Another roller coaster of emotions, tragedy and triumph as the very best of inline hockey players of the world arrive at tomorrow's last day of competition. Buenos Aires was delighted by another day of turnarounds and talent as every team goes all out in the quest for glory.
The Junior Women started the day, launching directly from their preliminary round matches into the semifinals. And no time was wasted, as we saw Namibia overcome the Argentinian host team like a herd of wildebeest, with a score line of 8-1. The home side were animated once their own Mila Lutteral scored within 2 minutes, but this was quickly corrected once these determined newcomers put down their own points marker with Loumarie Fourie. It was only another minute before she couldn’t wait to score again, and the stampede continued until 8 was on the board. The story for the Argentinian juniors is one of potential and growth, with two wins in the tournament so far. They will have Bronze to fight for tomorrow, as well as pride in representing their nation so well. The story for Namibia however, is one of a relentless march on towards Gold. They play the USA team tomorrow in the Gold medal final, who also have a superb record in this tournament so far, having only lost to one team…..Their competitors for the Gold. But both teams have travelled a bit, and the tournament is a long one, so stamina as much as skill will be a factor in this unmissable Gold Medal match. The Americans beat Colombia convincingly 5-2 to earn their place, and send Colombia into a bronze medal match with fellow South Americans Argentina, which will be a close and atmospheric match between these two passionate rivals. Yesterday's final match sealed the 5th and 6th places with Brazil taking the honours 3-2, and leaving the Italians with some work to do for next year. Not quite the same as their Senior Men’s team, who’s stunning result today follows below. For the Junior Women, the el Classico of South American Inline will be the Bronze Medal match, and a new modern tale will be written for the gold, where either giants of Inline USA can do what their senior sisters only just missed out, or the rising star of Africa, will make the star a golden one to shine.
For senior Men, the dust is barely settling on a furious semifinals and placement round of matches. For the International cup, Brazil played brilliantly against Colombia in a tight match, only winning by 4-3 and allowing them to progress to the Cup finals v Canada. Canada seem to have found some resurgence, and with a spring in their step maybe they begin to believe after a disappointing show in the top half of the draw, they can still make it to the cup final. They beat Switzerland 8-3 and earned a reprieve and a chance to bring home some metalwork. The Swiss and Colombians will play for 11/12 place in this extraordinarily tough international division of 17 top world teams. Germany scored another big haul against Ireland, though nothing quite so large as they managed v Uruguay. &-1 the final score, and settling them into the 15th position, with only Ireland and Uruguay to compete for the final two places. Meanwhile, another rising star in the East, Chinese Taipei, with an outstanding record in the lower draw, has made good progress in the top half, and beat Slovakia 9-5. This leaves them to fight Spain for 5th or 6th place, and the job of being promoted is complete. Don’t expect this to be a quiet match, as Spain completed an amazing turnaround v Argentina in overtime, after looking dead and buried in a brutal match of penalties and attrition, they scored all their goals within 5 minutes of the end of the match, with two of them coming from OT winner Daniel Gutierrez. In the Semifinals, two mighty European powers of inline, the Steady, professional and stoic Czechs did just enough to beat the fast and furious French. The Czechs have quietly gone about their business as usual, and have wound up in the Gold medal final having beaten everyone on the way with a perfect record, setting themselves up as favourites for retaining their Gold medal. They were expecting to meet their rivals from the World Games this year, where they narrowly lost thier justifiable top seed. However as is often the case, the World Championships can bring out something special in teams. Something extra special. This year it was Italy’s turn to find some extra Mojo against the might of the American team. With such talent and execution going for them, the task must have seemed overwhelming, and for moments it was! Not one, but two goals for the Americans denied by mere fractions of a second behind a whistle. This set the Americans, who had the run of play in the first half, on a frustrated back foot. And that's when Italy struck! Number 59 Alessio Lettera unleashed a slapshot like a bullet that put the Italians ahead in the first half. They came out in the second with a spring in their wheels, and the belief that this match could be theirs, with a quick goal from David Dal Sasso off of Vendrame. Despite the Americans throwing everything at the Italians, only Nicholas Della Morte could pull one back for the Stars and Stripes. The rest of that match was a tough affair, but ultimately the Tricolore would take the honours, and the keys to the gold medal match. It is moments like this that define this top level tournament, and nothing is certain, except the drama and talent and entertainment that we witnessed today. So the scene is momentarily quiet, but for tomorrow's electric finals, where we will finally confirm our 2022 World Champions in 4 divisions. The standards are better than ever across the board, to drop everything and make your way to the Arena, or to your computers and phones, and hold on for the best thing on wheels all year. The Cups will rise overhead tomorrow, and we can not wait!
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Words Pete Wirt
Photo Credit: Marco Guariglia
Photogallery of the day
Live streaming Schedule
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