November 6th saw the second and final day of the quarter final groups.
China – USA
Two of the least experienced teams at the tournament produced a close game in which the lead changed regularly and no team was able to gain a clear advantage. After being marginally ahead at half time, by 6-5, a late surge by China achieved its first win at World Championship level 16-13.
South Africa – India
In a high scoring game between two young teams from the Commonwealth, India showed greater poise and precision to build on a scoring spree just before half time, when they led 14-6, to prevail at full time by 26-19 and give themselves a chance to battle for the ninth position at this tournament.
Catalonia – Germany
An open and even contest throughout, Catalonia started fast, and effectively, to go to a four goal lead. Once the Germans found their rhythm they managed to pull back goals and went to half time at 7-7. Germany kept their momentum at the beginning of the second half, and held a one or two goal margin until four minutes from time, when Catalonia drew even, before scoring twice in the final minute to take an upset win 13-11.
Poland – Hungary
As both teams were already assured of their respective destinations in the semi finals, this was not the keenest contest of the tournament, with both coaches resting key players. True to the form shown to date, Hungary made more of the play than Poland, winning the first half 7-2. Although Poland scored a few more, the second half saw a similar tale, and the final score was 14-8
Portugal – Russia
This was one of the most important games of the tournament so far, with the medal hopes of these two, and Chinese Taipei, riding on the result. Neither side enjoyed a clear advantage until a goal flurry late in the first half took Portugal to a 9-7 lead. In the second half the goals dried up for Portugal, who scored only once in the first 20 minutes of the half, enabling the Russian team to draw level. But once again, when it counted, Portugal sustained the pressure to win 14-12 and book their place in the medal round.
Australia – England
As is generally the case in sporting fixtures between these two countries, this was a dogged battle where both were fully committed. Defence was tight and neither side could establish a clear advantage. At half time Australia was 7-5 up, but approaching full time England was one ahead. Australia equalised with 20 seconds on the clock, and a golden goal period was played, lasting an incredibly tense nine minutes, until England finally broke through for a 13-12 victory. Netherlands – Chinese Taipei
The world champion stood in the way of Chinese Taipei getting their quest for a medal back on track. It was an insurmountable barrier, and the normally fluid Asian champions were made to look ordinary. Scoreless for the first 22 minutes, while their opponent hit ten, the half time score was 14-2 to the Netherlands. In the second half the Dutch crowd-pleasers looked to play some trick korfball, which largely came off, to give them a comfortable win of 28-9, and leaving Chinese Taipei to play for fifth. Belgium – Czech Republic
Belgium showed they are peaking at the right end of the tournament with a virtuoso display over their one-time conqueror. Showing huge commitment and making light of a large crowd to support the host, Belgium ran the Czech Republic ragged, storming to a 13-4 half time lead against their fellow medal contender. There was little respite in the second half and after some thrilling korfball by the Diamonds, the score at the end was Belgium 23 Czech Republic 12.
Four close encounters in all quarter-final matches led to an exciting days play.
Poland – China
An even and free scoring game saw the fast Chinese female players and the accurate Polish male shooters trade goal for goal throughout the first 40 minutes until the scoring abruptly stopped. An 11-11 half time scoreline grew to 15-15, then the defenders took over. Eventually Poland managed two late goals to win the game 17-15 and take their place in the play off for 13/14 tomorrow.
USA – South Africa
Two similarly matched teams also unable to be parted on the scoreboard. On this occasion the defence was slightly better, and another goal drought took place for most of the second half. From 7-6 to the USA at half time, the match finished at 9-9. After a missed penalty by South Africa in the golden goal period, the USA finally scored to win the game 10-9.
Catalonia – India
Another close game and low scoring game, controlled by Catalonia. India looked good in places, but was unable to control the tempo, or at times themselves, as their opponent took an early lead and was never caught, going from 8-4 at half time to 12-10 at the final whistle.
Germany - Hungary
The fourth very close game of the day saw two teams who will rate themselves unlucky to have missed playing in the top eight. Hungary played with class and confidence, but Germany was clearly anxious to make up for losses earlier in the tournament and gave the Hungarians little quarter. At half time Hungary led by 10-8. Scoring again slowed in the second half and after being four down, Germany was on level terms heading to the climax. Seemingly set for another golden goal, Hungary sealed the win with just seven seconds left to play, winning 17-16.
Today’s results mean that, in the play offs for positions nine to sixteen, the games, to be played on Friday, will be as follows:
15/16 – China v South Africa
13/14 – Poland v USA
11/12 – India v Germany
9/10 – Catalonia v Hungary
Play off places decided for top eight, with no surprises as two korfball superpowers proceed to their eight final. Russia upsets rankings to earn the right to play off for 5/6 place in their maiden World Championship.
Australia – Chinese Taipei
Although Australia fought hard, they could not overcome the team they have traditionally fourught for dominance of the korfball world beyond Europe. Australia fought back from a 10-7 half time deficit to draw level, but four unanswered goals by Chinese Taipei with ten minutes remaining was too much for the Australians who ended on the wrong end of 21-13. England – Russia
England scored more freely than in their earlier games, at least through most of the first half, dominating the dangerous Russians in the rebound. However, Russia clicked into gear shortly before half time to draw back to 7-6 behind. The second half saw England’s difficulty to score return and they went a total of 28 minutes without a goal, while Russia accumulated regularly. In the end the young Russians booked a place in the playoff for fifth and sixth in their first World Championship, winning 13-9.
Netherlands – Czech Republic
A spirited rearguard action by the host in the face of a performance of routine excellence by the World Champion, with some memorable moments as their stars shone. A half time lead of 14-4 by the Tulips did not quite turn into the rout that they threatened from time to time, ending at 22-9 to put them through to the final of the World Championship for the eighth time in succession.
Belgium – Portugal
In completing the line up for the play offs, Belgium dealt emphatically to the challenge of Portugal. In the first half, in particular, the Belgians put together a quick long passing game to dominate their opponents, who seemed resigned to playing for the bronze medal right from the start. A first half score of 11-3 was transformed to 19-6 at the end.
Play offs for the top eight:
7/8 – Australia – England
5/6 – Chinese Taipei – Russia
3/4 – Portugal – Czech Republic
1/2 – Netherlands - Belgium
Three of the four final games for the teams chasing places nine-16 were close, with two going to golden goal and one decided just short of that.
China – South Africa
China started well, then South Africa rediscovered some confidence, which had been missing since they let their place in the top eight slip away in disastrous fashion. At half time they had fought back to 9-9, building further on that through the early stages of the second half to enjoy a four goal lead at one point. Then China fought back, bringing it level right at the end of the half, 15-15, to take the game into a golden goal period. China scored with their first attack, only to see South Africa level from theirs. After seven minutes of nerves, South Africa finally converted a penalty to win 17-16 and take 15th place.
Poland – USA
In their first world championship since 1991 the USA enjoyed their second win at the end of the tournament to finish in 13th place. This was a close but low scoring game throughout, 7-6 to Poland at half time and 13-12 to the USA at the end, a second golden goal of the day averted by a penalty miss in the dying seconds by Poland.
India – Germany
After a number of narrow losses against teams they will have expected to beat, Germany finished the tournament on a high. They took their frustration out on India, playing with pace and purpose to control the rebound and defuse the physicality of their opponent, for a comfortable win, turning an 11-5 half time lead into a 19-9 victory.
Catalonia – Hungary
Catalonia and Hungary played out an even, hard fought contest for ninth place. Hungary led for most of the way, and took a 7-5 advantage to half time. Through most of the second half the Hungarians led by one or two goals but with just over a minute left, Catalonia finally levelled the game. With no further score the game required the second golden goal of the day; the third Hungary has had to play for at this tournament. In a nervous golden goal period, which lasted five minutes, both teams made basic mistakes before a penalty to Catalonia made it a formality for them to finish the game 13-12, giving them ninth place in the tournament.
Victory by the Netherlands in today’s World Championship final in Brno, Czech Republic, has earned a congratulatory message to the team from their Prime Minister. Coach of the Netherlands, Jan-Sjouke van den Bos, received a phone call moments after the game from Dutch Prime Minister Jan Pieter Balkenende to pass on his best wishes at their success to captain Leon Simons and the rest of the team that had just beaten Belgium 23-10 to win the gold medal.
Australia – England
In the match to determine seventh and eighth placings, Australia and England fought a near repeat of their close, low scoring duel four days earlier. Englands’s game, based around their tall rebounders, contrasted with Australia’s more mobile style for an interesting contest. As in their earlier encounter, England managed to hold on to win, turning a 6-5 half time lead into a 12-11 victory.
Chinese Taipei – Russia
A nervous, low scoring first half saw the two teams make every endeavour, but not manage to score with any fluency. Russia led at half time, but only by 3-2 and three of those were scored in the final five minutes of the half. The scoring increased in the second half with Chinese Taipei repeating their victory from the tournament’s first match, this time by 13-8, to secure fifth place.
Czech Republic – Portugal
A noisy local crowd urged on their heroes in the bronze medal match, lifting them at crucial points to enable them to defeat Portugal. At half time it was 7-5 to the Czech Republic and midway through the second half the Portuguese edged ahead, but their lead was only momentary and the hosts powered away in the final 15 minutes to win comfortably: 19-14.
Netherlands – Belgium
Predictably the Netherlands suffocated their perennial rivals, making a fast start and effectively closing out the game after 15 minutes. Superior in all facets of the game, and totally re-emphasising their dominance of world korfball, by half time it was 11-2. The second half was slightly less intense, with elements of exhibition korfball coming into the Dutch performance. The final score was 23-10.
Tournament top scorers:
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images