Day 1 in Lodz
8 sep 2018 0 kommentarer
Welcome to Lodz, a pleasant town completely contrary to the expectation of a broken-down former textile industry slum. Our hotel was a cleverly rebuilt textile mill. Why around a million Poles have chosen to live in the likes of Bolton and Wigan is a mystery to me.
The tournament is played in a modern sporting complex with a fine modern stand on one side and nothing on the other. The story is that the new stadium was started when the local football team was in the first division and stopped when they got relegated. I saw afterwards that the standard of the TV-coverage was outstanding.
In the Swedish pool A France started off with a narrow win 7 - 5 against Georgia.
Sweeden´s starting line-up against England was Andrew, Rikus, Marini, Matt, Philip, Ian and Tobbe, possibly our best seven.
Back and forward, Marini yellow card, England over in corner. After 5 minutes they get another and then back again immediately to make it 15 - 0 at the half.
Sweden start with some lovely interpassing and Philip Murphy goes over in the corner. Sweden under pressure but tackle well, England get a final score and convert on the whistle to make it 22 - 5. At various stages in the second half Andy, Philip and Tobbe ut, Robin, Nordgren and Fredrik A. in. Quite a strong English side, not a bad performance by Sweden but two or three handling errors put them under pressure.
In pool B, Spain got a late try to beat Portugal 15 - 14, while Ireland made heavy weather of beating an improved Italy 19 - 7.
In pool C Germany proved too big and strong for a young Welsh side, winning 24 - 12. And in the final match of the round Russia were too skilful for a hard-working Polish side, 19 - 5 the final score.
Round 2 and its France - England. A nailbiter which England wIn on full-time with an 80 m. run, 17 - 14.
Sweden start off with Ian, Robin, Axel, Matt, Alfred, Tobbe and Andy. Red card for high tackle on Tobbe. Sweden take a scrum and good passing sends Axel over. Daish off injured. Martini in. Georgia press strongly but Sweden break out and Ian runs away to score. 12 - 0 at half-time.
Errors from Sweden, try under posts for Georgia. Sweden come back and get a penalty try. But Georgia, down to five men, come back and score again.. Georgia keep attacking. But Sweden hold on to win 19 - 14. Still too many errors, but a win is a win.
Pool 2 and Ireland take on Spain. Two good teams but Ireland just a bit sharper, 17 - 7. Another close game, Portugal - Italy, with Portugal a bit more pace out wide. 19 - 7 to Portugal.
Pool 3 continues with Russia - Germany. Russia were off the mark quickly and led 15 - 0 but Germany fought back to 15 - 14 at the close.
Completing the second round it was Wales - Poland. Despite “Polska, Polska” ringing in our ears it was Wales who drew the longest straw to scrape home 14 - 10.
Final round, where placings will be determined. England started off against Georgia. Georgia were the better team and deservedly won 19 - 17 against an uninspiring England. Not good news for Sweden who now need to beat France to make the quarter-finals.
Sweden start with Ian, Philip, Tobbe, Axel, Matt, Alfred and Martini. Early on another high tackle on Tobbe, another red card. Sweden on the attack, Tobbe gets over. Then Sweden back again and Matt goes over on the burst. 12 - 0 to Swede at half-time and still on the attack, Sweden off again and Ian runs away to make it 17 - 0. France try to hit back but Swedish defence very solid. Ian tremendous at sweeper. Matt gets a yellow card and France finally get a score, but too little too late, 17 - 7 to Sweden. . Great win for Sweden!
Pool B, it´s Ireland against Portugal. Ireland coming on to their game, go 28 - 0 up after ten minutes. Portugal get two back but it´s 35 - 12 at the death. Spain just sharper in the second game, beating Italy 24 - 12.
In pool C, Russia never needed to get out of second gear against Wales who had little to offer, although they did get one in overtime. 33 - 7 to Russia. To round off a pretty good tournament for the Poles they just held on to beat Germany 12 - 0 in the final match.
So now we know the quarter-finals for Day 2:
England - Portugal
Russia - France
Ireland - Sweden
Germany - Spain
And the bottom four:
Poland - Italy
Georgia - Wales
Can Sweden still avoid relegation? Only if they do really well on Day 2. We can but hope. Russia and Ireland are probably the two best teams but the remaining ones have all lost at least one game so far,