World Games Korfball Semi-Finals Roundup
It is time for the semi-finals today in Wroclaw. The hard work the athletes have put in the last three day, results in the following games: China – Great Britain, Poland, Australia, Belgium – Taiwan and The Netherlands – Germany. Three possible tight and exciting games, ending the day with The Netherlands securing a spot in the final.
China – Great Britain
First up is China against Great Britain. Both teams will be disappointed to be in this game. China did not show their good form of the friendlies they played as preparation for this tournament and Great Britain lost in a tense game against rivals Germany yesterday, so they will need to pick themselves up in a short time.
After an exciting first quarter, in which Great Britain initially takes the lead by the hand of Blake Palfreyman, the score is even at 8-8. China shows improvement compared to the group stages now and they show they are better than they seemed to be the last few days. Also in the second quarter the game remains a very tight one. Again, Great Britain take the lead at 11-14, but China comes fighting back, ending the first half with 15-15. It is good to see Blake Palfreyman playing at his usual level, next to captain Ben King today. For China it is Shuaishuai Liang taking the spotlights, scoring some important goals.
In the third quarter it is China’s turn to take the lead for the first time. With a solid overall performance, they hold on to the lead up to the final minute, when Charles Vogwill puts Great Britain in front again, only to see China scoring for the 20-20. With this score, the final ten minutes begin furuiously, with Muzi Li scoring for China and Palfreyman for Great Britain. After that, both teams create their chances, but China are the better finishers, with Muzi Li and MVP Jing Zhao leading the team to their first victory this tournament with this 27-24 win over Great Britain.
Poland – Australia
For Poland, this is a chance to show their growing form is continued against a more equal opponent. If it does, Poland might be able to get their first win here in Wroclaw, but that’s not going to be easy against a positive Australia. They set the bar high, stating they want to finish fifth and they are well on their way. Poland is their next obstacle to overcome and Australia seems to start well with Robertson and Othen scoring the opening goals. Poland however has learned through this tournament that a good start is crucial and they come out fighting hard. Australia is the better team though in the first quarter and they lead 6-10 after ten minutes. Because of two missed penalty shots for Poland, this deficit remains intact when we reach half time at 9-13. Kamil Musialinski is playing well for Poland. Scoring four, working hard when switching to rebound and he keeps Adam Robertson from scoring more than two goals.
In the beginning of the second half, Poland is very unlucky with some decisions of referee Faria, but they can still keep up with Australia, keeping the gap of goals on four after thirty minutes. Othen keeps Tamara Siemieniuk on a leash in defense and keeps on scoring herself to get Australia to lead 14-18.
It comes down to the final ten minutes and they were quite tense. In front of the home crowd, Poland tried one more push, and up until the last minute, they were still in the game, but the finishing let them down. This means that MVP Othen’s Australia will play China for fifth place tomorrow, but also Poland can be proud of this game, as they gave it everything they’ve got, but came just a bit short today.
Belgium – Taiwan
For the next game, it is also difficult to predict the outcome. Historically, Belgium is favorite to reach the final, but this game will be an exciting one. The Belgian men against the Taiwanese women. Of these two, the women could be the deciding factor with korfball hero Ya-Wen Lin leading them on.
The first minute is truly a commercial for the sport. Four great goals, equally divided over the two teams open this game. After that, we have to wait a bit as it seems the tension is getting to the players, but again the game is on fire with one good goal following the other. Korfball Hero Brent Struyf is struggeling with his shot, but scores the important equalizer at 6-6 with the first quarter ending in 7-7. Together with David Peeters, he opens the score in the second quarter, but another Korfball Hero, Ya-Wen Lin, evens the score at 9-9. In the second quarter it is Taiwan controlling the game. As expected, Ya-Wen Lin shows Taiwan the way to a 10-13 lead at half time, scoring four goals in the process.
Taiwan keeps the momentum at the start of the second half, but slowly it shifts to Belgium, now playing with De Bremaeker in for Struyf. De Bremaeker scores three and brings Belgium closer, but it is Ya-Wen Lin who decides the score after half an hour at 15-18. This shifts the momentum back to Taiwan for the final quarter and after an intense game, Taiwan deserves the 18-22 win. Their women were better than the Belgian men, with MVP Ya-Wen Lin scoring eight. Also a main factor in this game was Taiwan number twelve, Nien-Hua Huang. He scored two, but more importantly, he was able to keep Nick Janssens (and later David Peeters) from scoring their usual amount of goals with some stand out defending.
After the game we found out that both Korfball Heroes Ya-Wen Lin and Brent Struyf did not come out of the game well. Ya-Wen went to the hospital for an injury and Struyf disappeared shortly after his substitution. Turns out he was feeling ill. Let’s hope for both players they can play tomorrow, as their teams will play for the gold, silver and bronze…
The Netherlands – Germany
This is a game for which we do know the result before the game has started. Germany will do their utmost to frustrate the Dutch, but the quality The Netherlands has on the field will definitely be the deciding factor. Let’s hope Germany can put up a little bit of a fight.
In the beginning they really do. In fact, Germany takes a 0-2 lead and even after four Dutch goals in a row, they keep on scoring. This means that the Dutch, again not playing on their expected level yet, ‘only’ lead 4-7 after ten minutes. An exception is Nick Pikaar. He tries to entertain the audience and scores five goals in the process. Other than that, the Dutch don’t even play that bad, but their scoring is failing. Germany is also not capable of really threatening The Netherlands, so the score at half time is 5-11.
In the third quarter, The Netherlands begins to show their quality. They play around easier, their scoring percentage goes up and they look more focused in defense. After thirty minutes, they lead the game 9-19. The final quarter is one for the books. The Netherlands is clearly the better team, but there is no sparkle. They win the game easily with 13-25, but let’s hope they’re holding on to the fireworks for tomorrow against Taiwan. They will need it.
Nick Pikaar, particularly based on the first half, claims MVP for this game.