Poland, Greece, and the Netherlands are safely into the Last 16 of the 2022 World Cup of Pool at the Brentwood Centre, Essex live on Sky Sports Arena in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland. Matchroom.Live in territories without a broadcaster.
Poland met Hong Kong, China in one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament so far. The Poles led by Mieszko Fortunski and Wojciech Szewczyk led early doors 1-0 but the pairing of Lo Ho Sum and Robbie Capito was always going to provide a stern test and that it did as they hit back with the next three racks to lead 3-1. Mistakes were few and far between but it was one in the fifth rack that got Poland back in. Capito lost position off the break leaving Lo with a bank on the two which he made but by then they were already scrambling. With the three ball missed by Capito, it was Szewczyk who sealed the fifth to by one back. A classy break and run in the sixth from Poland made it three all.
You could feel the tension as both teams went hammer and tong for victory, Poland took the seventh but Szewczyk’s break left Fortunski hooked on the one much to Hong Kong, China’s fortune who levelled this time for 4-4.
Szewczyk and Fortunski come into the tournament much favoured and they seized their moment in the next rack. Lo looked to be playing Capito in to move in front but he over-egged his cue ball control on the six to scratch and allow Poland back in to lead once again. It was a costly error from Lo as Poland lapped up their opponent’s misfortune to close out a 7-4 victory and set up a tie with the USA tomorrow evening.
“It would mean the world to do well. Playing in teams is amazing. When you can feel this emotion together. When you win individually you get so many fans that cheer you on but when you play with a partner, you get to feel that together. It was an unexpected opportunity they were playing well up until that point. He really thought he was going the safe way. I told Mieszko, let’s take it, don’t let these guys back in,” said Szewczyk
Next up, Greece’s Alexander Kazakis and Nikos Ekonomopoulos took on Cyprus’ Anthony Brabin and Christos Meligaliotis. Cyprus, making their debut. Little separated them early on as the pair went toe-to-toe at two-all. Ekonomopoulos joined up with Kazakis for the first time in a few years and he snatched it with both hands to deliver key shots in huge moments to swing the tie in their favour after Cyprus had led 3-2.
After eight racks, Greece took back control at 5-3. There were no more real testing moments for Greece who showed their steel to take up a 7-4 win and meet Chinese Taipei next.
“We’re happy with our win. We played great. Nikos played some unbelievable shots which gave me some confidence. We played good. We’re both really happy. We have to find each other’s game, weaknesses, and advantages. With the shot clock, we needed to know in time what we were doing. Over the last two weeks, we’ve played together a lot to be ready for that. Team games are my favourites, you are not playing for yourself. You’re playing for your partner and your whole country.” – Kazakis.
The Netherlands met debutants Morocco in their opening match of the contest with Niels Feijen and Marc Bijsterbosch looking to banish memories of two final defeats for their country in 2013 and 2014. Morocco meanwhile led by My Cherif Zine El Abidine and Imad lagnaoui. Feijen and Bijsterbosch’s vast experience on the international stage was always bound to shine through at some point but the quick nature they rallied up a 4-0 lead came at some surprise. Both Feijen and Bijsterbosch barely putting a ball out of place to leave their counterparts with plenty to be done. An opportunity came knocking in the fifth though after Bijsterbosch scratched off the break. Morocco soon swept in to take their first rack in World Cup of Pool history.
In truth, the damage was done early on for Morocco who struggled to adapt to the TV environment. Iagnaoui did what Bijsterbosch had done just five minutes previous to hand the Netherlands their spot back at the table to go 5-1 up. Feijen’s break is a fine art and it continued to prove clutch as Morocco faltered. The Dutchmen wrapped up a 7-1 win to face defending champions Germany on Friday morning.
“It’s just one match at a time for us. I think we can do a lot of damage this year.” – Niels Feijen after win over Morocco
Action returns from 5pm tonight with Great Britain A meeting Great Britain B live on Sky Sports Arena at 5pm as well as live on DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland. See the full list of broadcasters here including Matchroom.Live if no broadcaster is available.