The Eighth Man

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

Credit: Miguel Esparza

Welcome back to The Eighth Man’s live coverage of the 2018 IQA World Cup. Our staff will be right alongside you throughout today’s key bracket play matches, 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 bracket doc as you go about your weekend, we’re here for you. We hope you enjoy!

Ethan Sturm, 8:45 pm: And that will do it for our World Cup Live Blog. We want to thank all of you for taking the time to follow along. Expect more coverage of this event from us in the days to come. Take care!

Ethan Sturm, 8:44 pm: I really think you are spot on Josh. This tournament shone when the teams were in the spotlight, from the new teams getting their first wins to the veteran teams achieving that aforementioned parity. But anytime the IQA’s actions were in the spotlight, the moment wilted. In the past, IQA has been able to sweep issues under the rug as many of us won’t hear from them for nearly two years. But with the hope of creating more continental games for next year, I imagine all eyes will remain on this organization.

Josh Mansfield, 8:39 pm: Yeah, in terms of final takeaways, my thoughts are split into two areas:

1) The state of international quidditch is as good as it’s ever been. The game is catching up internationally, countries up and down the spectrum are putting together teams that can play good quidditch, and there’s incredible parity at the top.

2) This event was a chance for the IQA to redeem itself in the eyes of the community after two straight years of unforced errors, and they completely blew that chance. From this end, games being cancelled, pitches being coned, and games running drastically behind schedule left a bad taste in spectator’s mouths at what should’ve been our sport’s best showcase (especially with the high quality stream). I wasn’t present, but I heard organizational issues were rampant there as well in ways that may not have shown up on the livestream. I’m very optimistic about where international quidditch is right now. I’m pessimistic about the IQA.

Ethan Sturm, 8:36 pm: Unbelievably, Harry Greenhouse, who now has two World Cup titles, two MLQ titles and a USQ title, had never caught a title winning snitch before today. To say he wanted it would be an understatement.

Ethan Sturm, 8:32 pm: Also, as much as Team USA is the evil empire, it is worth noting that they faced a lot of adversity this weekend and pulled through. Losing quidditch’s GOAT in the quarterfinals is very difficult, knocks on Cole Travis and possibly Harry Greenhouse messed with line construction, two games against Australia were a drain no other team had to deal with. They got through it all and always found a way to win.

Ethan Sturm, 8:30 pm: 7-1 on the weekend, with two wins over France, one against Turkey, and kept USA in-range. Maybe next time we can get stacked pools because I’d love to see Belgium play Australia.

Josh Mansfield, 8:28 pm: I think this is the ideal result for all involved. USA needed the gold. Belgium needed to prove themselves. Both did that this game.

Ethan Sturm, 8:26 pm: I’m a Yankees fan, this is nothing new for me.

Josh Mansfield, 8:26 pm: Great performance by Belgium though, they had the US pegged, and brought the right strategy to them. The crowd is obviously loving Belgium, but the way it turned to outright booing of the US at the end seemed in poor spirit.

Ethan Sturm, 8:24 pm: Hell of a performance from Team Belgium. No one thought they could keep this one in range other than that sideline. And they did it.

Josh Mansfield, 8:23 pm: Two snitch-range finals in a row. This team sure knows how to keep our hearts pounding.

Ethan Sturm, 8:22 pm: Massive referee call gives US possession and an all but free goal. 90-60.

Ethan Sturm, 8:21 pm: This game will be in range at SOP, that’s just a fact at this point. Also Greenhouse has not played in this game, he must have an knock of some kind. That’s huge for the seeking game.

Ethan Sturm, 8:20 pm: Cole Travis prioritizes bludger control over defense and allows a goal that reduces the lead to 20 again.

Ethan Sturm, 8:18 pm: The USA’s post timeout adjustment is a two-male beater set with Cole Travis and Jackson Johnson and Simon Arends keeping. It’s working so far.

Josh Mansfield, 8:17 pm: Havlin is starting to looked gassed though. That beater depth with Cole being a question mark really starting to hurt them. The coordination in the beater/chaser game hasn’t been there for the past 5 minutes.

Ethan Sturm, 8:16 pm: The US has not been able to get bludger control for nearly four minutes, and that’s been the biggest different.

Josh Mansfield, 8:15 pm: They’ve been gang tackling, but Belgium has been able to make quick shovel passes for goals. Exactly what they need to do against this defense.

Ethan Sturm, 8:12 pm: Honestly, what’s most surprising to me is how poorly the Team USA point defenders are doing here. 50-40 Team USA now.

Ethan Sturm, 8:11 pm: Everything suddenly looking clean and smooth from Belgium and awkward and disjointed form Team USA. Havlin and Xu on, timeout might be needed soon.

Josh Mansfield, 8:09 pm: Sam Haimowitz makes it 40-10 with a quick alley-dunk, but at 8:07, Belgium has now held us in range longer than the UK was, without resorting to the slow-ball we saw the UK do.

Ethan Sturm, 8:08 pm: Jayke missing shots that are his bread and butter has hit the brakes on their early run. The way Belgium’s defense is set this might be a Tyler Trudeau game. And now Belgium scores, 30-10.

Josh Mansfield, 8:07 pm: US making stops with bludgers. US making stops with chasers. Looks like this team got the “this is not a Disney movie” speech.

Josh Mansfield, 8:04 pm: I guess the new question is whether the US can keep up their streak of never being scored on in a final they win.

Ethan Sturm, 8:03 pm: Belgium is not playing like they deserve to be on the same finals pitch as Team USA. Which, given the bracket, they almost definitely don’t.

Josh Mansfield, 8:02 pm: Havlin putting on a clinic out here on Belgium’s beaters. 30-0 with a goal from Simon and this game is definitely getting out of range fast. 2:42 is the time on the clock.

Josh Mansfield, 8:01 pm: #havlin’d

Ethan Sturm, 7:59 pm: The Europeans really like their passes after beats. USA press draws easy first blood.

Josh Mansfield, 7:57 pm: That said, Matt Dwyer has been a solid commentator all weekend.

Ethan Sturm, 7:56 pm: Announcers really trying to make this matchup sound even. It’s not.

Ethan Sturm, 7:55 pm: A stream built separate from IQA.

Josh Mansfield, 7:54: I cannot get over the fact that we have to watch the World. Cup. Finals. On a coned field. The IQA is a “take what we give you” monopoly but outside of this stream, they’ve given us almost nothing from this tournament.

Ethan Sturm, 7:31 pm: So Belgium, we’ve barely gotten to see them this weekend, but everyone knows their star: Louis Lermytte. He’s a two-position athlete that will likely be beating today. But after seeing how other European teams have faired against Team USA, I’m not even sure playing to a draw in the beater game will be enough for Belgium.

Josh Mansfield, 7:29 pm: I honestly hope that what we just saw from UK is slowball’s final form. We’ve had years to build up the strategy until it’s reached this ridiculous point. Starting with the new IQA rulebook, everybody should hopefully be playing with a backcourt rule moving forward.

Josh Mansfield, 7:23 pm: Team UK just came out in their last two games (and potentially their Italy game) with no real game plan except for chucking the quaffle back to their keeper zone any time one of their beaters got beat. It’s a playstyle that leaves a lot wanting in terms of strategy and spectating. Their beaters are good, but you could tell they were tired after playing down in quaffle points three games in a row.

Ethan Sturm, 7:21 pm: So, with Turkey officially taking the bronze medal, the three medalists will be Team USA and two European squads that have never medaled in a major international tournament before. Shows just how much growth we are getting across the world.

Ethan Sturm, 7:19 pm: Considering they’re still finishing fourth, this was a truly awful tournament for Team UK. No particularly impressive wins, outscored in quaffle points by Italy, beaten soundly by Team USA and now losing on a snitch grab to a Turkey team that also almost put them out-of-range. Few positives to point to other than the fourth place this format afforded them.

Josh Mansfield, 6:09 pm: After bracket play has shaken out (not including consolation games) Belgium is currently the #2 Elo-rated team. We’ll see how that shakes out when all is said and done, but the top four currently sit. USA: 2127 Belgium: 1907 UK: 1902 Australia: 1879

Josh Mansfield, 6:05 pm: It’s absolutely ridiculous that we are now four minutes into when the final was scheduled to happen, and the stream is showing people set up a pitch. There’s running behind, and then there’s being entirely unprepared. Absurd that this is happening at quidditch’s biggest event. Not only that but we’re an entire gameslot behind AFTER this pitch gets set up.

Josh Mansfield, 5:07 pm: A lot can be said about how the bracket worked out to basically gift a weaker team a spot in the finals opposite the US/UK/AUS, but how big of a deal is this for Belgium to make it there? This is a team that placed 7th (out of 7) in 2014 and 7th (out of 21) in 2016. Now they’re guaranteed a medal.

Ethan Sturm, 4:53 pm: Team USA is through to the finals with a 160*-40 win. Third place game is one time slot away, Gold Medal game is two time slots away. Suffice to say, Team USA will be heavy favorites.

Josh Mansfield, 4:52 pm: That said, Bill Orridge has had a great game so far. He’s made a couple great plays against the US’s beaters.

Josh Mansfield, 4:49 pm: If Team UK has scored a couple of the myriad shots they’ve thrown away, this game is just out-of-range or maybe in range. These shots have been killing them, and certainly something they’ll be looking back on after this game.

Ethan Sturm, 4:48 pm: On the other pitch, Belgium is through to the finals with a win over Turkey. Belgium making its first-ever appearance in the finals of a major international tournament.

Ethan Sturm, 4:46 pm: Apparently only Bostonians are allowed to seek for Team USA, as Jayke Archibald puts on the yellow headband.

Ethan Sturm, 4:44 pm: Catch called no good. Trudeau gets called for a shorts pull. Seems to be incredibly confused. But that’s snitch catch rules for you.

Ethan Sturm, 4:42 pm: And, on cue, there’s Trudeau.

Ethan Sturm, 4:41 pm: Long shift here for Harry Greenhouse at seeker. Not the way Team USA has been handling seeking this weekend.

Josh Mansfield, 4:40 pm: Yeah, right now US should be parking the bus, working on running up their lead slowly and patiently. They seem to be the team driving the pace right now though.

Ethan Sturm, 4:39 pm: Is it just me, or is Team USA honestly playing more quidditch than they need to be?

Josh Mansfield, 4:37 pm: Team UK can’t seem to hit a shot to save their life this game other than that last one. Definitely a hallmark of a team playing nervous, which is a little surprising to me. That said, Team UK hasn’t lost a quidditch match since the semis in 2016. It’s not a position they’re used to being in.

Ethan Sturm, 4:36 pm: Our commentary isn’t as active in this game, but really it’s simply because there isn’t much to talk about. Snitch will soon be released and Team USA will be in the final shortly after. That said, Team UK is now down only 80-30.

Ethan Sturm, 4:30 pm: I talked before the tournament about how Lucy is the best Europe has to offer at beater, but that the Americans and Aussies have remained well ahead in that arena. True to that word, Havlin and Xu have dominated this game.

Josh Mansfield, 4:28 pm: Agreed Ethan. I thought it’s interesting that UK is still playing so slow now that they’re down 60. You’d expect a little urgency being out of range.

Ethan Sturm, 4:27 pm: Unnecessary press really there from the US to give away control. Now that they are up 50 let Team UK slow-ball as much as they want.

Josh Mansfield, 4:26 pm: Team USA has been playing sloppily, giving UK a lot of transition opportunities, but it’s not mattering. US chaser defense is still shutting it down.

Ethan Sturm, 4:25 pm: With the Monroe injury, and after his dominant performance last game, this is now Archibald’s team. He hasn’t subbed off all game and he is at the core of everything they’re doing. Game is quickly getting out of hand.

Ethan Sturm, 4:22 pm: Huge transition stop from Team USA. But also no reason to push the offense there before your beaters take back control.

Josh Mansfield, 4:21 pm: Impressive pressing by the US here. Anytime the UK gets a modicum of pressure, they’re passing halfway back to their keeper zone. US still doing a good job blowing it up.

Ethan Sturm, 4:19 pm: It’s one thing to slow ball in a rule set that favors it. It’s a completely different thing to do so against Max Havlin.

Ethan Sturm, 4:18 pm: Simon Arends was bailed out of some bad decisions there.

Ethan Sturm, 4:16 pm: Immediate Switch to Archibald, Havlin and Xu off the first possession, which lasted 90 seconds.

Josh Mansfield, 4:11 pm: I just want to counter the #fakenews narrative this British commentator is trying to peddle when he said “the UK lost to the US in range in 2016’s semifinal”. The score of that semi was 140*-40.

Sean Pagoada, 4:11 pm: If Team USA can get on the board first I think UK will play quidditch.

Josh Mansfield, 4:11 pm: Team UK needs to be slowballing here. It’s going to be a huge burden of pressure on their beaters to see if they can keep the space to do it.

Ethan Sturm, 4:10 pm: Do we think Team UK, coming off a 80*-60 win against an Italy team that Team USA eviscerated yesterday, are going to play quidditch, or will this be our first true slow-ball fest?

Josh Mansfield, 4:10 pm: I think in this game you want to go with your Texas line. Team UK isn’t going to be the physical team Australia was, and as history has shown  — Kenny Chilton’s massive hit in 2014 exemplifying —  that putting bodies on the UK is a great way of shutting them down.

Ethan Sturm, 4:08 pm: Do you see the team switching to a Boston line start? Or at least a Archibald, Havlin and Xu start? It’s been their best offense in big international games for a long time now.

Josh Mansfield, 4:07 pm: I am excited that they’re putting the Team USA vs. Team UK on the livestream. I had feared they were going to stream Belgium vs. Turkey because neither of those teams have made it on today, but from a purely market decision this has got to be the right call. You have to figure they have way more viewers in the UK and US right now than Belgium or Turkey.

Overall though, it’s just a huge shame the semis were scheduled at the same time, especially in a tournament format with so many consolation games that they could’ve conceivably been split.

Ethan Sturm, 4:07 pm: And that’s generously considering Cole Travis 100 percent. We’re really closer to 11 males, 8 females.

Josh Mansfield, 4:05 pm: More than anything, it highlights the ridiculousness of the IQA roster minimum policy. We now effectively have a roster of 12 males and 8 females, with the team playing a 4:2 ratio for what has been about 90% of these games.

Sean Pagoada, 4:04 pm: It’s certainly not going to help them, but I think it’s not as bad as it could be. We’ve seen both Simon Arends and Luke Langlinais put on the green headband, and Monroe has seemed to have had something of an off tournament anyway. Main impact will likely be on team morale, which will hopefully stay high despite it.

Ethan Sturm, 3:56 pm: While we were away, Team USA’s official Twitter account reported that Augustine Monroe will miss the rest of the tournament. How do you expect this to affect Team USA’s rather regimented lines?

Ethan Sturm, 3:55 pm: Next up are the semifinals, with Team USA vs. Team UK on the official livestream and Belgium vs. Turkey being streamed on the Belgium Facebook account. Team USA vs. Team UK is a rematch of last years semifinals and the fifth all-time matchup between the two. Team USA is 4-0 in those matches so far, and has never been kept in-range.

Belgium and Turkey, meanwhile, have played three times in international competition, and Belgium is 2-1, though the last two matches between the two were snitch-range games that the pair split (One in Group stage of European Game 2017, one in the Consolation Bracket of World Cup 2016).

Ethan Sturm, 3:50 pm: USA next!!!

Sean Pagoada, 3:50 pm: USA next?!?

Josh Mansfield, 3:50 pm: And Canada wins ISR again, 100*-80. I’m not exactly sure how the consolation bracket works but I think this means Norway is guaranteed nothing higher than 13th place. Certainly a huge disappointment for that squad that came into this event with such high hopes.

Sean Pagoada, 3:46 pm: Jon Jackson snitching! 70-70.

Josh Mansfield, 3:44 pm: I’m only half watching this game, and consolation matches in general seem to be less interesting, but there seems to be some great plays on both ends from either team. When you realize that either of these teams can only finish 9th at best, that says a lot for where international quidditch is as a whole.

Josh Mansfield, 2:34 pm: US and Australia have now played 7 times in 4 tournament, and they have never missed each other in bracket. (Semifinals in 2012, Finals in 2014 and 2016, and Quarterfinals in 2018)

Ethan Sturm, 2:06 pm: Neither Belgium not Turkey has ever been on the medal stands of a major international tournament. One of them will be in the Gold Medal Game.

Sean Pagoada, 2:04 pm: Belgium coming a long way from their 2014 forfeit!

Ethan Sturm, 2:03 pm: Belgium catches and joins Turkey, the United Kingdom and Team USA in the medal rounds, which will kick off in about two hours. We will be going back silent until then.

Ethan Sturm, 2:02 pm: Waiting on a possible Belgium catch.

Ethan Sturm, 2:01 pm: Belgium, just needing to hold the ball for 35 seconds up 10, throws it away! Apparently this five-minute overtime has taken 30 minutes of real time.

Ethan Sturm, 1:59 pm: The final quarterfinal is still going. Belgium leads France 130-120 in overtime with 30 seconds left. Three catches have been called off, the announcer estimates overtime has been 25 real-time minutes.

Kevin Oelze, 1:46 pm: Incredible that Turkey is somehow going to the semifinals. This has been a good showing from them, but they’re definitely not one of the best four teams we’ve seen at this tournament.

Ethan Sturm, 1:44 pm: Turkey and Team UK both advance on snitch grabs. Team UK kept even in quaffle points by a team Team USA put away easily yesterday in Italy.

Sean Pagoada, 1:43 pm: The irony is that the best quaffle player this game is from Boston, and the best beaters were from Texas. I think back in the US you’d predict the opposites usually.

Ethan Sturm, 1:39 pm: Archibald’s been the standout quaffle player on back-to-back Team USA’s now, it’s weird we’re surprised.

Tad Walters, 1:38 pm: Archibald is definitely the stand out quaffle player here, which is saying a lot for a team that had a fantastic offensive chaser showing, especially compared to yesterday.

Kevin Oelze, 1:38 pm: The US made defensive adjustments to how they defended Mayling. Rather than try to man him up and stop him, they simply worked to push him off balance constantly and force him away from the hoops. It was really effective, especially with Archibald snagging everything flying through.

Kevin Oelze, 1:37 pm: My Jackson Johnson jersey just arrived, and not a moment too late. I feel like he and Archibald both share MVP honors here.

Josh Mansfield, 1:36 pm: MVP of that game? For me it has to be Jayke Archibald. Made a bunch of huge takeaways on defense, and was our most consistent offensive leader.

Ethan Sturm, 1:36 pm: Make no mistake, Australia was incredibly hard done by not only this matchup but having to see Team USA twice. The Americans made all of the adjustments they needed to make, adjustments only possible because they saw them once already. No matter how many times Team USA played that first game, it’s always in range.

Josh Mansfield, 1:34 pm: “Harry Greenhouse has one move, but. It. Works.” – Everybody

Kevin Oelze, 1:33 pm: Playing the role of Stephen Freeman in this game and walking around holding the quaffle is Marty Bermudez. And Harry Greenhouse ends the tournament for the Australians, 100*-30.

Kevin Oelze, 1:32 pm: Osborn gets beat and flips it back to Mayling. And for once the referees call it correctly. If all you do is ever call the turnover, though, you never make them actually respect the beat call.

Kevin Oelze, 1:31 pm: Honestly, that catch looks clean to me. But snitch rules are so vague you can call any catch good or no good.

Josh Mansfield, 1:31 pm: Cole Travis NEEDS to play the player there. When the quaffle is on your half don’t play fancy, just make the beat and get the turnover.

Kevin Oelze, 1:30 pm: What is Cole Travis doing playing the snitch when Australia has the quaffle?!

Kevin Oelze, 1:28 pm: If I buy a Jackson Johnson jersey right now, do you think I could get it before this game is over? I feel an overwhelming need to express my support.

Josh Mansfield, 1:27 pm: Now that they have the possession, US needs to slow this way down though. Give Greenhouse (or Trudeau) time to catch.

Kevin Oelze, 1:26 pm: The US has to finish that goal. Getting that extra goal of spacing between snitch range would have been huge.

Josh Mansfield, 1:25 pm: This seems to be a weird Rock Paper Scissors situation, where our Boston line seems to have the edge on Australia, Australia has the edge on our Texas line, and our Texas lines, at least for the past two years, have beaten our Boston lines.

Kevin Oelze, 1:24 pm: Jayke Archibald’s hoop defense has absolutely killed the Australian attack. They’re finding a lot more success defending Mayling by trying to push him away from the hoops rather than trying to simply hit him.

Ethan Sturm, 1:24 pm: Archibald and Johnson are bossing this game. Incredible heads up play after heads up play.

Tad Walters, 1:21 pm: Australia really needs a goal or two here so they have a cushion going into SOP. The Australian beaters are nearly as aggressive as they were last game or even earlier this game. Johnson is making them play defensively.

Kevin Oelze, 1:20 pm: Archibald is so smart in transition. Always looks to press, but never runs into a dumb turnover. I’d like to see an American timeout here. We need to reassert ourselves on offense a little bit.

Josh Mansfield, 1:19 pm: Credit to both defenses here. Some clutch plays have been keeping it 50-20 on both ends. Momentum is going to be key here with four minutes until snitch in pitch.

Tad Walters, 1:18 pm: The whole first line for Team USA is skipped the second time through. Based on results over the two days, it’s a good move by Coach Parada.

Josh Mansfield, 1:16 pm: These looping passes over the hoops have not been working for Australia. Every time they end in a ball rolling out the hard boundary with US getting it.

Ethan Sturm, 1:15 pm: Australian’s now without Callum and their offense looks toothless.

Tad Walters, 1:14 pm: Jackson Johnson and Bailee Fields are just taking out the Australian beaters. They were the best set against Australia yesterday and today is no different.

Tad Walters, 1:13 pm: So far this is the dream game for USA. Up 20, 10 minutes in. We’re about to see a card on Australia that’s going to create a power play opportunity as well. This is a good place to be in.

Ethan Sturm, 1:12 pm: It’s time to start carding Australian’s for pass after beat, it’s getting egregious.

Kevin Oelze, 1:09 pm: The problem is that Australia can’t afford to shift the chasers back there, I think. So much of their defensive success came from crowding the hoops area. But the US is finally attacking a different area.

Tad Walters, 1:09 pm: Fantastic looks behind the hoops, Sam Haimowitz is eating this defense up

Ethan Sturm, 1:08 pm: The US has figured out this defense, Australia is actually in trouble here

Kevin Oelze, 1:06 pm: These are the drives they can make. It’s amazing how much better your offense looks when you cut and move rather than just try to cherry pick at the hoops.

Tad Walters, 1:04 pm: Also something interesting to note, in the past three meetings, Australia has drawn first blood on the USA.

Ethan Sturm, 1:03 pm: Augustine Monroe will be forced off pitch with an injury. A full line change needs to accompany it.

Kevin Oelze, 1:03 pm: Give me Boston or give me death.

Ethan Sturm, 1:02 pm: This line is built to play a style the US needs to not be playing here.

Kevin Oelze, 1:01 pm: That was not a heartening first possession for me. Great patience to work for bludger control, but continued to have everyone clustered at the hoops.

Josh Mansfield, 12:59 pm: If any lineup is going to adapt to a previous failure, it’s going to be the Texas line though. How many times has Augie lost in the regular season to come back and win it all?

Kevin Oelze, 12:59 pm: Interesting to see the US start with their full Texas line when it had such a disastrous start in the first game.

Kevin Oelze, 12:58 pm: I think it’s high-key awesome that the teams agreed to the referees and requested referees from the opposing country. Shows really the respect these teams have for each other.

Ethan Sturm, 12:58 pm: Alex Amadol on the referee staff, keeping the long tradition of American referees working USA vs. Australia games.

Ethan Sturm, 12:55 pm: Turkey out in front 20-10 over Germany in another quarterfinal. Turkey of course being rewarded for an out-of-range loss to France yesterday.

Ethan Sturm, 12:50 pm: I think the underappreciated fact of this rivalry is that I think the US and Australian quidditch communities have way more in common with each other than any of the European quidditch communities.

Kevin Oelze, 12:49 pm: If either team’s fans give the losing team garbage for not medalling, I personally volunteer to go after them.

Ethan Sturm, 12:47 pm: Oh yes, for sure. If Team USA spends the first three possessions trying to put the hand through the hoop against three quaffle players floating in the keeper zone, you can safely mark it down for snitch range.

Kevin Oelze, 12:46 pm: I disagree. I think the ball is in the US’s court. They wasted their offensive possessions trying to outmuscle Australia in their first matchup. If they try to do that again they’re going to put themselves in an early hole.

Ethan Sturm, 12:45 pm: So I think this game all comes down to Callum Mayling’s first shift, assuming that shift doesn’t last the whole game. If Australia once again goes ahead during it, as they did yesterday and in 2016, it’s just all but impossible for Team USA to get out of range in so little time. But if Team USA shuts down his offense and can get up 30-10 or so early, they have a real chance to break away.

Kevin Oelze, 12:42 pm: Ok, Australia, I’m going to start this off. I have a confession to make. I’m really proud of you guys. I’m a dinosaur, and I saw you guys way back in the day when you were the butt of jokes for not allowing tackling in your leagues. I played against the University of Sydney when they made their trek to World Cup VII and saw a fresh-faced Luke Derrick lead his team there. The amount your program has grown over the last five years or so is incredible. You guys are now the pinnacle of physical quidditch, and if you hoist the trophy at the end of this tournament, it will have been well earned and the culmination of years and years of work for a country that never once took this for granted, never put restrictions on themselves so they could give themselves the best chances to win.

But I love my national team. So I apologize that I’m about to go insane patriot mode for the rest of this game. USA! USA!

Ethan Sturm, 12:39 pm: Well if I jinxed that game out of existence I will not be disappointed. Time for the game of the weekend, the rubber match between Team USA and Australia. Thanks to this bracket, one of these teams will fail to make the medal rounds for the first-time ever. The finish, due purely to format circumstances, will live in infamy in that country.

Ethan Sturm, 12:37 pm: Annnnd we’re back. Team USA vs. Team Australia will be the next game on the live stream, but unfortunately this Malaysia vs. Ireland game is a tournament director’s worst nightmare.

Ethan Sturm, 11:02 am: We’re bumping the breaks on the live blog for this time slot, but we’ll be back for Australia vs. Team USA in a little over one hour.

Ethan Sturm, 10:55 am: Austria suicide catches to lose to Team USA, 180-60*. The United Kingdom and Australia both pitching shutouts with over 100 points themselves. This Italy-Spain game unsurprisingly the only competitive one of the time slot, though Italy has scored to go up 60-20 just as the snitch is released.

Ethan Sturm, 10:50 am: Meanwhile, Italy’s continued inability to finish against no bludgers has this game still in range at 50-20.

Mitch Cavender, 10:49 am: Interesting decision to put him back in a game they’re running away with after even a minor head injury scare.

Ethan Sturm, 10:48 am: Luke Derrick returning to the game. Good to see. Australia has also started pulling away, now up 80-0.

Tad Walters, 10:46 am: Italy’s beater physicality is working against Spain but it’s getting sloppy. A card or two can give Spain the edge they need to stay in this game.

Ethan Sturm, 10:44 am: Even against Mexico, Australia is struggling to score without Callum Mayling on the pitch. Will be interesting to see how many minutes he logs against Team USA. The Aussies are only up 50-0 to Mexico at the 12-minute mark.

Ethan Sturm, 10:38 am: Italians dominating bludger control but still struggling to contend with a more physical Spain. Winner goes on to play the European Champion United Kingdom, and our model gives both less than a 10 percent chance of making the Medal Rounds.

Mitch Cavender, 10:35 am: Australian beater Luke Derrick leaves the pitch after being kicked in the head. Appears to be okay, would be a massive loss for the Aussies if it was anything serious.

Ethan Sturm, 10:33 am: So while the livestream pitch remains far behind, Team USA is cruising in their match against Austria. The draw was not friendly to the likes of Mexico and Austria today, as they will look to make names for themselves in the consolation brackets.

Ethan Sturm, 10:26 am: Two quarterfinal matches are now all set. France takes down Norway, 110*-30, in the other competitive game in the first time slot, and will face Belgium, who rolled over Poland, while Germany easily advances over the Czech Republic to meet up with Turkey.

Ethan Sturm, 10:25 am: So just to give everyone a heads up on how our coverage will work today, it will likely be on-again, off-again, with us taking breaks in the consolation rounds and rejoining you for bracket play rounds. Next up is the second time slot of the Round of 16, then a consolation slot, then quarterfinals, then two consolation slots, semifinals, one consolation slot, third place game, and finally your gold medal game.

Tad Walters, 10:22 am: I agree with Ethan. Also practice not scoring by just winning one-on-one matchups. Every no bludger drive should be a drive-and-dish play. We’re not going to dunk on Australia straight up so let’s prepare for that by looking for some angles that both ball carriers and receivers feel comfortable with.

Ethan Sturm, 10:21 am: You get out-of-range, then for the rest of the game you pretend every first contact is a full-on, successful tackle, and you just have to score with that restriction?

Josh Mansfield, 10:21 am: If you’re the US, how do you milk every minute out of this Austria game to prepare for Australia?

Ethan Sturm, 10:19 am: Have to agree with you there, Tad. Turkey failed to make the medal rounds of European Games 2017, losing out-of-range to Norway in the quarterfinals. Now they are into the quarterfinals of the World Cup with a very winnable game against Germany and a chance to be in the medal rounds of a major international tournament for the first-time ever.

Tad Walters, 10:16 am: Big emotional win for Turkey. This game was huge for this program in my opinion.

Kevin Oelze, 10:15 am: Josh, I’m not sure I’d argue that these teams are clearly better than Italy, and I’d argue they’re easily worse than all the top six seeds. This just feels like a normal No. 8 vs. No. 9 game to me.

Josh Mansfield, 10:14 am: It appears this is the Round of 16 game that shouldn’t have happened (both teams are very likely top eight). A great prequel of the Team USA vs. Australia quarterfinal that shouldn’t have happened.

Tad Walters, 10:13 am: International snitching is overall horrendous. It’s not that there aren’t good ones, it’s that most good ones are probably also players on these international teams, and like referees, there’s very little incentive for quality ones to travel.

Kevin Oelze, 10:12 am: I’ll answer for Tad, Ethan: even though the seeking is way behind, the snitching is even more behind.

Ethan Sturm, 10:11 am: After a day where most games didn’t even last 20 minutes Tad, what makes you say that.

Tad Walters, 10:11 am: I will say, if there was anything countries were the most behind on this year, it’s definitely seeking. So many seekers I’ve seen this weekend have had no “move” or technique they just flail and reach.

Tad Walters, 10:09 am: Really big fan of this snitch! I hope he’s getting considered for big games later in the day, he’s one of the better I’ve seen

Kevin Oelze, 10:09 am: I don’t know how to describe this properly, but I feel like Canada’s seeking has much more urgency than Turkey’s. Turkey’s seekers seem like they’re just kind of moving at a jog and not trying to really pressure the snitch. Canada is putting pressure on every look they get. Unfortunately for them, the quaffle game is starting to get away from them hard.

Ethan Sturm, 10:08 am: Turkey threatening to get out-of-range as they are shockingly dominating a no-bludger quaffle game.

Kevin Oelze, 10:04 am: Canada has to be the favorite here, but it’s a tie game with snitch on pitch. It just takes one lapse, and both of these teams are prone to them.

Tad Walters, 10:03 am: Canada is way more disciplined on snitch-on-pitch, I don’t see Turkey really making any great moves here.

Kevin Oelze, 10:02 am: Italy vs. Spain is slated for the second game of the livestream. I’m nervously waiting for them to find a reason not to put Australia vs. United States in the quarterfinals on the livestream because they already showed them or something.

Ethan Sturm, 10:01 am: Seekers released in a 50-50 game. Canada, who has never finished worse than fourth in this tournament, are a snitch grab away from going out in the Round of 16.

Kevin Oelze, 9:58 am: Canada jumped out ahead but Turkey’s just been coming back and outplaying them since Canada had an early 30-0 lead. Meanwhile in lower bracket play, Catalonia takes out Slovakia 80*-30, giving them their first win of the tournament and sending the Slovaks to the 25th place game.

Josh Mansfield, 9:51 am: According to our ELO rankings, both the Canadians and the Turkish have seen their pre-tournament odds improve since the beginning of the tournament while losing games they were predicted to lose. The United States and Australia, meanwhile, have seen their odds plummet since the start for doing nothing but playing the game against each other they were forced to play by the format.

Ethan Sturm, 9:48 am: As you mention, Canada and Turkey, who are now playing on the livestream, were rewarded for disappointing Day Ones with a quadrant of the bracket where they only have to beat Germany.

Kevin Oelze, 9:47 am: Isn’t it incredible that one of Germany, Czech Republic, Turkey, or Canada will be a semifinalist, while at least one of the USA and Australia won’t be?

Ethan Sturm, 9:45 am: Good morning, everyone! We are running a bit late here at the site, but luckily for us, so is the World Cup’s livestream pitch. Since we left you towards the end of day one, the bracket has dominated conversation, with Team USA and Australia being placed in the same quadrant of the bracket and the European Champions, the United Kingdom, joining them on that side of the bracket as well.

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