Pre-quarter madness in the Men’s division

Ravi Vasudevan continues his recaps of the Men’s division by going back over the pre-quarters.

The Men’s knockout stages are underway and we started with the pre-quarter and crossover rounds today. Quarter-finals are tomorrow, semis on Friday and finals on Saturday.  Here is what the brackets look like.

The state of play in the Men's division.
The state of play in the Men’s division.

Let’s move our way down the bracket.

USA vs Colombia

USA got here by easily defeating Japan in the crossover game for seeding. However, it is unclear whether either team was really playing to win or just going through the motions. As both teams are going for gold, I can imagine that neither team really wants to show the other team their key plays and systems. Colombia went through an epic pre-quarter game against Switzerland to get the quarter-finals. The final score was 13-12 for Colombia and Mauricio Martínez Lung had an absolutely huge game being involved in seven of Colombia’s 13 goals. Switzerland had a lead at half at 6-8 and Colombia had to rattle off three points in a row to make it 11-10 and then the teams traded points until the end.

As for the quarter-final, I cannot see Colombia doing much in this game. After their 15-4 defeat to GB yesterday, they do not seem to be able to handle the level of defense from the top teams. I think USA easily takes this quarter and moves on to semis.

Germany vs Canada

Germany also had a crossover and lost to GB, which puts them in the difficult position of facing Canada in quarter-finals. You may wonder what Canada was doing in a pre-quarter game against the Czechs instead of being a power pool winner, and in case you don’t know you need to stop what you are doing right now and watch the Japan vs Canada power pool game right now.

Watching Germany take on GB, they just don’t seem to have the consistency on offence to take on top teams. I think Canada will also take this game but it could definitely be a tight one. This would place Canada and USA in a semi-final that would be a repeat from 2012 in Sakai which was an epic game that went to universe point.

Ireland's WIll Martin pulls down a great grab against Australia. Photo by Daniel Ryle.
Ireland’s Will Martin pulls down a great grab against Australia. Photo by Daniel Ryle.

GB vs Australia

This will easily be the most compelling quarter-final out of the lot. GB got here by handily defeating Germany in the crossover. Australia had a much tougher road to this game. They started off the day by losing to the USA in a game where they held it together for a first half but couldn’t handle it when USA ratcheted up their defense in the second half. They beat Ireland in a pre-quarter in one of the best games of the tournament – a full report on that will be coming later today.

GB is undefeated so far and Australia have been tested by the USA. This may be a benefit for Australia as GB have not seen the level of defence that the Australians can bring. However, I think that this game could easily go either way and if I had to pick a team, I think GB have a slight edge.

Belgium celebrate securing their quarter-final spot. Photo by Andrew Moss.
Belgium celebrate securing their quarter-final spot. Photo by Daniel Ryle.

Japan vs Belgium

As stated earlier, Japan arrived here after losing the crossover with the US. Belgium got here in a fantastic pre-quarter against Austria. Benoit Spapens, Merlin Wollast and Moby Espitia lead the Belgian offence. Dajo Aertssen and Pieterjan De Meulenaere lead the defence and were able to contain the stellar performance from Austrians Valentin Vogl and Michael Gaisl. The Belgians were up by a lot all game, however at 14-12, Austria did not see giving up as an option. They took advantage of a few missed throws from the Belgians and brought it to 14-14. However, Belgium stayed calm and threw on a very strong line. Espitia threw up a huge disc to Spapens who caught it on the goal line and popped it in easily to De Meulenaere for the win. The Belgians celebrated like crazy and are extremely excited to go to the quarter-finals tomorrow against Japan.

Looking at the two teams they have very different styles. However, I think that Japan’s speed and athleticism will be something that the Belgians haven’t seen yet and won’t be able to handle. Good on them for making it this far but I don’t see them winning this one.
That will make the other semi between Japan and the winner of GB and Australia. This semi should be really intense either way.

I can’t wait to see these quarter-finals shape up to separate the men from the boys tomorrow.

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