The Division One battle for 7th place promised a mighty battle between two sides that had tasted victory just once each across the tournament. Both sides had put up fighting efforts and while Fiji were favourites against 2011 rivals the French Les Coqs for the Tribe’s only win, the Canadians perhaps pinched one to get over Great Britian in the school round. Ironically both sides performed almost identically against the unbeaten NZ Hawks – produced a goal each in total as arguably the tournament favourites exerted their will.
The fifth game for each team - in 2 weeks - as the Canadian coach put it before the game "I know you're sore, they're sore too - who's tougher?" The final Friday asks more of many players than they imagined they could draw upon - as evenly matched opponents produce some of the most entertaining and fiercely fought matches of the tournament. And not letting anyone down - this match went down to the wire.
The GB Swans have had a rapid rise to fame in International Cup terms. Finishing strongly in the last quarter of today’s match to take third place in the Women’s Division. The Americans, much more established and of enough depth to bring two squads to Australia will be disappointed with their fourth place finish after a loss to the International Cup newcomers.
The match began in very ordinary weather with a strong wind blowing across the ground with some rain mixed in for good measure. The GB Swans suffered an early blow with Ellie Sutherland being carried off with what looked like a bad ankle injury.
The Division One wooden spoon battle – or the fight for 9th place – sees two sides that have had a tough time of it over the previous two weeks. South Africa Lions with just the one hard fought win a week earlier under lights in Geelong against Fiji. Meanwhile Les Coqs Français have been outgunned in each game, although have flown the flag valiantly and not failed to score at least 2 goals in any of their outings.
The 6th AFL International Cup wraps up with Men’s Div 1 and Women’s Grand Finals to be played on Saturday. The Men’s Div 1 will crown the 6th AFL International Champion. The two competing nations – the New Zealand Hawks and the Papua New Guinea Mosquitoes – have been here before. In fact – PNG have featured in every decider thus far however must consider themselves a tad lucky to have made it there this year. Having won in IC08 and IC14, PNG are hoping to become the first nation to go “Back to Back”.
The German Eagles and Croatian Knights tomorrow will meet in the GF of the men's Division 2. In their first IC appearances, both the Eagles and Knights have impressed, losing only one game each - the Croatians against China in a slow start to Round 1, and the Germans to Japan in the final group round.
The Semis saw both sides dominate, the Croatians running away with what was ultimately an easy win over Japan, and the Germans eventually pulling away from China in a match which had started evenly.
It adds up to a match where the result go easily go either way.
This year's International Cup sees two debutant sides squaring off in this Friday's Division 2 Grand Final - the high-flying German Eagles and the uncompromising Croatian Knights.
For both sides, it's been a long time in the making, with over 10 years since the beginnings of domestic footy in Croatia and around 20 years in Germany.
We take a look at the history of the two countries' footy scenes, with some of the stories featuring them on WFN over the years. In Part 2, we look back at some of the stories out of Germany back since the founding of this news site.
Twelve Nations have undergone a change in World Ranks as a result of the Division 1 Round 4 matches and Division 2 Semi-Final Round Games.
New Zealand’s victory over Ireland has seen them swap ranks 2nd for 3rd with Papua New Guinea again during this International Cup. Both Croatia 9th and Germany 13th have climbed three ranks following their wins’ over Japan and China, whilst Japan and China have fallen to 16th and 15th respectively. Nauru, Tonga and Fiji each have also risen one place courtesy of other nations losses in these rounds. Great Britain, Canada and Denmark each fell one place, again courtesy of the movement of other nations. And it should be pointed out that most of the movement has occurred in areas of the ranks where numerous teams are only separated by 2.00 to 3.00 Rating Points.