The atmosphere is absolutely amazing. When you come in here, you start to grin already. Flags are everywhere, people are in a party mood, and it’s just fun to play Fistball.”

Mateus Kuntzler (Setter, Brazil): “We played a good game, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Germany was stronger. There were a few balls that decided the game in favor of Germany. But to become world champions, we have to beat Germany. Now the goal is the bronze medal. Playing in such a hall is so much fun. The atmosphere was fantastic. We thought the ball would bounce a bit more.”

Austria defeats Switzerland in three sets in the second semi-final
Switzerland – Austria 0:3 (8:11, 9:11, 8:11)

The surprise was not to be found in the second semi-final either. Austria convincingly defeats Switzerland in three sets and will compete against Germany for the gold medal on Sunday. The Swiss team fought valiantly, but in the end, they couldn’t match Austria’s team cohesion. Raphael Schlattinger and Ueli Rebsamen kept the game open with powerful attacks, but in the crucial moments, Austria, led by Karl Müllehner, scored the decisive points. Switzerland will compete for the bronze medal against Brazil, while Austria will face Germany in the pursuit of the world champion title.

Oliver Lang (Head Coach, Switzerland): “Austria deservedly advances to the final. They were two or three points better in all positions, which eventually led to their set victories. Tomorrow, we will play for the bronze medal, and we want to win it. This atmosphere in the arena is unprecedented. The fans are celebrating, it’s fantastic.”

Ueli Rebsamen (Captain and Attacker, Switzerland): “Unfortunately, we made a few silly mistakes, which didn’t happen with the Austrians. That was ultimately the difference. The atmosphere in the arena is unique. As a minority sport, we probably won’t experience this again so quickly.”

Siegfried Simon (Head Coach, Austria): “It was hard work. The 3:0 result may seem clear, but the match was far from it. We are correspondingly happy to be in the final. Reaching the final and winning the title are our self-declared goals. We have been working towards that since the coaching change in October last year. It’s even more beautiful that we have come a step closer to that goal. In 2007, when I won the World Championship title in Oldenburg, the atmosphere was also very loud. Although we didn’t play in an arena, it was similar. In the last training camps, we prepared ourselves exactly for this situation.”

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