The USA continues to dominate but other teams are looking like challengers too.
July 4, 2023 by Sean Colfer and Grace Sisel in Recap with 0 comments
The wind died down on day three, giving ample opportunities for teams to showcase their rehearsed structures. The mixed power pools are underway whilst the open and women’s pools continue with teams playing it out for position in the bracket.
The game between Germany and Canada was the game to watch today, not only for the quality of ultimate but for the comeback from the German team as well. The beginning of the game was contested, with each team trading points for the first quarter. Canada broke the German team and went on to take half, leaving Germany on their back heels at 8-5. For the whole first half, Canada’s offense consisted entirely of openside, upline handler strikes, given away by a stutter step. Germany caught onto this and during the second half, they switched the force. Valeska Schnact, the Germany coach, discussed this after the game: “[Canada] flows with their forehands, so we need to change that. We started to force [middle]. There was so much pressure to reset and they made more unforced errors.”
As the game went on, Germany worked their way back as Canada became hesitant. A key player in this was German player Charlotte Schall who dictated both the defensive and offensive movement. Germany tightened up their defense, generating turns from keeping close pressure on the cutters. It almost felt like the German team wanted it more. However, this bump in Canada’s attitude was only temporary, as with the call of a time out, the team recomposed themselves and started taking back the disc. Canada used this momentum to secure the win, a break up at 15-13. This still leaves both teams eligible for the bracket as they are currently seeded second and third in their pool, with Canada only one point behind the United States in goal difference. Canada and the United States will be playing for the top seed in their pool tomorrow morning, while it looks likely that Australia and New Zealand will play a knockout game later in the day, with both likely to be 2-3 by then and only one bracket spot left1.
Colombia played both Great Britain and Italy today, earning one win and one loss. Their game against GB was a comfortable win with the final score of 15-9, despite GB’s valiant effort to try and bring it back after being down by four points in the first half. They then went on to play Italy and lost 12-15. The GB women beat the Phillippines 15-7, meaning that a win against Singapore tomorrow will push GB into the bracket. Italy, Colombia, and the incredibly impressive Japan2 are all but confirmed for bracket play already.
Japan and Belgium came to fight. Both teams threw everything at each other and, despite an early Japanese lead, the Belgians came out on top, 13-12. The game featured huge skies, big layout blocks and intense D, as well as one of the strangest situations in years going into half; Belgium seemingly got a quick score after a turn with a massive, one-handed layout catch by D line cornerstone Lander Decraene. The disc was not tapped in after a retracted call, though, so went back to the thrower, Daan De Marrée, and was immediately turned as Belgium failed to catch the disc after a pick call3. Belgium rallied in the second half to remain undefeated, playing much more patiently with the disc and constantly flying around on D. Japanese cutter Sota Ono said after the game: “We watched a lot of videos of them and analyzed them, but at the end we couldn’t stop them. I hope if we play again we can beat them.”
Tobe Decraene, one of Belgium’s captains, said: “In the beginning we knew they were going to want us to throw deep and we actually fell for the trap and did it a couple of times. It didn’t work really well so we tried to adapt a bit and play more their style maybe, and I think they struggled with it because they didn’t expect it. Every now and again we had to try a huck and it worked better in the second half than it did in the first. Overall we are really satisfied with our game.”
With Belgium taking two wins today, their second against New Zealand, they have confirmed their spot at the top of the pool. Japan and Canada will be playing for second in the pool tomorrow, with the final spot in the bracket from the pool up for grabs between Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Australia are on top of this three-way tie, but there are some big games tomorrow with Belgium playing both the Aussies and the Dutch and New Zealand playing Canada.
In the other pool, there is a bit of chaos after Great Britain‘s win against Austria this afternoon. GB have the chance to make it to quarters if they win against both Colombia and Singapore. However, if they fall short, they will very likely lose the spot in the bracket with Singapore and Colombia poised to pounce. The United States, Italy and Germany have all basically confirmed their spots in the bracket.
Great Britain took two easy wins today, claiming victories over New Zealand and Finland at 15-6 and 15-5, respectively. Canada had similar results, beating New Zealand 15-8 and Finland 15-3. The two teams will play tomorrow morning to determine who tops the power pool and therefore avoids the United States early in bracket play. The other game will determine positioning in the pre-quarters.
The United States also secured two wins today, capping both Japan and Sweden. They shut down the Japanese’s infamous inside throws, winning with a six-point lead. They finished their day with a casual ten-point defeat of Sweden after trading points for the first quarter of the game. The favorites look in fine form. Singapore have also secured two wins and will enter the bracket, while Japan and Sweden play pre-quarters.
The lower pools have seen some unexpected results, headlined by China’s upset of Germany, a result that was the talk around the fields today. After leading throughout the whole game, Germany lost control of the game and China went on a break run to take the game to universe. China went on to take it, 14-13, sparking wild Chinese celebrations. The German team self-appointed themselves as a defensive team, as proven by their ability to generate several turns per point, regardless of their opponent. However, their inability to convert is costing them here. They are bottom of the power pool and need help to make the pre-quarters, while Switzerland look to have already made it.
The other lower power pool has seen Chinese Taipei qualify for the pre-quarters already, winning against Australia and Hong Kong. Those two teams will play tomorrow in what is essentially a knockout game as the winner will take a spot in pre-quarters and the loser will drop into the bottom bracket.
The pool and power pool games are wrapping up tomorrow, and from there the teams will enter bracket play. Many of the top teams are hoping to stay clear of difficult quarter and semifinals against teams like the United States, with dreams of advancing as far as possible. By the end of the day tomorrow, the final eight will be confirmed in all divisions.
New Zealand play Canada and Australia play USA in the early games tomorrow morning, and neither team below the pair can get to three wins. ↩
They have capped everyone and conceded no more than three points to any team, despite playing the second ranked team – Italy – in the pool already. ↩
The receiver seemingly tried to catch the disc behind his head instead of simply clap catching it, momentarily forgetting that he actually needed to catch it after the call. ↩