The Eighth Man

The Eighth Man’s IQA World Cup Day One Live Blog

Credit: Miguel Esparza

Welcome to The Eighth Man’s live coverage of the 2018 IQA World Cup. Our staff will be right alongside you throughout the next two days, whether you are keeping up with the official livestream and are just looking for some context for the events or need regular updates beyond the official scores doc as you go about your weekend, we’re here for you. We hope you enjoy!

Joshua Mansfield, 5:50 pm Looks like Rags has left us, and Kevin is asleep after staying up all night (Western Time) to catch the US/Australia game. Thanks to everyone who stuck around with us here! Tune in tomorrow for us to take you through bracket play!

Tad Walters, 5:43 pm After being treated to a fantastic game today I think we’re going to be disappointed tomorrow with Australia and US probably not being the gold medal game based on seeding

Ethan Sturm, 5:43 pm I think Tyler Trudeau deserves a mention for today. One of the humblest top players in our sport, not even the top keeper on his own college team alongside David Fox, he’s always kept his head down, always put in the work, and has established quite a resume: Four US Quidditch Cup Final Fours (on three different teams), Two MLQ Championships and One US Quidditch Cup title. Today, a player who was egregiously left off Team USA two years ago, who is his own harshest critic, got to be America’s hero.

Joshua Mansfield, 5:42 pm My main tournament thought is that international parity finally seems to be here. Germany AND Belgium upsetting their Norway and France matches and Australia almost upsetting the US again are great for the tournament and sport as a whole.
On a strictly USA-oriented front, the Australia result should come as a huge wake-up call for everyone on the team. It’s a good thing the tournament format gave us a close game Day 1 so that adjustments can be made before bracket play.

Sean Pagoada, 5:40 pm I’m very excited for what Day 2 will bring. Setting up to be the most exciting tournament ever at the moment. USA!

Joshua Mansfield, 5:38 pm Due to commentator availability, we’re going to be shutting this live blog down a little early. Any closing thoughts from anybody? Looks like relevant games are mostly over for the day, though Mexico/Slovakia and Italy/Netherlands will be worth keeping an eye on. Looks like Iceland has already forfeited their final game to Spain.

Joshua Mansfield, 5:33 pm Canada wins 120*-80! Huge pull for America’s hat. We talk about whether or not the Canadian game has stagnated, but it looks like they’re at least training their female seekers.

Joshua Mansfield, 5:31 pm Canada’s seeker (#11, don’t know her name) just appeared to pull, but it looks like the snitch pulled the tail out of her hand? Unsure of what the call will be.

Joshua Mansfield, 5:29 pm Canada/Norway being streamed on Quidditch Canada’s home page right now. Game is in range, SOP.

Ethan Sturm, 5:26 pm The SOS tiebreaker is so weird I’m not sure if anyone can manipulate anything, due to it being SOS of tournament points not wins.

Joshua Mansfield, 5:25 pm Germany’s goal putting them up 40 instead of 30 against Norway going to be a HUGE factor for them in how the tournament tiebreakers work out.

Joshua Mansfield, 5:24 pm Ethan, you beat me to it. Right now it looks like Germany/UK will be the 1/2 seeds, then Belgium and USA taking 3/4 with Australia and France going 5/6. 7-10 will likely be a tossup between Canada/Norway, Turkey, Norway, Spain, and Italy, barring any crazy upsets. Loser of Canada Norway will be a rough round of 16 game for whatever high-seeded team gets them.

Ethan Sturm, 5:20 pm Courtesy of James Hosford, former gameplay member alongside Kevin and I, the US will be at best the three seed as long as UK and Germany win out out-of-range. Australia, as one of the top 3-1s, is looking to fall in the 5-7 seed range. A quarterfinal matchup, and thus one of these teams not being on the podium, is a very real possibility and a massive red mark on this format.

Joshua Mansfield, 5:11 pm Looks like Canada/Norway was on a delay but is starting now. 20-20 at the moment, not sure how far along.

Joshua Mansfield, 5:00 pm Shooters. Gotta. Shoot.

Tad Walters, 5:00 pm Also dare I say it, we need more shooters. I was surprised by the lack of mid range shots when we started getting stuffed in the paint.

Tad Walters, 4:59 pm That’s fair! I wouldn’t have had him ball carrying though I would have had him cutting, which he’s shown he can do well. I think having the size that close to the hoops would have given us a few more goals instead of getting stuffed.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:58 pm Personally, I don’t think Parker would’ve been a help. He’s still a little fresh, and games like last season’s Warriors blowout of Mizzou shows that he still struggles to stay calm under pressure. The US/Australia game was ALL about staying calm under pressure.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:56 pm So Switzerland wins 250*-20. Interesting to see Iceland as one of the weaker new teams out here, despite being one of the few to have played at an international tournament together (Odense Games in October).

Tad Walters, 4:56 pm I would have really enjoyed more size on our side. Jacob Parker would have been good for this game.
Or as I like to call him, Baby Callum.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:53 pm Agreed with Nasta. His playstyle makes him so so so hard to play the first time you meet him, and every beater at this tournament would be playing him for the first time.

Tad Walters, 4:52 pm I was thinking the same. Australia was good enough at not getting pressed that I think his defensive nature wouldn’t have mattered much on pressing, but he would have been a very different look than the other beaters
Also we really lacked 1v1 skills on defense at beater. It was just people throwing, there was no internal chess match it seems, so I think Nasta would have been a little OP in a game like that where players are just throwing constantly.
Kevin Oelze, 4:51 pm I would have liked to see Nasta, personality clashes with the coaching aside. He just would have shown a completely different beating style.

Tad Walters, 4:50 pm After seeing the Australian team, what snubbed players do you especially wish we’re on the team now? Whose skillset would have helped the most?

Joshua Mansfield, 4:50 pm So looking at Groups E&F, where Switzerland and Iceland fall, we knew at least one new team was coming out 2-2, and that looks like it’ll be Malaysia assuming they lose to Norway. We could certainly see them sneaking into bracket with that record if things fall their way.

Tad Walters, 4:45 pm We call that a bookends in ultimate. Get the D then score on the other side.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:43 pm SWISS CHASER #12 TAKING IT POST TO POST LET’S GO!!! What a great play by her.

Tad Walters, 4:41 pm And I don’t think Tyler/Vicky will do much better honestly. If it was mcgonagle Sanford or Walker Moreno I’d be more inclined.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:41 pm Yeah, I feel like Cole and Hallie really came out flat in that game. A lot of missed beats from Cole in his first set.

Raghu Achkola, 4:41 pm Cole/Hallie looked the least effective, but idk how much of that is them being the pair beating while our chasers were just swamped . Every other beater pair has beat with each other before.

Tad Walters, 4:39 pm Who was the least effective beater set? Cole and Hallie?

Ethan Sturm, 4:39 pm Do we really need more help in SOP beating. It seems like Yada made a conscious decision to keep Travis and Monroe together in snitch-on-pitch. I feel like Havlin and Johnson are more than primed for more of a shot.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:38 pm Yeah the 13 gender roster maximum rule is really what’s holding us back most in roster changes. I would maybe switch Sam for Josh Andrews. It seems like Sam didn’t play much outside of brooms up that game.

Tad Walters, 4:37 pm Who do we take out? My only change would be Sanford for Mercedes. I just feel like a 5th non male chaser is more useful than a 4th nonmale beater who doesn’t have a partner on roster to pair with.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:37 pm Tad, with regards to your question, I think we keep things relatively similar. My biggest change would be to put in Andrews to give us more diverse options in the seeker game, and potentially Tyler Walker to help us in the SOP beater game.

Tad Walters, 4:35 pm I got Norway on that one.

Tad Walters, 4:34 pm Also, do we change up the roster for day 2? If so who do we change?

Joshua Mansfield, 4:34 pm This game is a lot of fun, but the real tragedy is all the livestream viewers missing out on the much more relevant Canada vs. Norway on the other pitch.

Ethan Sturm, 4:33 pm Czech showed us a similar level of competence in their first. I think these European players, due to geographic proximity, get large amounts of high-level exposure quickly.

Tad Walters, 4:31 pm I was thinking the same thing, Josh. 5 minutes in they’re already up 70.
Joshua Mansfield, 4:30 pm Any thoughts on this Switzerland/Iceland game? Seems like a pretty standard game between two new teams, but I’m surprised to see Switzerland doing so well as this is their first international tournament as a country.

Tad Walters, 4:25 pm Those Australians were like a wall. Must be all that rugby and eucalyptus.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:20 pm Honestly I think the new players is what gave us the hardest time. Our players know how Marty, Harry, Trudeau, Augie, etc. are going to tackle because they’ve been up against it numerous times at home. These Australians were just a new look in the tackling game that our players weren’t ready for. You saw the adjustment come after the 40-0 run when we started passing around a lot more and stopped running straight into contact. Australia definitely proved they have the better chaser D. Americans still winning the passing game, they just have to use it more on offense.

Kevin Oelze, 4:20 pm Honestly, I think how effective they’ve been so far maybe got in their head. They assumed they were good enough to drive through anyone here. They aren’t.

Tad Walters, 4:19 pm Honestly, as hard as a pill as it is to swallow, we were getting killed 1v1 in the paint. Their chasers/keepers we’re making great 1v1 turnover creating tackles in the keeper zone. The way I see it, Australia is the gold standard for chaser defense.

Ethan Sturm, 4:19 pm So what went wrong offensively, seeing gang tackling isn’t new for this team, both Texas and Boston have been using it for years?

Tad Walters, 4:17 pm I agree Kevin. I think Australia played just about as well as they could, and the US obviously didn’t. If we can work on converting our no bludger drives we win this game out of range.

Kevin Oelze, 4:15 pm I thought this was huge for the US. Not that they won, but that they got pushed so hard. Any ego issues they may have got absolutely shut down in this game. Also, getting to see how badly their tactics were working against Australia (when Australian tactics were effective against the US in this game) gives us time to adjust and tinker. I think this game happening ends up being a huge advantage for the US.

Also absolute shout out to Australia for giving the US everything they could handle and more.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:10 pm Yeah in an alternate universe that catch got carded and Australia wins that game by 40.

Kevin Oelze, 4:10 pm My only worry with Trudeau was he had a yellow already and could easily get a seeker red which would be game over.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:09 pm Overall, this game proved that international quidditch is still super interesting. Each team put their best lineups out there, no excuses like US had in 2016. Tomorrow’s bracket is going to be a lot of fun.

Tad Walters, 4:08 pm Joshua, completely agree. The fact we struggled so often so early to convert those, and still weren’t trying to drive and dish was not adapting to the game.

Raghu Achkola, 4:07 pm You can train all you want with gang tackling and concerted defense. There are a few players that if they have a coordinated chasing corps with them, just cannot be stopped. US fans saw that with Basem Ashkar, the world is seeing it now with Callum Mayling.

Tad Walters, 4:07 pm: I disagree. I think we get that with Trudeau at keeper and honestly Trudeau uses his size with more technique at seeker than Andrews does. If it’s my call I keep Andrews off roster all weekend.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:07 pm: US needs to get their no bludger chemistry down better. We look stunned at the beginning that their chasers could take us down in the open field.

Sean Pagoada, 4:06 pm: I think for Day 2, it would help to have some size and speed, namely Andrews.

Tad Walters, 4:05 pm: Hard to say good game, but I really think we have a higher ceiling than Australia does moving on to day 2. I’m fairly happy with the in game decisions, minus Augie playing beater.

Joshua Mansfield, 4:05 pm: Shout out to this live chat for backseat coaching that great Trudeau catch. This auxiliary coaching staff we have built here is working well.

Kevin Oelze, 4:03 pm: Tyler Trudeau, American Hero. Takes the pull to win 90*-60. I hate quidditch snitch rules. Any catch can be called off or on. So, any relevant outcome from this game? I don’t think the US played particularly well, but they managed to win.

Tad Walters, 4:02 pm: Osborne NEEDS to be called for charging. Trudeau the savior of the USA

Joshua Mansfield, 3:59 pm: The most common snitch move in the game right now is the Peterson Velcro ripping off at the slightest movement.

Sean Pagoada, 3:57 pm: Good D from Heald.

Kevin Oelze, 3:55 pm: I want to see the US looking to make two passes to score. Draw pressure with the first, draw the block with the second person, score on the open hoop with the third person. US is finally starting to move the ball a bit better. 50-40 Australia.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:55 pm: Great muscling by Langlinais, but we HAVE to get back on defense. That response was unforgivable.

Raghu Achkola, 3:53 pm: Agreed. I think its because we’ve seen solo players try to charge through an entire defense – in a world where defenses can actually gang tackle, an entire coordinated team surging forward on zero bludgers is ABSOLUTELY necessary. Look at Australia’s zero bludger drives vs. US no bludger drives. It’s night and day.

Kevin Oelze, 3:51 pm: US chasers are looking to drive and score. They should be looking to drive to apply pressure and kick it to open wings.

Raghu Achkola, 3:49 pm: The zero bludger drive is no longer a guaranteed goal – and thats a GOOD thing for quidditch.

Tad Walters, 3:49 pm: Callum Mayling is my MVP vote right now.

Sean Pagoada, 3:48 pm: Give it to the fast guys! Australia is stronger than they are fast.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:47 pm: America being held tightly by Australia’s chaser D. Terrible conversion rate on 0 bludger drives right now. That’s 4 or 5 we haven’t scored on.

Kevin Oelze, 3:46 pm: Can’t disagree with this:

Joshua Mansfield, 3:45 pm:
No call on that. Harry got really lucky, I think it should’ve been a card, even if an unlucky one.
Tad Walters, 3:44 pm: Guys I don’t want this game to end, can we just replay this for the rest of the day.

Kevin Oelze, 3:43 pm: I really love Archibald playing towards agility rather than strength. We’re losing in the physicality game by trying to outmuscle. 40-20 Australia.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:42 pm: US has held bludger control the majority of this game and yet is down 40-0. Wild results so far.

Tad Walters, 3:41 pm: We’re struggling to establish control and play the half court, which is going to be our bread and butter here. We can’t play transition game with Australia

Kevin Oelze, 3:40 pm: This seems like a good time to reveal that I’ve been considering moving to Sydney.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:39 pm: It’s been two years and the US still hasn’t learned how to tackling Mayling. Timeout needs to come now for the US.

Tad Walters, 3:39 pm: These missed shots are killing the US right now. Australia just sitting back and playing their game.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:37 pm: US definitely letting their nerves get to them early. They’re being stopped by chasers alone here on both drives. These missed shots are killing the US right now. Australia just sitting back and playing their game

Raghu Achukola, 3:35 pm: This is the Cavalry starting line + Hallie Pace chemistry should not have been an issue.

Kevin Oelze: 3:34 pm: US coming out sloppy. Just airmailed an easy goal.

Raghu Achukola, 3:34 pm: Impressive defense from Australia. Seeing them in the exhibition match with no tackling and them now is like night and day.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:33 pm: Great D by Australia. This looks like it’ll be a good game.

Kevin Oelze, 3:31 pm: To our Australian readers, I’m not. USA! USA!

Joshua Mansfield, 3:31 pm: It’ll be so nice to be able to call out names in this live blog finally. To our Australian readers, I’m sorry.

Raghu Achukola, 3:31 pm: It’s a high of 101 today in Austin, TX.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:30 pm: I’m sure the all-Texan lineup is laughing at how hot the announcers are saying it is in Florence. Any “feels like” below 100 will feel like winter for these players.

Kevin Oelze, 3:27 pm: Cameron in the comments: I think there’s a very real chance Yada is saving their legs for Day 2, especially some of the higher energy players like Andrews and Walker. That being said, I’d rate Walker as probably their worst male beater, so that doesn’t actually bother me.

Kevin Oelze, 3:24 pm: As either coach, I’m showing literally NOTHING in this match. I’m saving it all for the finals. One thing I don’t think is nearly appreciated enough, especially out of the US, is just how perfect Augie Monroe is at quidditch. His teams play clinical, intelligent quidditch, ALWAYS.

Ethan Sturm, 3:23 pm: I’m worried were getting too hyped for a game that should, if played properly, look like the US Quidditch Cup 10 final.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:21 pm: I’m eating pancakes, as a true red, white, and blue-blooded American. This feels so right.

Ethan Sturm, 3:20 pm: This game has an all-timer feel to it. Not many moments in quidditch get that. Let’s hope it lives up. Shout out to Ethan Warren for weaseling his way into the live stream.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:19 pm: I didn’t realize how hyped I would be to see some of my favorite athletes in the sport lining up like this. Should be a great match. With Simon, Cole, Kaci, Luke, and Sam in, looks like Team USA will be starting their Texas line here.

Kevin Oelze, 3:18 pm: Sorry everyone, for the next hour or so the world looks like this:

Ethan Sturm, 3:17 pm: Yeah, I would look to have a quaffle line of Marino, Marella, Erwin and Heald if I were going two male beaters.

Kevin Oelze, 3:16 pm: Greenhouse has gotten both pulls for the US so far and quickly.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:16 pm: The issue with putting two males SOP is it means you either need to put in a female seeker or a three female chaser line. I know USA has no dedicated female seekers, though having Rachel Heald may at least allow them to run her at keeper with a male point defender in that situation.

Ethan Sturm, 3:14 pm: Australia has played a good amount of two-male beater sets this week. Two years ago Team USA matched that with snitch-on-pitch, but I imagine they’ll at least try to go standard set with the quality of their female beaters. But is the threshold for matching only outright losing to it, or is playing even bad enough?

Joshua Mansfield, 3:14 pm: I’m not terribly active in Australian social media groups, but this game seems to have a “losing is not an option” mentality from the American public. I’d be curious to see how confident the Aussies are going into it.

Kevin Oelze, 3:13 pm: I know that the game’s been over for like 10 minutes, but I’m still tilted at France scoring immediately after they were handed a SOP beater power play.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:12 pm: Yeah a lot of pressure being put on both teams in this upcoming match. It’ll be interesting to see how each deals with the nerves a game like this will cause.

Ethan Sturm, 3:11 pm: This game is going to be adrenaline-packed. It’s the two-year-waited-for sequel to the biggest moment in quidditch history. I expect both teams to come out sloppy just from trying to do too much. If I’m coach Parada and we’re even 0-for-3 on offensive possessions to start I’m not being shy with my timeout.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:08 pm: New Orleans getting hyped for Australia to get CRUSHED over here.

I think everyone has talked about how good Team USA is this year, but one thing about the team that I haven’t seen enough hype on is the sweet logo redesign. The new crest is so wearable and something I’ve gotten a lot of comments on in public.

Kevin Oelze, 3:06 pm: And now it’s time for the main event! In 2016 Ethan and I earned good will by restreaming the stream so Australia could watch it because they were blocked somehow. I plan on squandering all of that this weekend.

Kevin Oelze, 3:05 pm: Catch is good! 130*-80 for Belgium!

Joshua Mansfield, 3:04 pm: This snitch tail looks a bit longer than what we see in the US. The tail has a legally allowed range, and this one looks to be at the longer end of it. Catch looks clean for Belgium!

Kevin Oelze, 3:04 pm: Belgium missing more goals that could have pushed it out of range. Elisabeth Reyniers doing a great job for Belgium in the snitch game. And Belgium with a catch? Maybe this will be called good?

Kevin Oelze, 3:02 pm: That’s…an interesting card.

Joshua Mansfield, 3:01 pm: Etienne Pogu has stayed an absolute wall in front of the snitch. I think this is the first time he’s been beat in minutes. Catch looks like it’ll be called off for a charge. Yeah, yellow card for French seeker, likely for charging. With Belgium up 20 already this could be huge for Belgium if they play it right.

Kevin Oelze, 3:00 pm: When you watched Cavalry and Outlaws play and win, one of the most impressive things was the meticulous way these teams play to the way they need to win. These teams could both use a few lessons in that. France trying to score down 20 against a sturdy defense doesn’t help them. And a catch for France?!

Kevin Oelze, 2:59 pm: This snitch did work for France by not getting caught earlier in the match. Now he’s doing work for Belgium.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:58 pm: France is absolutely controlling the snitch game right now. Their beaters are playing fantastically.

Kevin Oelze, 2:58 pm: Goals traded, it looks like, to make it 90-80 in favor of Belgium.

Kevin Oelze, 2:56 pm: Josh, you know Belgian isn’t a language right?

Joshua Mansfield, 2:56 pm: While we’re at it someone translate it into Belgian.

Kevin Oelze, 2:55 pm: Josh, I’ve got: “Mettre. Votre. Main. Par. Le. Cerceau.”

Joshua Mansfield, 2:54 pm: Somebody translate “Put. Your. Hand. Through. The. Hoop.” into French.

Sean Pagoada, 2:54 pm: France with bludger control.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:53 pm: Yeah, that was just a very clear “French seeker got too caught up in the snitch game and Belgian seeker took advantage”. Called no good so we’ll keep watching.

Kevin Oelze, 2:53 pm: Tough blow. France gets second life after their seeker’s relentlessness on the snitch basically gave Belgium a free grab.

Sean Pagoada, 2:53 pm: Catch is called off.

Kevin Oelze, 2:51 pm: Belgium catch!? It seems like it happened off camera so I’m not sure what happened.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:51 pm: “King Louis” getting absolutely decapitated by that yellow card.

Kevin Oelze, 2:50 pm: Belgium’s getting by far the best looks here so far at the snitch. Dominating the snitch on pitch play, and puts another goal on the board to make it 80-60. Looks like a possible card coming for an intentional throw off pitch. Have I mentioned I hate this card yet? France now has a beater power play. They need to not score. But instead they score to make it 80-70.

Kevin Oelze, 2:47 pm: There was a discussion in a quidditch group about which country will combine for the best finish in both World Cups. We thought France was an easy answer, but Belgium is starting to look like a great one too. Snitch just came on pitch. Still 70-60 for Belgium. This game is going to turn into a track meet once the seekers are released.

Kevin Oelze, 2:45 pm: Hochedé Sylvain for Belgium goes down and looks like he slams his head to the ground. This physicality has made these games fun to watch, but I sure hope he’s okay.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:45 pm: Belgium’s passing hits again to put them up 70-60. So far this game has been France muscling through on no bludger drives, and Belgium stringing together beautiful passing plays to answer.

Kevin Oelze, 2:42 pm: I love watching Belgium’s passing game in the open field. So crisp, and they equalize at 60-60.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:42 pm: Non-playing coaches are worth so so much in this sport. Watching teams with a strategic mind on their side is always going to be a better match than without.

Kevin Oelze, 2:41 pm: What timeouts in USQ, Ethan?

Ethan Sturm, 2:40 pm: I have to say I’ve been extremely impressed by timeouts and strategic alterations in this tournament. Maybe It’s just because there are more non-playing coaches, which America continues to undervalue, but USQ teams could learn something from this.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:40 pm: INCREDIBLY frustrating that there aren’t hard boundaries marked here. This is the World’s marquee event with one of the best streams we’ve ever seen. The quidditch community deserves better.

Kevin Oelze, 2:39 pm: And as if on cue, Belgium’s timeout comes.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:39 pm: Wow so France runs out their red card ending +10. Great use of that timeout. Looks like we’re seeing another timeout signaling a momentum shift in this game.

Kevin Oelze, 2:38 pm: One of my favorite skills to coach people in is finishing through contact. Mikel Poisse on France just put on a clinic in it to give France a 60-50 lead.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:35 pm: If Belgium continues their smart play, they should be able to turn this chaser red into a huge opportunity.

Kevin Oelze, 2:34 pm: A rule change I loved in MLQ was two yellows not going straight to a red. Sure would have been nice here as Bosc is set off for two relatively light cards. Also what is an auto suspension for two yellow cards doing in this day and age?

Joshua Mansfield, 2:32 pm: France looks like they’re starting to get thrown off their game now. They’re starting to take more panicked, low percentage plays. Certainly looks like they weren’t expecting it to be tied halfway through the seeker floor.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:29 pm: It’s great to see American refs going international but their stoppages have been unconscionably long and frequent. I would love to see some focus there to put our best foot forward.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:28 pm: Agreed Kevin. Neither of these teams has the most talent at the tournament, but they’re keeping that in mind in their play. Both teams have been playing very intelligently so far.

Kevin Oelze, 2:28 pm: Holy moley that card overlay on stream is sah-weet.

Kevin Oelze, 2:26 pm: I love that Belgium is looking to run off of every French goal. I love more that they’re doing it intelligently. Crisp passing too. 40-30 France.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:23 pm: Belgium HAS to put that no bludger drive away. Unlucky shot by their chaser, but you have to give major credit to France’s physicality.

Kevin Oelze, 2:22 pm: Really entertaining early game. Smooth passing from the Belgians and strong physicality. Belgium has just made it 20-10.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:22 pm: Belgium being slow and patient with their possessions. Very smart play on their part leading to that goal. Unfortunately without a reset rule, smart play is “walk around until you get control and use it to score”.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:19 pm: Great physicality on the play by Belgium. France definitely should have and did score there but Belgium doing all they can to prevent it.

Kevin Oelze, 2:19 pm: Booooooorrrrissss puts France on the board! I loved that play. He faked like he was going to reset and then just scored off a penalty restart.

Sean Pagoada, 2:18 pm: France wins up 40 before catch, my bold prediction!

Joshua Mansfield, 2:17 pm: An out of range win for either team would be a statement though. If I were making quaffle point lines for this game I would say France -15.

Kevin Oelze, 2:16 pm: I’d definitely like to see a bit more in the way of intelligent play from these two teams. We saw a lot of athleticism and hard play, but it wasn’t what I’d call disciplined.

Joshua Mansfield, 2:16 pm: Overall, I think this game will be a statement piece for how organized each team’s play looks. I’m looking for solid physicality, smart beater play, and crisp passing from both teams, regardless of which one ultimately wins this.

Kevin Oelze, 2:16 pm: It’s 2018, and I’m just excited to still be able to say Booooooorrriisssssssss!!!

Joshua Mansfield, 2:15 pm: Based on history, I think you have to predict an in-range game. The last three matches between these teams have all been in range, with France winning all three.

Sean Pagoada, 2:14 pm: I’m hoping France comes out with this win similar to Germany vs. Norway result.

Kevin Oelze, 2:13 pm: Definitely, Josh. Now it’s time to turn our attention to France vs. Belgium. What are you guys expecting?

Joshua Mansfield, 2:11 pm: The long-term storyline coming out of this is that Germany has to be considered a major player in Europe now. UK/France/Belgium have been a clear 1-3 for a while, but that fourth spot has always been up in the air. Norway definitely had it coming into this but Germany making a statement that they are the next European power. With a league as large as theirs, it’s only to be expected, but they’re worth keeping an eye on the rest of the tournament to see where they can land.

Ethan Sturm, 2:04 pm: As the upsets start piling up it seems more and more likely that we see an uneven bracket tomorrow when all is said and done a la the FIFA World Cup. Going to be almost impossible to purposefully position yourself due to the tiebreakers being what they are, just have to win games and hope the dice land in your favor.

Tad Walters, 2:02 pm: So sad to see Norway playing so uptempo and really ride the transition game, just to seem them fail to score often and not use it effectively.

Joshua Mansfield, 1:58 pm: With Canada and Norway losing during this timeslot, it’s looking like Germany could be the only team in either group going 4-0. That should line them up for a top four seed tomorrow if they can close out their Spain game.

Sean Pagoada, 1:57 pm: Norway could just not find the hoops, Germany was making stop after stop right at the goals. Norway could’ve gone to a standard beating set to maybe get more physicality in the quaffle game.

Kevin Oelze, 1:56 pm: Germany turning around after their timeout and really finding the ability to score was absolutely the story for me.

Joshua Mansfield, 1:56 pm: What are y’all’s stories of the game? To me, it’s gotta be Norway’s inability to score. This game should’ve been even if Norway used their possessions better, but Germany was able to start finishing after their time out, and Norway didn’t have an answer.

Sean Pagoada, 1:55 pm: Norway played hard, but they got worn down and could not finish. Vamos Alemania!!

Kevin Oelze, 1:55 pm: Deutschland Deutschland über alles!

Joshua Mansfield, 1:54 pm: Great catch by Germany.

Kevin Oelze, 1:54 pm: Final score 110*-40 in favor of Germany.

Sean Pagoada, 1:53 pm: I think Germany is at least finding some kind of rhythm. And Germany with the grab!

Joshua Mansfield, 1:53 pm: Neither of these teams are able to finish at the hoops. Both teams will have their disappointments no matter which way this game goes.

Kevin Oelze, 1:52 pm: Number 33 on Germany just made a massive play. She just RIPPED a bludger away from one of Norway’s male beaters right next to the snitch.

Joshua Mansfield, 1:51 pm: Both teams with a beater in the box with less than a minute til SOP. If Germany is smart they cannot score until they get their seeker in.

Kevin Oelze, 1:50 pm: Josh, I’m not sure interesting is the word I’d use. Meanwhile, Norway’s goal waved off and Germany scores on the penalty kill to make it 60-30.

Joshua Mansfield, 1:49 pm: Interesting call on a red for a throw off the hard boundary. That’s a yellow that I believe is one of the most overcalled cards in the game and a HUGE gamechanger for Germany to get a red just before snitch on pitch.

Kevin Oelze, 1:49 pm: Norway finds an answer to make it 50-40. I feel like this game is really REALLY going to open up with seekers out.

Sean Pagoada, 1:48 pm: Germany has gone a 30-0 run, Norway needs to come up with an answer soon.

Kevin Oelze, 1:47 pm: Germany on a mini run here and has taken a 20 point lead at 50-30 as the snitch comes onto the pitch.

Ethan Sturm, 1:46 pm: Which really points to what Kevin said. In the Southwest football is king, in the Northeast we play basketball and lacrosse.

Joshua Mansfield, 1:46 pm: Ethan I think that really depends on your perspective. That might’ve been the case in the Northeast, but not really the case in the South and Southwest.

Kevin Oelze, 1:45 pm: I wonder if that has something to do with the sports that have grown popular there. A sport like basketball is much more popular in the US and the passing and cutting style mirrors quidditch, whereas Rugby obviously is not particularly large here.

Ethan Sturm, 1:44 pm: It’s really interesting that in America offense blossemes first and physicality had to play catchup, but in Europe it seems physicality blossomed and crisp offense is still catching up.

Kevin Oelze, 1:43 pm: #13 dives and throws up a teardrop prayer which is caught by his teammate who finishes the goal. All tied now.

Sean Pagoada, 1:43 pm: Wow, insane goal by Germany.

Joshua Mansfield, 1:41 pm: I will say, timeouts were a great pickup for the IQA rulebook. I’m glad to see them being used here.

Sean Pagoada, 1:41 pm: Their last goal didn’t count, Germany down 20-30.

Kevin Oelze, 1:40 pm: Definitely, Tad. This is certainly the most fun game I’ve seen on the livestream. Also it looks like Spain scored right before their pull, the final score was actually 70*-50.

Tad Walters, 1:40 pm: Agreed Kevin. I’m a HUGE fan of Norway’s physicality and I love how they are pushing the pace, even if it’s not the smart thing to do. It’s fun quidditch.

Kevin Oelze, 1:39 pm: Okay, moving on from roasting America’s hat: I feel like this Germany/Norway game has been very athletic and scrappy so far, but incredibly undisciplined. And Germany just tied it 20-20. Meanwhile, Czech Republic took out Catalonia 90*-80. Really bad start for Catalonia, down 0-2 with two snitch range losses, and a super impressive start for the Czechs.

Joshua Mansfield, 1:37 pm: For what it’s worth, I still think it’s likely Canada moves on even with a loss to Norway. But it’s now very unlikely they make the quarterfinals.

Ethan Sturm, 1:37 pm: As Josh alluded to, upsets are massive in a format that does not protect placement within your own group. With there most likely being anywhere from 10-14 teams at 3-1 or better, there could be very little space for a 2-2 team.

Tad Walters, 1:35 pm: Ulrik Olsen on Norway has been a huge playmaker on the field on both sides of the ball, really enjoying his physicality.

Joshua Mansfield, 1:35 pm: My stream of Norway/Germany went down on my end for about 10 minutes, and it is incredibly disappointing to see that no goals were scored in that time.

Joshua Mansfield, 1:34 pm: If Canada can’t beat Norway, they could find themselves sweating to get into the top bracket. The in-range loss to Spain helps them, but they’re no longer a sure thing

Ethan Sturm, 1:34 pm: Spain over Canada may be nominally an upset, but it’s really the story of a country that’s top-tier delelopment has stagnated for years while the rest of the world grows

Tad Walters, 1:33 pm: Great job Spain! Honestly not a good look for Canada, who’s really shown how much they’ve stagnated. It’s rough considering they are set up to be the most competitive, being the closest country to the states and one of the countries with the biggest infrastructure and amount of teams of the countries present

Joshua Mansfield, 1:32 pm: Huge disappointment for Canada, but if one of the big seven here saw an upset, it was certainly going to be them.

Kevin Oelze, 1:30 pm: Spain 60* – Canada 50. First big upset of the tournament. Not a great start for a Canadian team with a pretty deep history of disappointment in World Cups.

Tad Walters, 1:29 pm: First thing I notice is Norway seems to be the most athletic team we’ve seen on this stream today.

Josh Mansfield, 1:27 pm: We’ll see if Canada can expand that lead, but that’s not a great sign for a team that a lot were already expecting to have disappointing results.

Kevin Oelze, 1:26 pm: Norway manages to take first blood in a very physical early game. Pleasant to see so far.

Meanwhile, it looks like Canada has a 50-30 lead on Spain and Catalonia is up 20 on the Czechs.

Ethan Sturm, 1:21 pm: Sean, you mention that 2016 World Cup quarterfinal and I have to agree with you. France became an afterthought in that World Cup when they were a snitch grab away from being a semifinalist with a real chance of doing what Australia ended up doing.

Josh Mansfield, 1:19 pm: These two games provide interesting comparison pieces though. Germany and Norway are definitely two teams that are quickly on the rise in Europe, while France and Belgium are certainly more established within the “European old guard” (as the second and third European teams to ever play internationally).

Sean Pagoada, 1:18 pm: I would like to see France get this win, I think they had a very disappointing early exit last time around. 2014 wasn’t as serious since their roster was not as competitive as it could be with the long travel.

Kevin Oelze, 1:18 pm: Josh, I’m about 50/50 on that. I almost want to see a game really atrociously take advantage of the reset rule to almost force the IQA into the modern era, kind of like the Texas State University vs. Texas Cavalry final did for USQ. But man, I don’t want to watch that. I’m running on about half an hour of sleep.

Josh Mansfield, 1:17 pm: Agreed with Ethan. Upsets will be fun in these time-slots, the biggest caveat being I am pulling for true upsets – not ones that slow the game down to a crawl and take advantage of the fact there’s now reset rule.

Sean Pagoada, 1:17 pm:  Excited to see Germany’s improvement from having the opportunity of hosting last World Cup.

Kevin Oelze, 1:16 pm:  This one coming up is the battle for my blood. I’m about 75% German and 5% Norwegian, so… Auf gehts Deutschland!

Ethan Sturm, 1:15 pm:  So hyped to be leaving for work in an hour…But actually I’m very hyped, and want the upsets in every game that isn’t Team USA. Give me Germany and Belgium all day.

Kevin Oelze, 1:15 pm: All right guys, we’re into what has to be the juiciest three games of the day back to back to back. Who’s hyped? Who are you pulling for?

Ethan Sturm, 1:13 pm: To be fair Kevin, that was only the fourth snitch range game of the tournament. There have been 24 games.

Kevin Oelze, 1:11 pm: Interesting thing I just noticed: by my count, Hong Kong just became the first team to win while down in quaffle points all tournament.

Ethan Sturm, 1:10 pm: Mine would be tournament with giant logistical failings and non-competitive game play being held together by the duct tape of a well-produced livestream and a ton of real, feel-good stories.

Sean Pagoada, 1:09 pm: Livestream is amazing quality, loving the replays. Strategy has improved greatly from even the lowest tier.

Tad Walters, 1:08 pm: I’m pleasantly surprised at the amount of strategic improvement overall since 2016. But most teams seem to be mostly athletically behind us.

Kevin Oelze, 1:08 pm: If I really wanted to watch competitive quidditch, I should be asleep: I’d have had a better chance of dreaming it so far. The baseline of acceptable quidditch has hugely improved over 2016, but the competitive quality of these games is terrible.

Ethan Sturm, 1:07 pm:  We’re halfway through day one of World Cup. Give me your tweet length review of the tournament so far.

Kevin Oelze, 1:01 pm: 

1) Snitches, please stop pulling brooms unless you really know what you’re doing.
2) Finland should not have let that game be in snitch range. This is what happens when you do. If you’re the better team and you run hoops zone and give up the ability to pressure your opponent, you deserve for them to just stall the game out against you.
3) Hong Kong is absolutely stoked after winning, and this is awesome.
4) Call me biased, but I’m a big fan of #8 on Hong Kong, who just has “Kevin” on his jersey.

Ethan Sturm, 12:56 pm: A lot of talk of the heat today in Firenze. Weather report currently shows 87 degrees with 45 percent humidity. While that’s definitely on the hotter side, it’s conditions that Australian and American players are no doubt familiar with and could be an impediment if top European teams are not.

Ethan Sturm, 12:55 pm: Keeping your most dominant snitch in Larsen Price on the same pitch for back-to-back games is a bold move in terms of time management.

Kevin Oelze, 12:53 pm: Finland’s keeper had a one on one at the keeper zone and instead fired a pass that skipped on the ground to a somewhat marked chaser. My heart hurts.

Kevin Oelze, 12:52 pm: Hoops zone is the defense teams run when they have no idea how to run an actual defense. It continues to make it impossible to pressure on defense unless you really understand how to play it.

Sean Pagoada, 12:51 pm: In the Hong Kong vs. Finland game, the Finnish are running another hoops zone. They’re running it while having their one beater try to force a turnover by himself. Hong Kong has held quaffle possession for almost 3 minutes.

Kevin Oelze, 12:50 pm:  It was a huge controversy in the 2016 World Cup Final. Hopefully it doesn’t stay as one.

Ethan Sturm, 12:49 pm: Meanwhile, the Australia seeker gets a call ruled off for grabbing the snitch while going over the top for a grab. Catch looked very clean, and while it doesn’t matter in this blowout, the differing ways countries interpret snitch catch rules are undoubtedly going to lead to some major talking points as the games get more competitive.

Ethan Sturm, 12:46 pm: Yes and no. Italy is well-regarded, but they exited the 2017 European games with a 280*-40 loss to France in the quarterfinals after going 0-4 in the second-tier pool the day before. I think it’s hard to draw many conclusions until Team USA plays Australia.

Kevin Oelze, 12:45 pm: We joke, Ethan, but honestly what the US is doing to Italy is pretty impressive. Italy’s pretty well regarded and is a home team and USA is up 120-20 at last check.

Kevin Oelze, 12:42 pm: Well, The Empire Strikes Back is technically a Disney movie…

Ethan Sturm, 12:41 pm: Since you brought up movies Kevin, would Team USA winning this year be a Disney movie?

Kevin Oelze, 12:40 pm: I’m reminded of the announcer from Rocky IV when he finally is able to make a mark on Drago: THE RUSSIAN IS CUT! THE RUSSIAN IS CUT!

Ethan Sturm, 12:36 pm: Austria playing a smart game against Australia but the talent gap is just too large. Australia also employing some unique defensive sets, using keeper at point while floating two other chasers in the keeper zone. Meanwhile, Team USA concedes its first goal of the tournament and now leads Italy, 80-10.

Ethan Sturm, 12:05 pm: The Czech Republic wins its first-ever match at a major international tournament, and does so against a natural geographic rival in Slovakia. Our ELO model was definitely generous to the Czechs, but still only gave them a 1-in-3 chance to go 3-1 or better. They are off to a great start here.

Ethan Sturm, 11:52 am: Larsen Price looks like he will be fulfilling the role of Gabe Garcez in this tournament, he has not even been tested by these seekers in what has been a snitch-range game the entire time.

Ethan Sturm, 11:48 am: 

On-site logistics shortcomings becoming a running theme early this morning.

Ethan Sturm, 11:42 am: Czech Republic, playing in their first-ever major international tournament, making the bold decision to have their beaters ignore the snitch, who is currently dominating both seekers, and to instead try to get-out-of range. Ignoring the snitch to get out-of-range is an underused strategy in quidditch, in no small part because it’s easy for it to look bad when it doesn’t work, but it can pay off massively. the Czechs officially gained themselves a fan in this game.

Ethan Sturm, 11:35 am: I don’t want to be critical of the commentary, which I think has done an excellent job so far. It just baffles me that “Troll in the Dungeon” has held up as a technical term all of these years in European quidditch.

Ethan Sturm, 11:28 am: Czech Republic continues to rip mid-range shots against this zone, playing right into Slovakia’s hands. Though it did look like that last shot had slipped through the hoop.

Ethan Sturm, 11:25 am: I have to say I love Slovakia playing a Hoops Zone. Even if it isn’t a particularly well organized one, most of the teams they are going to need to beat in this tournament will have no idea what to do against it. I’m always in for gimmicky moves strategically in sporting events that minimize preparation ability.

Kevin Oelze, 11:16 am: Announcers in the Slovakia vs. Czech Republic game are talking about how weird it is that the favorite is giving up this much ground, not recognizing they’re playing a “Three Trees Defense” and literally cannot pressure the quaffle.

Ethan Sturm, 11:14 am: Two telling stats from the five reported 10:00 am time-slot games so far: 4-of-5 games had a snitch last less than one minute, and the five losing teams combined for 50 quaffle points.

Ethan Sturm, 11:11 am: 

As high-quality as the technological logistics of this tournament have been, this is a rough look for field logistics.

Ethan Sturm, 10:59 am: Germany vs. Norway is the other. Germany is at the top of that third European tier and lost just out-of-range to Belgium in the quarterfinals of European Games 2017. Upset waiting to happen.

Kevin Oelze, 10:58 am: All right, guys, we’re two time-slots in. Other than the finals rematch, what look like the best games to watch. France vs. Belgium definitely jumps out at me.

Ethan Sturm, 10:55 am: I do want to give credit to the IQA for having the foresight to run hour-long time slots. The fact that we still don’t do that for nationals in the US is why our nationals are always hours behind and why I didn’t get BBQ either night of Cup this year.

Tad Walters, 10:49 am: Sure. It’s more the semblance of it all than the actual game itself. Just a big shutout to make a powerful statement.

Kevin Oelze, 10:48 am: Sure, although obviously the relative level of competition of the UK in 2014 compared to Ireland now is much higher.

Tad Walters, 10:48 am: Reminds me of the 2014 shut out of the UK. It felt like it means something

Kevin Oelze, 10:47 am: Final is coming in at 230-0 in favor of the United States over Ireland. Feels like a bit of an early statement by the likely favorites.

Tad Walters, 10:44 am: I will say it’s interesting to note that so far, the best players on three of the four non-US teams we’ve seen have all been American or played several years in the US. Hugo Quiroz, Beto Natera, and Albert Coronado for Mexico, Phill Cain for Brazil, and Markus Tü from Austria. Really solidifes my preconceived notions of how much higher the overall quality of play is in the States than in most of the rest of the world.

Kevin Oelze, 10:38 am: I’m really wracking my brain for this, but the best I’ve got is “literally everyone”, Ethan.

Ethan Sturm, 10:37 am: With Austria officially logging an out-of-range win, it looks like we are headed for out-of-range matches in 11-of-12 games so far. Who could have seen that coming?

Kevin Oelze, 10:36 am: It’s a little sad. But I think it’s just sad that the international game has been so slow to adjust to a gaping flaw in the rules.

Tad Walters, 10:35 am: Yes, they’re brainwashing you.

Ethan Sturm, 10:34 am: Is it sad that I celebrated that Austria slow ball just because I’m disappointed that so many people haven’t resorted to the obviously correct strategy so far?

Kevin Oelze, 10:33 am: The USA game is on break due to a broken hoop. Who let Tyler Trudeau on the field? Meanwhile in Austria vs. Brazil: “This is why a lot of countries have implemented a back court rule.” Pretty much like we all feared going into this tournament.

Tad Walters, 10:31 am: I’ve got to say, when they remember to pass within the paint, Austria doesn’t look too bad. They really struggle on drives when their ball carrier get tunnel vision, but their beaters give them a ton of opportunities in transition. I’m excited to see what Austria does this tournament.

Kevin Oelze, 10:31 am: 150-0 now in the USA game. I feel bad just following the twitter thread at this point. But Austria’s starting to pull away from Brazil as well at 60-20. Seems to me like Austria’s generally had the beater advantage, which will favor them in the snitch game, but will also mean that Brazil may have an easier time getting on the board with snitch releasing in three minutes. And yikes now it’s 70-20.

Ethan Sturm, 10:28 am: Austria has slowly but surely opened up an out-of-range lead against Brazil, forcing a Brazil timeout. Both teams have had moments of brilliance, but Austria has taken a more straightforward approach making the executions on this finishes just a bit simpler, even as the beating game plays largely to a draw.

Kevin Oelze, 10:23 am: Team USA jumps out to a 100-0 lead over Ireland. Yikes. Coming out with an edge.

Ethan Sturm, 10:20 am: Game times are in for the first time slot. 3-of-6 game lasted less than 20 minutes, 5-of-6 games lasted less than 22 minutes.

Tad Walters, 10:15 am: The Brazil-Austria game started off with a few crisp quick goals that honestly surprised me. Game is now 20-10 in favor of Austria.

Ethan Sturm, 10:13 am: Watched Australia long enough to realize the Netherlands weren’t interested in slow-balling and the Aussies had pulled out to a 30-0 lead in one minute flat. Not much to see there.

Ethan Sturm, 10:05 am: Other first time-slot results have begun to come through, with Belgium (240*-20 over Finland), Turkey (160*-20 over South Korea) and the United Kingdom (160-50* over Slovakia) all taking care of business in matches in which they were heavy favorites. With the large gaps in international talent, we can expect a lot more results like those over the course of the day than the tight battle we got between Mexico and Catalonia.

Ethan Sturm, 10:03 am: Team USA’s day one roster just dropped:

Ethan Sturm, 9:54 am: Results spreadsheet hasn’t been dispersed well through social media, but it is available here.

Tad Walters, 9:52 am: I think it’s going to be out-of-range, in favor of Team USA. When you really break it down it’s going to be Australia against the starting line of the Austin Outlaws followed by the starting line of the Boston Night Riders. That’s rough for anybody, but especially a team that’s never really played against these lines before.

Ethan Sturm, 9:49 am: Commentators hyping up the Team USA vs. Australia matchup, which will go off at 3:00 pm local time. I’m worried it’s not going to be live up to expectations, what are your thoughts Tad?

Ethan Sturm, 9:44 am: Team Mexico, the darlings of Josh’s article yesterday, showed all kinds of potential in this match, with strong defense and organization. Offense is going to need to click quite a bit more though if they hope to advance.

Tad Walters, 9:42 am: Mexico seeker Hugo Quiroz had the fastest catch of Gabe Garcez during the 2017 Major League Quidditch season. Catches this snitch in his second truly clean look at him. Game, set, match, Mexico wins, 80*-30.

Ethan Sturm, 9:36 am: I previously mentioned the importance of this Group G matchup. We’ll talk a lot about the moving cut line for making bracket play in this tournament. Due to the nature of the format, there are 16 spots in the bracket, and there can technically be as many as 18 3-1 teams in the tournament. So while 3-1 should put you into the Round of 16, 2-2 will land you firmly on the bubble, and more than likely on the wrong side of it. Josh Mansfield’s ELO article gives Mexico just a 16 percent chance of going 3-1 and Catalonia just a 6 percent chance. Those odds drop even further with a loss here.

Tad Walters, 9:35 am: Albert Coronado from Texas A&M and Lonestar in for Mexico as Natera leaves. No shortage of top-rate experience at the top of this Mexico roster.

Tad Walters, 9:33 am: We’re 12 minutes into game one and I’m already tired of resets past half court…It’s gonna be a long day.

Ethan Sturm, 9:30 am: Commentators keep harping on the positives of the Catalonian beaters, with bludger control, both coming up on offense. But, for me, that aggression is more for show than it is for action, as the offense consistently starts without waiting for the beaters to actually make a beat or attempt to create a no-bludger situation.

Ethan Sturm, 9:20 am: The Mexican team, led by captain Beto Natera, formerly of LSU and Lone Star Quidditch Club, are off to a hot start, with physical play and a crisp passing game. Catalonia, meanwhile, looks disorganized, and just conceded a goal while on a bludger power play, a quiddtich cardinal sin.

Tad Walters, 9:16 am: Tournament off to a bit of a rough start, with reports coming in from Firenze of a late start from tournament staff. Now with the livestream available we can see we have coned, not lined, fields for the event.

Ethan Sturm, 9:08 am: World Cup 2018 is about to begin! We hope you are ready, whether you’re an American drinking your early morning coffee or an Aussie nursing your after-dinner drinks. First game on the livestream is an important one between Mexico and Catalonia. Quick hiccup in the stream for technical difficulties but all seems good to go with a high-resolution picture. Let the games begin!


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