Day 4 Preview of IWRF European Division B Championship
By Nathan Bragg
The final day of round robin play will end the Road to Rio for one more team while determining the semi-final and consolation match-ups.
Here's an overview of the games coming up in each pool on Thursday.
France (2-0) vs. Ireland (2-0)
Both these teams have clinched a spot in the semi-finals after dominating Austria and Italy in earlier games. For France this is where they were expected to be as they are the highest ranked team in the competition and have experience in big games. Ireland was the real sleeper of the championship coming in ranked 23rd in the world. They now have a chance to top their group and gain a favorable match-up heading into the semi-finals. The match-up between Thomas Moylan and Ryadh Sallem should be exciting as the elder Sallem takes on young Moylan.
Austria (0-2) vs. Italy (0-2)
Both these teams have been relegated to the consolation round, however pride and world rankings are still at stake and we can expect both teams to fight for a win. The Italians have really struggled in the competition with a goal difference of -73, compared to the Austrians who have had stretches where they challenged the French and the Irish. Austria’s balance should provide a good contrast to Italy’s hi-lo line-ups.
Czech Republic (1-1) vs. Switzerland (2-0)
If Switzerland wins they top the group and advance to the semi-finals. The Czechs have a much more complicated road to the semi-finals thanks to a heartbreaking overtime loss to Poland on Day 1. For the Czechs to advance they need to win and Poland needs to lose to Russia, or they have to win by a large margin against the Swiss, a highly unlikely situation given the Swiss’ strong play so far. The Czechs will need a strong game from Jaroslav Filak to fend off a Swiss team that already beat Poland by four and has the depth to throw two or three lines at them.
Poland (1-1) vs. Russia (0-2)
Russia may be eliminated from medal contention, but they have the opportunity to play spoiler to Poland’s European Championship campaign if they can pull off the upset. The Russians have struggled so far due their inexperience but have shown the ability to stay competitive for stretches. Poland’s potential is clear, they struggled at the last European championships but have played in big games in the past and have the edge in depth and experience over the Russians. A win should see them through to the semi-finals.
|About the Author
Nathan Bragg is a third-year journalism and communications student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He writes on a variety of Paralympic sports, but his focus is on wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. He is interested in the development and progression of Paralympic and para-sport media, and how Paralympic sport continues to carve its place in the mainstream media. Nathan was a member of the 2012 Canada Cup Communications Team, and a host for their webcasts and is currently looking for work in sports communication. Follow Nathan on Twitter @WheelNbragg