As day five here in Heidelberg has concluded, we officially know the top four teams in each division.
The women’s division will feature semi-final matchups between Canada and Japan and the USA and Colombia. Both games are rematches of pool play in which Japan beat the Canadians on universe point and the Americans took down the Colombians 15-10.
In the mixed division, Canada unfortunately fell to Singapore in the quarterfinals. This means the USA will take on Singapore on one side of the bracket, with the other featuring Japan and Latvia.
The men’s division saw some exciting quarterfinals, with two of the four games going to universe point. Canada and Italy both got away with close wins but find themselves in semis nonetheless. Canada will face Japan tomorrow as the USA takes on Italy in a rematch of the 2018 final.
I was so lucky to get to commentate the Canada v Colombia women’s game in the last round of power pools today. This game was my favourite of the entire tournament so far because of the incredible female athletes going all out for the disc all over the pitch. These women inspire me to be a better athlete and player in the way they compete, and never gave up on any shot. Manuela Cardenas was all over the field with six goals and four assists in the game, including a shoulder high layout off a deep cut and several massive skies in the endzone. Maria Santos of Colombia had an unbelievable falling backwards catch and managed to keep her feet in bounds. The Canadians were all over the field as well with huge layout blocks from Alyssa Mason, Laura Kinoshita laying out to retain possession and then the best play of the tournament yet—Brittney Dos Santos tracking down a throw that she had no business getting to with a monster layout for the score. It was an incredible game and a pleasure to get to commentate such a fantastic show.
In those universe point games in the men’s division, the passion from the players and coaches on the field was palpable. Colombia trailed Canada by two points for the majority of their game. But when it came down to the wire, you could see how badly they wanted it. Their sideline support was on fire as fans started to gather around the pitch hoping to see a top seed fall. Colombia brought the game to universe point but Canada had a clean hold for the win. The Colombians brought a flare to the game and the passion for the game was written all over their faces.
In the other side of the bracket, the reigning silver medallist, Italy, went down to Great Britain 5-8 at halftime. In the second, they had to come firing and absolutely delivered. Italy turned the tide on the game to take the lead 13-10. Great Britain turned around with some passion of their own and delivered three unanswered points to tie the game at 13s and force universe point. Italy finished strong to close it out as they stormed the field. For both the teams who won and lost those games today, you could see how much this tournament means to them. For so many players, playing u24s is the only time they will suit up for their country and it means the world to represent your country at worlds.
After the intense quarter between Italy and Great Britain, one of the players on GB collapsed to the ground defeated. From the sideline, you could see the player crying as the Italians stormed the field to celebrate their victory. One of the Italian players noticed this as well and pulled up. Instead of celebrating with his teammates, the Italian went to the Great Britain player and bent down to comfort him. He spent a good amount of time consoling the player instead of celebrating. It was a special moment after such an intense game, and one that is another beautiful example of the respect we hold for our opponents in this game.
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