Mannheim, Germany (July 24, 2023) – The United States began their Group D finale with an early 2-0 lead against Denmark, but their inability to capitalize on match points allowed Denmark to make a comeback, pushing the match to a fifth and final set. In the decisive set, Denmark took advantage of a fatigued American side, ultimately securing victory with a score of 3-2 (11:9, 12:10, 9:11, 10:12, 3:11). The Americans, known for their strong service game, struggled today, making ten service errors and earning just nine points from serves.
Despite the setback against Denmark, the United States still stands a chance in the World Championships, having secured second place in Group D. However, their road ahead won't be easy as they now face a daunting challenge against the third-place finisher from Group A, Italy. So far in Mannheim, Italy holds a 1-2 record, with a dominant win over Namibia and a hard-fought match against Switzerland, which ended in a 3-1 defeat.
The Italians have a history of success against the Americans at the World Championships, boasting a perfect 3-0 record in their previous encounters. The last time these two teams met was just over a year ago at The World Games in Birmingham, AL, where Italy outclassed the Americans with a 3-0 victory. Led by star striker Armin Runer and guided by German coach Jorg Ramel, Italy has been on the rise, securing a fifth-place finish at the 2019 World Championships and a respectable fourth place at the European Championships last year.
Tomorrow's (July 25th) contest will be the first match of the day at Rhein-Neckar stadium, with the first service at 10:00 am local time (4 am EST, 3 am CT). The winner of the crossover match will qualify for the quarterfinals and an all-prestigious top 8 spot. The loser will be entered into the consolation President's Cup tournament. All of the action can be followed on fistball.tv. Please continue to follow USA Fistball on all social media platforms and support the team as they continue their journey at the 2023 IFA Fistball World Championships.
Photo: Petra den Dulk (IFA)