It’s been a while since Racketlon.net has seen a tournament report so we’re going to provide you with a light-hearted, slightly different breakdown of the first two rounds of the Fantasy World Cup.
Not originally on the 2020 FIR World Tour, the tournament has taken over the month of June with interesting scheduling meaning just one match has taken place each day. However, it has captured the hearts and minds of racketlon fans around the globe with almost 1,500 votes cast during the opening two rounds of action.
While absolutely no trophies, medals or prizes are up for grabs for the winners, the nations are fighting for something much more important – pride. There have been shocks, laughter, tears (probably not real tears) and drama along the way.
This is how we reached the quarter-finals.
Round 1: The Unseeded Stars
With the eight seeded nations receiving a bye through to Round 2, Round 1 pushed a number of Racketlon’s smaller nations into the spotlight.
Turkey made the headlines for its performance in Round 2 (which we’ll discuss later) but almost fell at the first hurdle! Turkey opened the entire competition against Russia, only edging past the Russian outfit by two votes to set up a clash with top seeds Austria.
The second match saw friends Leigh Sands and Patrick Moran turn into fierce rivals (for 24 hours at least) as Australia collided with the USA. Australia made the faster start but was pegged back by Moran and Katrin Maldre who used a superb combination of tactics and time zone management to help USA advance to the second round with 57% of the vote.
After two competitive contests, it seemed only right that we had a couple of hammerings. India pummelled Hungary with 90% of the vote before Poland delivered a heartbreaking 100%-0% win over Greece. The Greek team became the one and only team to not receive a single vote in the competition.
The fifth match of Round 1 was a topsy-turvy clash between Canada and Hong Kong. The latter struck early – and while Team Canada was literally still asleep – before Canada battled back to advance with 68% of the vote. This was a match that captured the hearts of fans and Hong Kong can feel hard done by.
The final three Round 1 matches were all comfortable wins. Latvia, Finland and Belgium beat Belarus, Afghanistan and the Netherlands respectively. A predictable end to the round but one that set up some fascinating Round 2 matches.
Round 2: Upsets Rock Early Contests
Let’s face it, nobody saw it coming. Absolutely nobody saw Turkey beating Austria in Round 2 of the Fantasy World Cup. Austria were the top seeds, boasting the unbeatable Christine Seehofer, and one of the largest social media fanbases in the racketlon community. Yet Turkey did it.
The minnows produced one of the biggest upsets in Racketlon history! Well… Fantasy Racketlon history anyway. Not only that, but they won with 82% of the vote. It wasn’t even close! The top seeds were out and the tournament was blown wide open.
Team USA saw Turkey’s upset and fancied a bit of the action themselves. Refusing to let Turkey have all the fun, Patrick and Katrin rallied the USA support to help them knock out the No.8 seeds, Germany. Tournament over before it even started for Cornelius Radermacher and Silke Altmann.
Two matches down and two seeds were already gone. The big racketlon nations were starting to wake up. No.5 seeds Denmark refused to follow the same path as Austria and Germany. A solid display saw them book a place in the quarter-finals with Switzerland quickly following with a win over Poland.
One of the matches of the round was a back-and-forth clash between Great Britain and Canada. Actual real-life, non-fantasy World Cup champions, Great Britain, took the early lead before Canada roared back to take control. Time zone trickery played a role again as GB enjoyed a flurry of votes in the final hours while Team Canada was sound asleep. A tactical masterstroke.
Sweden rolled past Latvia in a comfortable style before arguably the best match of the entire tournament. You knew it was going to be a fierce match between the Czech Republic and Finland when both nation’s official federation Facebook accounts shared the poll within seconds of it going live.
We were treated to a gem of a match. Both teams were neck-and-neck for the full 24 hours before the Czech team was able to pull ahead in the dying minutes to secure a 52%-48% win. One for the history books this clash.
France were the final team to enter the tournament and did so in style. An extremely passionate social media community dived fully behind France as they crushed neighbours Belgium to become the last team into the quarter-finals.
5 Fun Facts
- Turkey had almost 12 times more votes in its Round 2 match against Austria than in Round 1 again Russia.
- Hong Kong were the most unlucky team in the tournament. The number of votes they received in the first round would have been enough to beat every single other team in Round 1.
- Greece were the only team not to receive a vote in the competition. You lot are cruel.
- Czech Republic against Finland was not only the closest match, but it was also the match that received the highest combined number of votes.
- Only three real-life World Cup-winning Nations are left in the competition: Denmark, Great Britain and Sweden.
Round 1 Results
Turkey beat Russia – 54%-46%
USA beat Australia – 57%-43%
India beat Hungary – 90%-10%
Poland beat Greece – 100%-0%
Canada beat Hong Kong – 67%-33%
Latvia beat Belarus – 81%-19%
Finland beat Afghanistan – 94%-6%
Belgium beat Netherlands – 74%-26%
Round 2 Results
Turkey beat Austria – 82%-18%
USA beat Germany – 53%-47%
Denmark beat India – 68%-32%
Switzerland beat Poland – 67%-33%
Great Britain beat Canada – 57%-43%
Sweden beat Latvia – 75-25%
Czech Republic beat Finland – 52%-48%
France beat Belgium – 84%-16%
Fantasy World Cup Quarter-Final Line-Up
Turkey vs. USA
 Denmark vs. Switzerland 
 Great Britain vs. Sweden 
 Czech Republic vs. France 
Head to Racketlon’s Facebook page to cast your vote on every match to eventual crown your Fantasy World Cup champion!
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer