• Men's World Team Championships 2009  • Odense •  

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3/4:      ENG 1-2 AUS
      PAK 2-0 RSA
      CAN 0-2 ITA
9/10:    MAS
2-0 NZL

Detailed Results

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Sat 3rd Oct, Day SEVEN, THE FINAL:

[1] Egypt 2-1 [3] France

[1] Karim Darwish 1-3 Gregory Gaultier
           11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 2-11 (53m)
[3] Ramy Ashour 3-0 Renan Lavigne
            11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (23m)
[2] Amr Shabana 3-1 Thierry Lincou
            11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10 (65m)

Shabana comeback
clinches title for Egypt

You couldn't have asked for a better final or a more dramatic ending - with the match poised at one-all, Thierry Lincou looked set to take the deciding match into a fifth game as he stood at 10-5, but seven points in a row from Amr Shabana foiled French plans and gave Egypt the World Team Title for the second time .... read all about it ...

Framboise reports

The French had the Team Spirit, but the Egyptians had the Team…. The Dream Team that has the luxury to make the current World Champion play number three. Do you realise what I’m saying? Legend Ramy was playing third…

The David v Goliath like match started well for the challengers, Greg and the French camp will be sending a great fruit basket to David Palmer who kept Karim on court till past 11pm last night. The Frenchman played the only logical tactic due to the circumstances, he made it last, and last.

The quality of the shots that Karim and Greg exchanged today was of the highest standard, high pace, tight squash, with the Frenchman directing the rallies, but Karim finding the nicks. Still Greg picked up an awful lot today, and kept the pressure the whole time, … First game to Karim, but at what price, a lot of sweat and energy left on the floor there, and an “easy” game for Greg in the second, 1/1.

A little drop of energy at the start of the third for the Frenchman, soon corrected to take a good lead two games to one. Karim then pays for the hard work done the night before, and during the first and third game. An ecstatic Greg was giving a first point to France….

For the second match really, Ramy was Legend incarnated. He never gave a chance to the French Captain, and found more nicks than I’ve got grey hair, and that’s A LOT! Nicks, winners and rollers were flying around, and quickly, Egypt equalised 1/1.

It was up to Shaabz and Thierry to settle the difference. And France was hoping that the former number one, three times world champion, would, like he did in the previous Team Events, tremble and fold…

None of that today.

If Thierry started against Peter relaxed and serene, he was very nervous today, lining two tins in the first two rallies. Shabana was not that relaxed mind you, but only made three unforced errors in the first game, and playing extremely patient and tight squash. He takes the game quite logically.

Having given his normal first game away, the Frenchman seems to find his previous day's game, and like a elastic, keeps on attacking from way back there and retrieving Shabana’s stunning and out of the blue attacks, to lead comfortably 5/0, 8/3. The Egyptian switches on the magic, but the Frenchman finishes off, 11/7.

The next two games are dramatic. A good drama for the Egyptian, not that good for the French.

A tight third, with Thierry seeming to have the upper hand, 6/3, then 10/7 game ball. Two solutions at that point. Either Shabana is going to go for shots, or he is going to play clever, patient and tight squash. He chooses the later, and it works wonderfully well. He saves a first game ball, a second one. 10/9. At the end of yet again a long and disputed rally, Thierry seems to have won the point with a stunning volley drop shot, and shouts YES!!!!!! thinking that his opponent's shot is not up.

But it is called good by the three refs, and as Thierry interrupted the rally, point for Egypt. 10/10. The French camp is desolated, Thierry is stunned, but doesn’t complain. Shabana finds a superb drop shot, no let for the French, and another drop shot. Game Egypt. Shabana just scored five points in a row.

But the drama is not over, oh no. Thierry is pumped up with the loss of the third, and controls perfectly the shots, way in front and attacking superbly, to lead 6/2 then 10/5 game ball. Surely this time…

But it was not to be for France. Missing a bit under the foot, the Frenchman will admit later, he can’t do anything against Shabana’s winners, who this time, goes for the “shots at will” option. And there again, it works. This time, the Egyptian score seven points in a row. It’s all over.

The French are crushed. The Egyptians are erupting…

"I can’t talk anymore, I broke my voice shouting!!!!

"This is my second World Team title, first time in NZ as a junior, and now as a senior… It’s like life is going in the right direction….

"This is such a crucial moment for us, this is going to be a turning point for Egyptian Squash, and for Shabana, Karim, Wael, and myself, this is massive for us. We are so proud to have taken the title today, and we hope we are going to keep the cup for many many years to come…"

"In the third and fourth, I thought OK, if I’ve got to lose the game, I’m going at least to make him work hard. And I took it point by point, and stayed focused… Thierry makes you work so hard, he applies such pressure with his shots….

"He is the King of Come Backs, how many times he done the same thing to so many players, being down, and coming back, so today, doing it to him, and especially in such an occasion, it’s a bit of a dream….

"There was so much pressure on us, everybody was telling us, you must win, you must win…. So it’s such a relief to actually win the competition, after so many years trying, especially against France, a team with an amazing spirit… It means the world to me to win that title, after 10 years not winning it…"

"This is a difficult moment for us. The journey in this tournament is exceptional for the French Team, with a huge disappointment in the end.

"Our aim was to get to the final, so today was a bonus of course. I feel sorry for our athletes that haven’t fulfil their dreams, while having the potential to do so…

"Still, a great performance for France today."

(National Technical Director)

The final as it happened ....

Karim Darwish 1-3 Gregory Gaultier
 11-8, 5-11, 8-11, 2-11 (53m)

Gaultier puts the French ahead

The perceived logic is that if France was to have any chance of taking its first World Team title then Gregory Gaultier simply had to beast the world number one Karim Darwish in the opening match.

A daunting task, even if you happen to be world number two, but Gaultier proved himself up to the challenge, continuing his fine from from yesterday.

Darwish led throughout the opener, although from 10-5 Gaultier pulled a few points back, and seemed to carry that momentum into the second, levelling with some ease.

The Frenchman was always ahead in the third and, played some delightful flicks and boasts to take a 2-1 advantage, and with Karim looking tired - he did have a five-setter with David Palmer late last night after all - Greg was pulling all the strings as he eased away in the fourth to put France one match away ...

[3] Ramy Ashour 3-0 Renan Lavigne   
            11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (23m)

Fired up Ashour

Talking of daunting tasks, finding yourself up against the reigning World Champion in the third string match is as daunting as they come, and when said World Champion is as fired up as Ramy Ashour was today, you know your hopes are slim.

Renan Lavigne ran willingly, as he always does, but he couldn't make an impression on Ramy, whose shotmaking was breathtaking today ... all over in 23 minutes and we have a decider.

[2] Amr Shabana 3-1 Thierry Lincou
            11-6, 7-11, 12-10, 12-10 (65m)

What a decider ... what a comeback

You couldn't really ask for more for a decider - two former world number ones and world champions, in a reprise of their 2003 World Open final.

And what a match they gave the crowd in Odense, action-packed and tense all the way through.

Shabana took a commanding lead in the first, 8-2, and soon enough finished it off, but it was Lincou who took early control in the second, quickly 5-0 up and soon enough we were level.

The Frenchman continued to dominate in the third, led 6-3, then pulled away again from 6-all to earn three game balls at 10-7. Shabana saved two of them, and when Thierry screamed a premature "YES" thinking he'd won the last of them, he was penalised a stroke and we were into extra points. Shabana made it five points in a row to take the lead.

Undeterred, Lincou again took control in the fourth, this time reaching 10-5, surely we were going to have a decider ...

But no. Amazingly, Shabana did it again, this time reeling off seven points in a row to break French hearts and set Egyptian ones pounding ...

England 1-2 Australia

James Willstrop 3-1 David Palmer
       11-8, 11-2, 11-13, 11-2 (43m)
Alister Walker 2-3 Cameron Pilley 
       12-10, 13-15, 3-11, 11-6, 4-11 (94m)
Peter Barker 1-3 Stewart Boswell
       9-11, 12-10, 7-11, 10-12 (56m)


Sorry, people, but who ever decided to schedule the 3rd/4th place match at 10.30 am, whereas the match between Egypt and Australia finished around 11.30 last night, has probably not a clear idea of the kind of energy those boys leave on the court…

Long story short. James, mentally exhausted. David, mentally fine – he pushed the world number one to five games, and nearly had him in the fourth – but physically as flat as a Halloween pancake.

James attacking as he knows, David digging in the first, to going through a dead patch in the second – went up to 9/0 for James – but regrouping all that Australian pride to save two match balls in the third, and clinching the game 13/11.

Needless to say the fourth was pure formality…

"We knew that we had a game to play today, it’s a bit of a let down, playing for the 3rd 4th, instead of for the title, but we came here ready to play, we don’t want to finish third…

"Motivation first of all comes from not wanting to disappoint people at home, and all the people that are working very hard for us to get the funding which allows us to work towards being the best players in the world, that’s motivation enough.

"But also, I want to stay fit, and work toward future events like Hong Kong, and when you’ve got the opportunity to play against a player such as David, you are not going to throw away the chance…

"We didn’t have a good run this year really, it just didn’t fall into place, it did last time, and the time before that, but not this time…"

"The mind and spirit was there, but the body let me down this week… I actually injured my back playing against Pakistan, and I’m really happy I was able to play at all last night, as in the morning, I just couldn’t get out of bed. But against Karim, I was 6/3 in the fourth, that’s normally my strength to be able to finish up the points, but I was constantly out of balance, a few errors here and there, and it’s gone..

"Considering all this, I’m happy with my performance this week and today. I just hope that Cameron, who played very well yesterday against Ramy, he took the second and was up game ball 10/8 in the first, is gong to get us back right in it…"

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