Day 13…unlucky for some, but not for us as luck would have it. Today was our final pool match of any sort, with our second and final cross-over pool (quarter-final pool) match being played this afternoon.
Today started off slightly more leisurely than some, with a “late” 9:00am breakfast, thanks to our later (4:00pm) match giving us a later training time. We once again trained at the same venue as yesterday, which is nice and close to our hotel. Not having the first training today meant we got to watch the tail end of the training before us, which was the Germans in today’s case. They ran some interesting drills I hadn’t seen before, in particular a contested run-in drill, so hopefully that filters its way through to Australia sometime soon. Once we got our turn on court, we focused, as usual, on contested shooting. We also ran through some of the offensive tactics we expected Hong Kong to use in the match later that afternoon, and how to defend against them. After training, we headed back to the hotel for lunch and a team meeting, where we again looked over what we expected from Hong Kong.
Arriving at the stadium for this afternoon’s match was, as usual, quite early. However, as we were nt the first game, we were able to watch the previous match, which was Brazil and Poland. Being able to watch another match before ours is a good way to stay relaxed, and not get too uptight about our own upcoming match. The game today was another big one for us, as a win would give us a theoretically easier “semi-final” match-up. We managed to come away with the all important win, beating Hong Kong 28-19. We started quickly, scoring the first three goals, and steadily pulled further away throughout the match. This result, as well as the results of other matches, means we now play the Czech Republic tomorrow, with the winner going into the 9-10 playoff in a few days time. We have a rest day between our “semi final” and out “final”.
Following our match, we headed off to the other hotel for dinner. We arrived just in time to watch the China-Germany golden goal, which we gatecrashed Portugal’s dining room for (they had a projector set up). After we had eaten, we settled back into Portugal’s dining room to watch Chinese Taipei take on Belgium, which was a great game to watch, and being able to watch it with Portugal shows the camaraderie between teams off the court.
Our match tomorrow is at 6:00pm local time, which is 3:30am SA time. As always, all the match info is available on the National Teams page, which will also include live streams once we have them. For everything else, remember to keep checking the Facebook page to keep up to date.