The first full day of the European Beach Ultimate Championships is in the book, and the outlook of each division is starting to come into focus in some divisions as the best teams asserted their authority today and pulled away from the pack. In others, things are still a bit murky after teams getting close wins over each other. Maya, the mixed division is the biggest and currently the most intriguing – what stood out to you there?
Mixed splits into three new pools
As you highlighted in yesterday’s summary, the mixed division is going to be a fight to the finish. This morning teams played the last of their initial pool games before an upper pool and two lower pools were created. Russia seem to be the strongest contenders from this division at the moment, topping the upper pool as the only unbeaten team left after wins over Portugal and Germany today. Those two teams, along with Great Britain and France, have one win and one loss in the upper pools and Sweden are struggling so far. The games tomorrow could show us who’s most likely to advance to the semis and finals.
Opportunities for medal spots aren’t over for teams in the lower pools however. Pre-quarters and quarterfinals are still on the cards. Ukraine, Italy and Spain are unbeaten in one lower pool but Ukraine play both other teams tomorrow. In the other, Poland and Austria are unbeaten and in prime position for the pre-quarters ahead of their game against each other tomorrow afternoon.
Sean, there are a few unbeaten men’s teams. What is there to look out for tomorrow in that division?
Three unbeaten as we edge towards quarters
Great Britain came into this tournament the favourites and have so far lived up to that tag. They struggled at points against Spain but came through by a couple of points in the end, and handled business against Portugal comfortably. They’ll play third-place Sweden tomorrow in what will probably be their toughest remaining game ahead of the quarters. Poland upset Spain and Sweden to put themselves in a great position to avoid the pre-quarters, but Spain’s top three hopes are not yet over as they still have to play the Swedes.
In the other pool, Germany are top but that position doesn’t reflect how tight their day was. Two wins over Ukraine and Ireland, both on universe point, mean their lead could be seen as slightly precarious ahead of a contest against a Russian team that beat Ireland much more convincingly. Russia will start the day against third-place Denmark, while the Ireland vs Italy game could well decide who finishes in the top three – if Ireland win, their game against Denmark essentially becomes a play-in, with the loser heading to pre-quarters. All to play for tomorrow.
The women’s division looked top-heavy yesterday. What happened today Maya?
Top women’s teams take hefty wins
As the women continued their round robin today, some of the top teams started to make their mark. The division of seven teams is seemingly split into two levels of play, with Denmark, Spain and Russia taking the lead. Denmark beat Currier Island 13-3 and Latvia 12-4. Spain beat GBR 11-1 and Russia won against Currier Island 13-2. Denmark and Spain are the only two unbeaten teams and will play first thing tomorrow morning.
GB v Switzerland was a game worth watching. The British were winning 8-5 in a game to 9 when Switzerland reeled in 3 points, taking the game to universe point. Tiffany Anderson, the game’s top goal scorer, snatched the win for GB, assisted by a clean backhand roll curve from Ava Grossman.
Latvia play Switzerland tomorrow in a game that could decide the last semi-finalist – if Switzerland win, Great Britain will be in a great position to take fourth. If Latvia win, their game against Great Britain on Thursday will effectively be a quarter-final.
Looking at the masters’ divisions, how was the mixed master’s today Sean?
Favourites emerging ahead of second pool stage
France are probably the favourites here but aren’t the only unbeaten team in their pool. They play Finland tomorrow for the right to the top spot ahead of the upper pool. Finland also have to play Great Britain in a game that could end up being important – if Finland lose to France and GB beat the Currier Islands, both teams will have three wins and one loss, making it a winner-takes-second game.
In the other pool, Germany have beaten their main competitors while Spain have also beaten the teams around them. They look very likely to take spots in the upper pool. Teams carry their results through from the first pool into the second stage, so we’ll see how that shakes out.
Round robin approaching conclusion
Sticking with masters, the women’s masters continued their round robin today. The top two will get byes to the semis while the next four teams will play pre-semis (basically quarterfinals) to see who meets them. Spain and Sweden are in those top spots at the moment, with both scoring universe point wins over Great Britain. Sweden triumphed 8-7 in the match between them, while GB are smarting from letting two winnable games slip through their fingers. GB play the bottom two teams tomorrow, Germany and Currier Islands, but look as though they’ll probably have to settle for third. The semi-finals will be their first opportunity for revenge – they’ll be hoping to avenge both losses since that will lead them to the title.
Maya, how did their male counterparts do today?
Division finely balanced after day’s play
Pool B is particularly interesting as there are currently no top contenders. Czech Republic looked strong, having beaten Spain but were beaten by Germany. Russia beat Germany but were then beaten by Spain. Spain and Germany as well as Russia and Czech Republic are set to play each other tomorrow morning. After tomorrow, we will have a much better idea about who is likely to advance to the top positions. Belgium are in prime position to take the final pre-quarter spot in fifth after beating Switzerland today.
Pool A, on the other hand, is pretty clear cut. Sweden, Great Britain and France are all unbeaten so far and will face each other over the next two days, so it will be great to see who comes out on top. Ireland and the Netherlands are likely to finish fourth and fifth and will play to see who gets the better pre-quarter matchup.
The men’s grandmasters division seems to have one big favourite, doesn’t it Sean?
Great Britain exert control over division
GB played second-place Germany this morning and won 13-6. They seem to be head and shoulders ahead of everyone else in the division at this point, conceding 12 points to their 39 scored in three games. Germany beat Sweden on universe point to secure second, while Finland and France also look to be in with a shout of getting on the podium ahead of a game against each other tomorrow. This division may end up being a procession to gold for GB, though.
Finishing with the most distinguished division, how did the great grand master men do Maya?
Austria and the Netherlands play their way to the top spots
As it stands, Austria and the Netherlands seem to be breaking away from the pack in this division. Austria’s Lackerbauer scored six points in this morning’s 13-5 win against Great Britain. The Netherlands’ incredible stamina enabled them to take five consecutive points from France after equalising at 7-7, finishing the game at 12-5. These teams are set to go head to head at 2:20pm tomorrow in a game that will definitely be worth a watch.
Sweden’s great grand master team is also looking strong. They too have won all three of their games so far, albeit by closer margins, but their potential to cause an upset is not yet out of the question. It seems Sweden could pose a threat to these top teams in the latter stages of the tournament. This division goes straight to semi-finals after a round robin, with Germany currently best placed for the fourth semi spot.
That’s all for today, beach Ultimate fans! Keep your eyes on the stream and on live.ebuc2019.org for more updates as the week progresses!