Day three saw decisions made in all four pools, determining which teams will play for the top eight placings and which will play for positions nine to16 in the rankings. With two of the crucial games decided by just a single goal and Australia reaching an improbable goal in one of the other decisive matches, it was a day of high drama at Brno.Russia prevented Germany from competing in the quarter finals.
In a game that had no bearing on the rest of the tournament, the highest ranked korfball country defeated the lowest ranked at this tournament by the largest margin of the championship so far, turning a half time lead of 22-3 into a final score of 42-10.
Determining that they rather than their neighbour and rival in this game will proceed in this tournament, Portugal demonstrated their greater experience, after an uneven start, to take control of Catalonia, building an 8-6 half time lead into a 17-10 victory.
Chinese Taipei- USA
Another mismatch, and with nothing riding on the result since the fate of these two teams was determined yesterday, Chinese Taipei used a number of players who have not featured in the earlier games to cruise from a half time lead of 12-3 step up the tempo in the second half and prevail at the end by 28-13.
In a game where neither team could build a lead of more than three goals, the less experienced Russia managed to hold on and hold out Germany, for a surprising, but well deserved victory to provide themselves with a passport to the top eight of this tournament, and to the World Games in two years time. At half time it was 7-7. Russia taking a lead soon after that they never quite relinquished to end up with a 13-12 victory
England - Hungary
England wins the Group C shoot out against Hungary in one of the lowest scoring games ever at a korfball world championship, dominated by tight rebound defence. It took 15 minutes to open the scoring with England going to a 3-1 half time lead. Goals freed up slightly in the second half, but not by much and after England had built on their lead, Hungary pared it back to just one to see another frantic finish, this time with no turn around at the end for England to win by 7-6.
Belgium - Poland
In a one-way contest, with nothing really for either side to play for, Belgium completed the formality of a 28-5 win, after leading 15-2 at half time. Poland, starting with most of their bench players, had the consolation of keeping the Belgians to less than 30, which Australia and South Africa both suffered in Group B.
Czech Republic - India
Already assured of a spot in the top eight, the host of the tournament still failed to really establish a rhythm, and were troubled by their feisty opponent, at least for much of the first half. A half time lead of 12-8 to the Czechs was translated into a 24-14 victory.
Australia - South Africa
With their form in the previous two days disappointing, Australia faced the apparently impossible task of beating South Africa by seven clear goals to progress to the top half of the draw. However, this was achieved, with an 8-6 half time lead augmented by a steady second half and a powerful final few minutes when they broke the young South African’s hearts to finish the game at 22-13.
Australia vs South Africa pic is from day 3 and the SA player reaching for the ball is Heleen Bennetts
Quarter-final action commenced with four new groups being contested, albeit with teams taking points and goals through from games involving the other team from their preliminary group.
Catalonia – USA
Long scoreless phases punctuated by short bursts of goal action characterised a game where the young Americans took a slightly different lesson in international korfball from their Iberian opponents. Scoring their first and last goal after eight minutes, the USA went to half time with a deficit of 7-1, which grew to 14-1 at the end.
Poland – India
Golden goal drama for the second time in the tournament. Poland took a lead of 10-6 into the break after a scrappy half of korfball. However, the quality of play increased after half time and India turned the tables on their tiring opponents, drawing level with just over a minute remaining, then hitting the winner within a few seconds of the start of the golden goal period to close out the game at .17-16.
China – Germany
China and Germany played out an untidy game, with both teams using a number of bench players. China is gradually improving with each game at this tournament, but could not match the Germans, even if they were not operating at full intensity. A half time lead of 9-5 was turned into a 17-9 result for Germany.
Hungary – South Africa
Hungary was in efficient and ruthless form in this game, where they quickly established an advantage over the representative of the African continent, and never gave their opponent a hint of recovery. An advantage of 13-7 for Hungary at the half was turned into 22-10 at full time.
Netherlands – Russia
Although Russia played well, particularly without their playmaker Sergey Nizovskii who was nursing an injured ankle, the Netherlands built a score with characteristic flair, cutting their opponent’s chances to virtually none. After half time, when the champion had an advantage of 13-1, the game began too flow more, for both teams, ending with 30-6.
Belgium – England
Second-ranked Belgium faced their toughest examination of the tournament so far in a match against the tall, tight defending English. Evenly matched, and behind on the scoreboard at half time by 5-6, Belgium had depths to draw on early in the second and drew ahead of the English, retaining their advantage until the end: 14-10.
Czech Republic – Australia
Again lacking fluency in their attack, the Czech Republic nevertheless managed to account for Australia. A half time lead of 9-4 was transformed into 18-9 at full time, in a game that became scrappy at the end as players showed the effects of fatigue.
Czech vs Australia pic is from day 4 and the Czech player at the front is Martine Bouman
Chinese Taipei – Portugal
Against most predictions, and overturning the IKF rankings, Portugal put paid to Chinese Taipei. A score of 10-8 at half time, was turned into 17-15 at the end as the Asian champion ran out of time and options and seriously dented their chance at winning a medal.
The quarter-final groups finish tomorrow.
photos Janos Schmidt