The first two days of the IFA World Tour Finals 2023 in Curitiba (Brazil) were very exciting. In the two preliminary round groups of the women the decisions about the next round were made only in the last second. In the men’s competition, the matches on Saturday also promise a lot of excitement.
In the Claus J. Süffert group, TSV Dennach turned up the heat in the last two games. After a 2-3 opening defeat to SOGIPA, the European champions beat SG Novo Hamburgo (3-0) on Thursday night and also beat Union Nussbach (3-1) in the final group match. The Austrians were the second team to make it to the semifinals. Key to this were Thursday’s wins over Novo Hamburgo (3-0) and SOGIPA (3-0). Last year’s winners, SOGIPA, will not be able to defend their title. After the two defeats in the opener, the 3:1 against Novo Hamburgo was not enough to still qualify for the semifinals.
It was even more exciting in the Lothar G. Jaehnert group. Last year’s finalist Duque de Caxias managed to qualify for the semifinals at the last second. After the opening defeat against ASKÖ Seekirchen (1:3) the Brazilians celebrated a victory against Clube Mercês (3:0) and won with a strong performance also against TV Jahn Schneverdingen (3:0) and thus secured first place in the group. After winning against Mercês (3:0) and Seekirchen (3:0), Schneverdingen gave away the group victory with this defeat and became second. Seekirchen finished the group stage – despite winning the last match against Mercês – on third place.
So there will be a German-German semi-final between TSV Dennach and TV Jahn Schneverdingen on Saturday. The second semi-final will be played by Duque de Caxias and Union Nussbach. The third and fourth placed teams will play their semi-final matches in the Duque de Caxias Cup.
Decisions in the men’s preliminary groups will not be made until Saturday morning. Defending champion TSV Pfungstadt (Germany) won both matches against SOGIPA and Clube Mercês 3:0 each in the Jorge “Baica” Schör group and is in first place. The team will face Duque de Caxias on Saturday for the final match. The host won the opener against Mercês (3:1), but lost on Friday in the Brazilian duel against SOGIPA (2:3), who thus celebrated their first victory and still have the chance to pass Duque with a win in the last match against Mercês (1 point).
The situation is similarly exciting ahead of the last two games in the Victor Hugo Körbes group. The current leader with six points is SG Novo Hamburgo, who won against DSG UKJ Froschberg (3:1) and Union Tigers Vöcklabruck (3:0). Froschberg is in second place thanks to the set win, as they won their match against UFG Grieskirchen/Pötting the same way (3:2) as Vöcklabruck (3:0). They will now meet in a direct battle on Saturday and will decide the second semi-finalist of the group among themselves.
Within the framework of the World Tour Finals, the International Fistball Association is testing a new scoring system in the preliminary round groups. Whereas in previous matches the winner received two points, now every set won will be counted as a point. The aim is to increase the importance of each individual set.