World Games Korfball First Day Roundup

Today, the World Games have finally begun. This first day also marks the start of the korfball event. For five days, eight countries will battle for the gold, silver and bronze. Gold will go to The Netherlands, no question about that, but behind The Netherlands, a struggle will take place for silver and bronze. The squads will try to get a head start today, winning their first games.

Taiwan - Germany

The first game is a clash between Taiwan and Germany. Two different styles of play, makes for an interesting first quarter. Germany has the best start, going up 1-3, but then Korfball Hero Ya-Wen Lin steps up in the first quarter, scoring three and almost single handedly brings the game to Taiwan.
Both teams start with attempting running ins. Taiwan does that cleanly, with the sole purpose of scoring. Germany tries to get the penalty shot, which gives them two opportunities to score, but Muller forgets to score the first one. He does convert the second one. This is already in the second quarter, in which Taiwan in no longer scoring, but Germany can’t take advantage of this. Therefore, the half time score is 8-6.
The third quarter is an exciting one again. Some refereeing decisions that are up for discussion and Taiwan that once again gives Germany a fighting chance, resulting in a 11-11 after six minutes in the third quarter. Taiwan ends this quarter on a high though and continues the better form in the fourth quarter, pulling away from Germany with more precision scoring. Although with four goals of Shu-Ping Chu in the last quarter, this match MVP has to be Korfball Hero Ya-Wen Lin, scoring seven and being a continuous threat for her opponent, she has a big hand in this hard fought, but well deserved victory.

The Netherlands - China

The second game is a formality. The Netherlands will face China and it will be a walk over. It is interesting to see though if China shows progress. With korfball guru Ben Crum helping out, China is expected to show some quality. The start is hopeful as the first attack is a goal for China. After that though, The Netherlands dominates on all fronts, as expected, going to 9-1 after the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, it is again China that opens the score, but yet again, The Netherlands is no match for the Chinese, who do manage to score a third goal, but by half time, The Netherlands comfortably leads 17-3.
By the end of the third quarter, The Netherlands leads by 27-8. Some nice goals by China, but the Dutch are simply too strong. In the end, this results in a 33-10 win for The Netherlands.
Probably the most interesting player from China would be Fei Xiao, showing some shooting skill and pace, but we can hardly choose the MVP from China in this game. We will also not go for any Dutch player, as the they were hardly challenged this game.

Poland – Great Britain

Next up is the game between hosts Poland and the team of Great Britain. The venue was filled quite nicely for this game with over five hundred tickets sold to support the home team. Will it help? The short answer is no… Poland looked nervous and made a lot of mistakes. Great Britain used this to lead 0-8 after ten minutes. Another ten minutes later, it was 3-16 and all hopes were gone for a Polish upset in their opening game. The players were simply overwhelmed by the pressure, so it seemed. Great Britain took advantage of the situation and by the hand of Blake Palfreyman and Joseph Bedford, they were leading comfortably at half time.
The third quarter though, things were quite different. Poland shrugged off the weight on their shoulders and grew back into the game. This resulted in an interesting ten minutes, ending in 4-4, with Poland finally showing some fierceness. They carry this on in the final ten minutes, even winning the last quarter with 4-3, but to no avail. The first half nerves simply were too much for a Poland that bounced back well in the second half.
For Great Britain, because of their well played first half, Blake Palfreyman and Joseph Bedford will have to share this game’s MVP for me…

Belgium – Australia

The final game today is between Belgium and Australia. The former number two of the world starts well, also because of the strong rebounding and scoring of Jari Hardies. After ten minutes, the Diamonds lead 7-1. In the second ten minutes, Ashlee Othen stands out for Australia. With sharp corners at high pace in attack and a blocked shot in defense, she makes her presence known. It does not really matter for the score, because Belgium keeps on going to a 13-3 half time score.
The start of the second half was for Australia. Two goals by Joshua Berney brought the score to 13-5, but that was it for Australia this quarter. Belgium scored three before Brent Struyf received an easy yellow card for talking to referee Dahiya.
In the second half, Nick Janssens and Korfball Hero Brent Struyf take over. Belgium scores ten goals, of which Janssens makes half of them and Struyf four. This brings Janssens’ total to seven goals, which makes it impossible for me to overlook him as MVP, stealing it from Jari Hardies, who was on course with a great performance in the first half. Belgium wins 26-8 and can prepare for the game against rivals The Netherlands tomorrow.

Images courtesy of Actiefotografie