As my playing was so evidently not up to scratch, I focussed instead on making notes of our games. I only took photos of one game (which I sat out of) though, and the quality is pretty poor. Sorry.
England 8 – Italy 7
Our pre-match discussions had marked Italy out as one of the teams we should beat. Having said that, it was a very close (and low-scoring) game. From the very start we rotated players frequently, whereas they seemed to leave a core of 3-6 players on court for long stretches. At change-overs, people commented that they had an aggressive style. Not dirty, just aggressive. Matt and Chris showed good link-up play, with the former scoring most of our goals. Alex’s fast and uncompromising style helped us squeeze the win. Many of the goals we conceded were from defensive errors, particularly leaving an open goal. With only a one-goal lead, the last few minutes were very nervy.
Germany 11 – England 9
We started with a strong line-up, and Chris started the scoring the opener and our sustained pressure bagging us a surprise 4-0 lead in the opening minutes. However, Germany had a Polosynthese-shaped trump card and played it to maximum effect just when they needed it. Mo and David scored nine of Germany’s eleven goals. Enough said. Having said that, the battle was very even. I think to beat ‘sythese you have to control their – shots and score a lot (because you are going to concede a lot!) and we did do that. We led by one for most of the game, but they ended stronger. Towards the end, Matt and Yorgo were stringing together some lovely passes, but they weren’t resulting in enough goals. There was the sense that Germany had more in reserve. A confident show, and everyone was glad to play them when the other Toros guy (not Eddy – sorry I don’t know his name, obviously needs his own heckle) wasn’t in town.
England 13 – Benelux 7
As with Italy, we fancied our chances against Benelux. They definitely improved throughout the tournament though, and played incredibly to draw to London. It was a pretty unremarkable game, though, despite some argy-bargy midway through between Mirek and another guy. It was a good chance to let some of us weaker players out, but unfortunately I still couldn’t get into the swing of things, despite having a good 30 mins on court beforehand to warm up.
Spain 12 – England 10
Being one of the more fearsome teams, El-Capichan elected to focus on the stronger players, and there followed a close and physical game. Alex and Matt were on fire, scoring several long-range slapshots each. Our persistent weakness, and downfall, proved to be goal-tending. With three strong players on the court, chasing goals, all too often the goal was left uncovered, and several of Spain’s goals were open-net sitters. I think Bench Minor really encourages teams with a perma-goalie and rotating synchronised pairs. By the end of this game, our reliance on Matt is becoming clear. With 16 goals, he is the highest scorer of the tournament, taking just over 50% of our whole team’s tally.
Karlsruhe 7 – England 7
I don’t remember much of this one, nor did I take many notes. Suffice to say the wooden spoon winners put up more of a fight than we anticipated.
Switzerland 13 – England 9
Again, not many notes for this one. I was focusing on taking photos and drinking the beer before it ran out. It was becoming more evident that Matt and Alex were our primary players, especially in terms of goals-scored, and we didn’t have the depth of ‘B’ players to back them up.
France 13 – England 7
Our only real drubbing. The eventual champions racked up a 4-0 lead quickly, but resorted to goalie-hacking to get a couple of them. They were clearly taking it very seriously. Our goalie weakness was ever-evident, although I seem to remember Woody making several strong saves, and all-in-all, the French team was just a lot stronger than ours. We put up a valiant fight, though, and who knows, if England wasn’t split between London and (rest of) England the result would have been closer.
London 15 – England 12
This was always going to be a grudge match, and maybe Karlsruhe banked on the added atmosphere to warm up for the final, but in addition to local rivalries the game had the more serious role of sorting 5th and 6th place. We again went down by 5-0 in the opening minutes, with a weaker line-up, but from then on we never really looked like we were going to draw level. London stepped up their game for this, and seemed to gel better than previously. We did the opposite. Fair play.