Day two brought wind and some upsets to the party
July 3, 2023 by Grace Sisel in Recap with 0 comments
Day two of WFDF U24 Championships has finished and the tournament is in full swing. The pool games are well underway, and with an upset or two, there are a number of things to report on as mixed moves on to power pools and the overall pictures in the other two divisions start to become clearer.
The Italy against Austria game can best be described as one of trading downwind points. Each team brought out a zone on defense in hopes of generating some turns as their opponent continuously swung the disc. Austria’s version featured a flat line of defenders near the disc, primarily working to stop Italy’s handler movement. Italy fluctuated between a tight handler cup and a flatter, huck-stopping wall in front of the disc. Both of these zones were effective, especially given that each point featured several turns. As the game progressed, Austria adopted the age-old, huck-and-D offensive structure, relying on the fact that neither team could work the disc upwind. Italy took the opposite approach, weaving it through Austria’s zone. Offensive Captain Elisa Cappucci was integral in this, as she consistently darted through the wall of Austrian players. Eventually, Italy managed to decisively break upwind twice and emerged with a 15-12 win.
Austria demonstrated a similar tactic against the Great Britain women, who are more than comfortable working through the zone. The home team took the game by storm, quickly earning a five-point lead. From there, the teams fought through contested, long points as the Austrian team hucked and turned the disc at almost every opportunity. Emily Stewart of GB put in the work running the handler set at will, and the game ended with a 14-5 win for the British team. It will be interesting to see how GB plays against the Italian team, given that Italy had a decently tight game with Austria and a similar defeat from Japan. The Wednesday game should be close, especially if there is a match-up between captains Stewart and Cappucci.
This morning, Belgium and Canada played in what was anticipated to be the game of the day. Unfortunately for Canada, Belgium dominated the matchup. The first couple of points were grueling, featuring several turns stemming from a series of incomplete deep shots. The teams slowly reeled it in, attempting to work it up the field for most of the points, with Belgium leaning on burgeoning superstar Daan De Marrée and captain Tobe Decraene in their offensive structures. As Canada attempted to restructure, the Belgium team exploited their hesitation and ended up taking the game 13-7.
Germany managed to come out of the day with two wins, 15-10 over Colombia and 15-12 over Great Britain in a tight, physical affair. They are well positioned now to make quarters, having already played the USA and taken wins against two of the other teams in contention. Their matchup against Italy will really decide their fate.
The mixed division was turned around today, thanks to upsets from Finland and South Africa. Notably, South Africa beat Australia on universe point, 14-13, sending the team from Down Under to the bottom of the pool. Singapore performed as expected given their strong performance in 2019, earning the top seed in their pool and securing their spot in the power pool with the USA, Japan and Sweden.
Finland and South Africa battled it out for the final spot in the upper power pools, not only against each other but also against the wind. Their game was contested with only a handful of clean, downwind holds. It was not until the end of the game that either team managed an upwind break, ending with a final score of 14-11 to Finland.
Canada and Sweden took on each other in the final game slot of the day, simply trading points for the first half. The beginning of the match was characterized by zone, dropped clap catches, and flustered offense from both sides. The first few points showcased the male-matching players, however once given the chance, the female-matching players demonstrated their commanding presence on the pitch. After just one upwind break from the Canadians, the atmosphere of the game changed as more players were incorporated into the offense and Sweden could not keep up. Though the points were long, Canada ran away with it, ultimately winning 14-7. Both teams have qualified for the power pools.
The tournament is playing out nicely, and it is looking like there will be some nice match-ups to come. The power pool featuring Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Finland looks to be very closely matched and will surely deliver some tight matchups. Australia and Germany will be pushing hard to emerge from the lower power pools, with pre-quarter spots up for grabs for both.