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 1, we look back at some of the stories out of Croatia over the years.
Great Britain’s loss to Ireland and Fiji’s win over the Crusaders has brought about some movement in ranks with Great Britain falling two places to 5th below Ireland and USA. Fiji has climbed over Canada Midnight Suns with their win against Crusaders.
European Crusaders become the Ninth Nation to become Fully Ranked with 33.04 Rating Points.
IC17 Round 5 matches will play out at Royal Park tomorrow. The latest scheduled match times and ovals are in the table below.
All 11 matches will also be streamed live on the AFL's International Cup Youtube page. All matches tomorrow will be seeding matches e.g. South Africa vs France will be the playoff for 9th/10th place. Germany and Croatia will playoff for the Division 2 title in what should be a great match.
The remaining games of Round 5 are the Men's Division 1 and Women's Division Grand Finals that will be played at the MCG and Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Papua New Guinea and Pakistan 3rd and 4th place teams in their respective pools played an entertaining match in Semi-Final 4 of the Women’s Division of IC17 at Western Oval, Royal Park. Although the outcome of the match was very predictable as the experience of the Flames is well documented, no chance of a boil over by International Footy newcomers Pakistan was given.
Some discussion revolved around whether the Shaheens could finally register a score in this match. I watched their match against Canada last week and was hoping to see some improvement from the girls and wished to see them keep the Flames score to less than 20 goals.
As 3rd place and 4th place getters of their respective pools Indonesia and India played the Semi-final 3. match at Western Oval, 16th August. Indonesia went into this match as warm favourites on the form of their win over Sri Lanka and because India had lost to Pakistan on Saturday in round three.
Ruck contests were pretty even but Indonesia were able to gather more first use of the ball and were consistently quicker with both hands and feet and quickly moved the ball into their forward fifty and were able to score several quick goals, one each to Waruwu and Hariyanto.
Ireland rallied to come from behind against a strong, fit Great Britain team in a thrilling semi final match that went down to the wire. The momentum was with Great Britain at three quarter time but the Irish girls came out swinging in the fourth, kicking two goals and managing to keep Great Britain scoreless.
Both teams began the game in a defensive lineup by starting with an extra player behind the ball. The beginning of the match looked like Ireland were the team to beat, with an excellent start from #12 Carol Breen, who’s lighting pace was a handful for the Swans to deal with.
The Fiji Vonu team earned an 86-point victory over the European Crusaders at Western Oval in Round 4 of the IC Cup Women’s Division. Playing a fast and aggressive brand of footy, the Vonu were able to shake off a relatively slow start and blow the game wide open, finishing with a dominant performance in a 12.15.87 to 0.1.1 win.
The Vonu started off the IC with two close losses to Great Britain and Canada, but they came into the match against the Crusaders with great momentum after a shutout win over Pakistan in Round 3. The Crusaders had yet to even score a point in their first IC after some rough sledding against the USA, PNG, and Ireland.
After a disappointing loss to Japan on the previous Saturday, the German Eagles were too strong and too tall for a determined China Dragons outfit at Royal Park on Tuesday, winning their Div 2 semis final and booking a spot in Friday's final against Croatia. Whilst the Dragons were quick out of the blocks and pushed hard in the first term, the Eagles pushed ahead with the breeze after the first break, setting up a lead which the Chinese were ultimately unable to reel back in, the Eagles winning by 28 points.
NZ and Ire went into today’s clash undefeated. PNG who had won against South Africa were watching on anxiously, knowing if Ireland were to lose, they would likely be playing in the Grand Final at the MCG. If Ireland were to win then these two teams would likely replay for the 'Cup.
Rain that had been promised today did not eventuate but the breeze was blowing to the city end (2-3 goal breeze). The Irish captain David McElhone won the toss and kicked with it.
The USA Revolution came into Tuesday’s clash with France with a 2-1 record and were in need of a big win following a disappointing 37-point loss to Papua New Guinea in Round 3. Meanwhile, France was also looking to get in gear following rough defeats at the hands of Fiji, Ireland, and Nauru.
It was a mild day for footy at McAlister Oval, and the Revos came charging out of the gate right away, with ruckman Donald Lee dominating the hitouts and the Revos’ engine room working in sync to feed the ball outside. Ryan Gartright and Clyde Simpson were influential with several classy disposals, while Jeff Kraemer and Michael Linehan made the most of their time by applying pressure and attacking the footy.