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Austria beat joint favourites Brazil

After trailing 0:2 in sets in the evening match, Austria's fistball team finally clinched a 3:2 victory against Brazil to continue their unbeaten run. Brazil won the second top match of the day, beating Argentina by the same score.

The weather was once again unsettled but all the games and most of the fans of the 2011 Fistball WCH were largely unaffected and mutually inspiring.  

Argentina vs. Namibia 3:0 (13:11, 11:8, 11:6)
Both teams needed time to settle into the first match on day two of the WCH with poor court conditions due to persistent rain. The first set remained exciting until the end, with Argentina defending two set points and going on to win 13:11. Namibia dominated the game in the second set but were unable to keep their lead and lost it 11:8. They lost the third set as well, which meant a straight sets win for Argentina. This result also meant that Austria would only have to play the evening match on this day.

USA vs. Serbia 2:3 (9:11, 11:8, 11:13, 11:6, 10:12)
The match between the two third-placed teams was an end-to-end thriller. It was also the first WCH encounter to go the full distance over five sets. Serbia finally emerged as the victors despite the USA having several match points.

Brazil win top match 3:2 (11:6, 6:11, 7:11, 11:6, 12:10)
The stage was then set for title favourites Brazil and Argentina. Both teams demonstrated fistball at its finest. In the first set Brazil were unable to open up a clear lead until the game had reached 5:5 but they went on to take it 11:6. The Argentinians took advantage of the Brazilians' game becoming somewhat sluggish in the second set and led 8:5 at one point after trailing to begin with. Brazil stopped their opponents' run only briefly and the Argentinians won their serve to take the second set 11:6. Argentina remained strong in the third set, stayed in front the whole time and finally won it 11:7. As the fourth set got underway the Argentinians stayed cool and continued to take things in their stride - exactly what the Brazilians, who were feeling the pressure, were failing to do. Brazil fought back nevertheless and won the set. Long, exciting rallies had the fans on the edge of their seats in the fifth set. It was match point for Argentina, then match point for Brazil which finally gave the WCH favourites a 3:2 victory. A hugely watchable match!

On a side court Namibia beat the USA in straight sets.
USA vs. Namibia 0:3 (3:11, 5:11, 6:11)

Hosts come from behind to win! Austria vs. Brazil 3:2 (10:12, 9:11, 11:8, 11:9, 11:6)
Then came the highlight of the day: Austria's match against Brazil. The Austrian supporters gathered in large numbers and were in fine voice at the Vienna/Meidling venue. The weather remained unsettled, the showers kept coming back and all the fans could do was sit and watch as the Seleção take the first two sets - which could have gone either way - after a hard fight. Attacker Patrick stood out in the strong Brazilian team but he was missing in third set and the Austrians found their rhythm better on the heavy pitch. Winfried Kronsteiner's team gave it their all and managed to turn the game round. They drove each other on and came from behind to take the third and fourth sets. Brazilian coach Gastão had seen enough and brought Patrick, who had been so successful before, back on. He assumed the role of main attacker and put the Seleção back in front. However, the hosts managed to contain him now as well. Cheered on by the emotional fans, the Austrians clinched the fifth set to win the match 3:2.

What the players said:
Jean Andrioli: "I can't explain how I felt in this match. Today we saw how strong Brazil are. I sang both national anthems. It was a particularly emotional experience for me. Patrick was amazing!" 
Trainer Winfried Kronsteiner: "We had a tough time. Brazil had already played a match on the day and we hadn't. One or two balls made the difference. My compliments to the players who didn't give up even when things were not going their way. Our fantastic defence finally tipped the scales. The atmosphere was awesome, despite the weather. So many people were here and cheered us on. I can't praise the organisers in Vienna enough."    

Martin Weiss - Austria