World Cup Recap
Just over a month ago quidditch players from around the world gathered in Frankfurt, Germany, to compete in the bi-annual IQA World Cup. A record setting 21 teams from all around the world took part in this year’s event. What started as a boring and predictable tournament was overshadowed by a controversial final game that changed the world of quidditch.
Day one turned out like many people had anticipated. Teams were placed into their respective groups based on their world rankings in a way that created skill gaps between competitors. As a result, after all the group matches were played, the top teams received seeds #1-5, and second tier teams received seeds #6-10. Austria was the lucky recipient of seed #11, which ensured they got the last bye spot and did not need to participate in a play in game.
The biggest surprise of the day came from the Canadian team which took the top seed going into day two. The United States was expected to be the #1 seed, however, despite maximizing the point differential, they failed to catch the snitch against Germany. Canada had a 100% snitch catch rate and were given the tie break and the higher seed.
Rankings after day one:
- 1. Canada
- 2. United States
- 3. United Kingdom
- 4. France
- 5. Australia
- 6. Turkey
- 7. Belgium
- 8. Mexico
- 9. Norway
- 10. Italy
- 11. Austria
- 12. Germany
- 13. Slovakia
- 14. Slovenia
- 15. Catalonia
- 16. Spain
- 17. Netherlands
- 18. Poland
- 19. Ireland
- 20. Brazil
- 21. South Korea
Day two saw bracket competition. There were no real surprises through the first two rounds as the top eight teams made it to the quarter-finals. France became the first high seed casualty as they ended up on the wrong side of a snitch grab against Australia. United Kingdom, United States, and Canada composed the other teams going through to the top four.
The semifinals saw the United States beat the United Kingdom by a comfortable margin of 140-40. In the other match, Australia managed to pull the snitch against Canada when it mattered to secure a place in the final with a score of 80-40.
The third place game turned out to be one of the longest of the entire World Cup. The snitch runner was only caught after the 3rd handicap, confined to the centerpoint of the pitch with a single arm. The Canadiens prolonged the game as much as they could, but the United Kingdom slowly pulled away by focusing on scoring once the snitch hit the pitch until they were far out of range. Team Canada showed great resiliency as they forced UK to pull the snitch, but the point margin became insurmountable. Final score was 190-60 in favor of the United Kingdom.
The World Cup Final will be a game that the quidditch community will remember for a long time. The Americans came into the tournament as the clear favorites. In the previous two World Cups they not only won, but they dominated the competition. No goals were scored against them in both finals. They came to Frankfurt to repeat their success for the third time.
However, as the game started, it quickly became clear that the Australians were ready to end the streak for the Americans. The game was quick and physical with both teams scoring several times on fast counter attacks. Bludger control ended up slightly in favor of the US, but Australia managed to keep it for a significant amount of time as well. Overall both teams were clearly fairly even and the game never got out of snitch range.
Highlight of the tournament came from the US beater Michael Duquette as towards the end of the game he managed to single handedly take out three Australian players and give a clear shot at the snitch for the American seeker. The snitch was pulled a few moments later, but was waived off. This close and controversial call gave hope to Australia.
Both teams kept scoring goals and keeping up with each other as the snitch kept roaming the pitch. Soon team Australia pulled the snitch themselves. The catch was called good and for the first time a non-American team became the champions of the world.
Massive congratulations to the Australia Dropbears for playing a fantastic tournament and winning a match that will long live in the quidditch lore. They are the quidditch champions of the world for the next two years.
‘I’ve got the snitch!’ he shouted, waving it above his head, and the game ended in complete confusion.
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone