Now that day one is in the books, Ravi Vasudevan take a look at how the Men’s division is shaking up at WUGC.
Pool A – USA, Singapore, Mexico
Not much to report here. USA dominated Mexico 15-2 as expected. Tomorrow Singapore will play USA and Mexico. Expect USA to easily hold on to the top seed of their pool while the Singapore vs Mexico game could go either way.
Pool B – GB, South Africa, Latvia, Lithuania
GB smashed South Africa, however, Lithuania had an upset beating a very athletic and strong Latvian team. Latvia seemed to play through up until the endzone and then managed to throw into poaching defenders or into the ground at inopportune moments. Lithuania were the bottom seed of the tournament so this win should feel pretty good for them. It will be interesting to see how South Africa fares against Latvia and Lithuania tomorrow to see if one of these smaller European teams can grab a spot in power pools.
Pool C – Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Democratic Republic Congo
DRC has not been able to make it to WUGC yet so Sweden were given a 15-0 victory against them to start. Denmark started off well against Canada in their matchup, going up 5-2 but Canda turned on their intensity and ran away with the game 9-15. The Denmark vs Sweden game tomorrow will be a key matchup to see which team will make it to power pools.
Pool D – Germany, Ireland, Finland, Egypt
Though not a complete upset, Finland’s performance against Germany was surprising. The game was tied up all the way to 9-9 in a game that Germany should have been dominant in. Germany did take the game 15-13 in the end, but this game either means that Germany are weaker than expected coming into this tournament or Finland are much stronger. Ireland dominated over Egypt 15-1 so it will be really interesting to see which of the top three European teams end up getting the top two spots for power pools.
Pool E – Japan, Austria, the Netherlands, India
Japan were far too strong for the Netherlands, who were able to score on some huge, impressive hammers but it was definitely not enough. This one went 15-5 for Japan. Though Austria did hold a comfortable lead for most of their game against India, India did play well and were able to take Austria to 15-10. The match between India and the Netherlands could be a great one tomorrow morning and if the Netherlands win, there will be a game to go to power pools between the Dutch and the Austrians. The last time these two teams met with something at stake was at EUC last year and Austria won on universe, but they also met in Confederations Cup in Frankfurt earlier this year where the Austrians took control and won 15-9. I expect that Japan and Austria will make it out of this pool.
Pool F – France, Italy, Switzerland, Poland
Italy took care of business shutting down Poland 15-3. However, the upset of the day was Switzerland taking out France 15-13. France have been extremely strong taking third at EUC last year and getting second at Windmill earlier this year. The Swiss do not have as impressive results as they allowed their club teams to play in the major preparation tournaments rather than their national team, but things seem to have come together at the right time. This makes things extremely interesting and the triangle of France, Italy and Switzerland will be a battle where every point could count. This seems to be the most competitive pool for a spot out to power pools.
Pool G – Australia, Colombia, Spain, Israel
In a live streamed game, Colombia fell to a strong Australia. Australia ground down Colombians’ short game and exhausted the key Colombian offensive players. In the second half Colombia tried to transition to a deep game but the much larger Australian defenders just shut that down. Australia won this game 15-9. In the bottom half of this pool Spain beat Israel 15-7. Though an impressive result for Spain, I can’t see them competing with Colombia so I think Australia and Colombia move out to power pools quite comfortably from here.
Pool H – Belgium, New Zealand, Czech Republic and China
For an in-depth analysis of Pool H, click here.
Today was a nice start to the Men’s division. The biggest upset was Switzerland over France but the rest went pretty much as expected. There are a lot of key games tomorrow between the two and three seeds of pools to see who goes to power pools. Expect some intense action tomorrow, and especially look to pool F for some fireworks.