Australia and Canada headline finals day at Worlds
Af Beau Greenway
The 2014 wheelchair rugby world champions will be determined today at the Arena Fyn in Odense, Denmark.
Australia and Canada have followed the exact same path they did during the 2012 London Paralympic Games beating Japan and the USA respectively to reach the gold medal match to be played at 4pm today.
Back then it was Australia that got the job done comfortably but it won’t be as easy this time around.
Canada were not at their best on Friday when they took on Australia in their final pool match but certainly lifted a gear in the semifinal against the USA.
Australia is the only team to have remained undefeated for the entire week and will start slight favourites to win their first IWRF World Championship.
Here are some factors which could make the difference between who wins the gold and silver medal.
Ryley Batt v Zak Madell: The matchup between arguably the two best players in the world right now will be a very interesting one. Madell was phenomenal against the USA in the semifinal down the stretch creating turnovers and scoring the majority of Canada’s goals. Ryley Batt in his own mind hasn’t has his best week out on court but he has still been playing ridiculously well. His combination of speed and strength is a sight to behold when he is at his damaging best.
Canada’s deeper lineup: One thing that Canada has in their favour is depth in their squad. They have used a more even spread of players for extended minutes during these important matches. With the exception pf Madell, who has played the majority of the minutes, the Canadian team should be fresh and ready to go.
Australia’s fitness to shine through: Australia has been widely regarded as the fittest team at this year’s championship and has being doing everything right off the court to ensure they have recovered in time for each match. While the starting lineup has played a lot of minutes, they have been well prepared and ready to go each morning which should be no different today.
The bronze medal match will be contested between the USA and Japan.
The Americans defeated Japan by 20 goals when they met in the pool matches but we be still feeling disappointed after their performance against Canada yesterday.
If Japan can get off to a better start today they will a chance at winning their first World Championship medal but the USA will start as the heavy favourites.
Denmark and Great Britain clash for the number one European ranking in the 5th and 6th place playoff.
Great Britain has received great support during the week both at the arena and on the social media pages for the event.
The Danish crowd will be out to support their team for one last time and will be hoping to see them end the event on a high note.
Sweden and New Zealand meet in the 7th and 8th place playoff in the first match of the morning.
Sweden won the match between the two nations earlier in the week and will need to beat New Zealand again to maintain their current ranking of world No.7.
New Zealand has already improved its ranking two places from 10th to 8th and will be looking to reverse the earlier result in the pool matches.
Places 9-12 were decided yesterday afternoon in the final crossover games with France and Finland moving ahead of Germany and Belgium.
9th place: France
10th place: Finland
11th place: Germany
12th place: Belgium
Please remember that you can watch all of the final day’s matches on the live stream.
Live commentary will once again available on Facebook and Twitter.
All of the photos from the medal matches and previous games can be viewed on Flickr.
Voting is also still open for the fans MVP award, if you are yet to vote you can do so here. Great Britain’s Ajaz Bhuta is still leading with more than 30 per cent of the total votes.