Mannheim, Germany (July 25, 2023) – In a rain-soaked contest at Rhein-Neckar Stadium, the United States suffered a disappointing defeat to Italy, losing 3-0 (12:10, 11:6, 11:5) in a match that dashed their hopes of securing a top 8 finish and a spot at the 2025 World Games. The Italian team displayed a strong service game, which proved to be too much for the Americans, bringing their tournament record down to 2-2.
Following their defeat, the United States was relegated to the Presidents Cup tournament, where they had to face Czechia, a tough opponent with a 1-2 record in Group C. The last time these two teams met was during the President's Cup Final at the 2019 World Championships, in which the Czech Republic emerged victorious with a 3-2 win. Seeking revenge, the American team, comprised of eight out of the ten players from that previous encounter, started strong, taking the first game. Despite Czechia's efforts to capitalize on American substitutions and service errors, the United States managed to regain control, and play some of their best fist all of the tournament to secure a 3-1 victory (11:7, 7:11, 11:9, 12:10).
With this win, the Americans advanced to the President's Cup semi-finals, where they are set to face New Zealand, who dominated Group C with a perfect 3-0 record before losing to Chile in the crossover game. New Zealand and the United States have met once before in international competition, with the Americans taking the lone win at the 2019 World Championships.
The President's Cup semi-final, in which the United States will compete, is scheduled for July 26th at 12:40 pm local time (6:40 am EST, 5:40 am CT) at Rhein-Neckar Stadium. A win in this match would secure the Americans a spot in the President's Cup Final, set to take place on Friday, July 28th, at the SAP Arena. USA Fistball encourages fans to follow their social media platforms for updates and support as the team strives to win the President's Cup.
Photo: Mar Gonzales Mulet (IFA)