At the Wangaratta Showgrounds the New Zealand Falcons displayed a brand of football that may be the best yet seen in international footy, ruthlessly disposing of Samoa and sending a message to the other semi-finalists.
Only four teams are still in the race for the trophy in this year's International Cup, with all other sides playing off for rankings on Thursday and Saturday.
Papua New Guinea and Ireland will meet in one semi final on Thursday, New Zealand and USA in the other. The winners of these two fixtures will then meet at the MCG in the final, as a curtain-raiser to the AFL blockbuster between Carlton and Collingwood.
In Round 4 of International Cup action, the people of Wangaratta have so far been treated to two nail-biters and three convincing wins.
In the close games, Papua New Guinea defeated the USA by a single point (7.5.47 to 7.4.46) and Canada's severe run of bad luck saw them lose to Great Britain by two points, 3.7.25 the Bulldogs to 3.5.23 the Northwind.
In other matches, South Africa 12.12.84 defeated Spain 2.1.13, Ireland 7.11.53 defeated Japan 1.0.6 and New Zealand 16.2.98 defeated Samoa 4.3.27.
Full match reports to come in the next few hours - plus check the Multimedia Gallery for photos and video footage.
After kicking the first goal of the match within 1 minute of the opening of play in their Round 3 match, the Samurai never bothered the score keeper again as the Falcons showed just why they are one of the tournament favourites.
The British Bulldogs are doing it tough at the 2005 International Cup. Their draw is one of the worst, facing what have proven to be 3 of the top 4 sides, in New Zealand, Samoa and PNG. And the British play a physical style of game, which must be taking its toll on their bodies. Today they faced one of the tournament's top fancies on a big ground
Due to popular demand, World Footy News will shortly be adding a multimedia section, hopefully to have more photos, videos and audio from the 2005 International Cup. A link will be placed in the top section of the front page.
After Round 3 of the International Cup a new powerhouse in international footy appears to be the USA, taking care of business against the gutsy Spaniards. Papua New Guinea appeared to run into form late against Great Britain, and Ireland got its running game going against South Africa. New Zealand continued to cruise, but notably the latest win was against the hard-running Japanese. This suggests the Kiwis now deserve outright favouritism for 2005. With the top four flexing their muscle Samoa needed to win to keep in touch, and did so in an amazing come from behind win over the luckless Canadians who seemed to have done enough to notch their first 2005 victory. So who are the likely top four finalists?
Samoa were widely expected to be far too strong for the Candians in their third round match of the International Cup, but trailed for most of the game, at one stage looking completely out of contention.
Below are all the results from Sunday's games at Optus Oval and TEAC Oval. On Monday 8 August the entire International Cup touring party, all 400 participants, board a V-Line train bound for Wangaratta. Hosted by the WorkSafe Victorian Country Football League and City of Wangaratta the 10 nations will take in some of the sights and attractions of the beautiful region before battling it out in Round 4 of the Cup.
Ireland bounced back from their loss against the USA to record a 59-point win over South Africa. The Buffaloes showed some impressive speed in parts and held the Irish for long periods of the game, but ultimately Ireland were just too strong.
Spain got an early jump on the USA at TEAC Oval today in Round 3, leading at quarter time and only a goal down at the half, but the Revolution eventually pulled away for a 28-point win in a tough, low-scoring encounter.
The two stand-out results of Round 2 of the International Cup at Murphy Reserve, Port Melbourne, were long-standing streaks coming to an end. Ireland tasted their first loss in international football after an incredible run going back to approximately 2001, going down to the rising USA Revolution, and accompanied by scenes of joy, South Africa knocked off Japan in a thriller to record their first ever win. After tipping the upsets we'll push our luck and examine round 3.