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Bring on the dream final: AUT vs. GER!

The semi-final matches at the Waldstadion Pasching venue made sure the 2011 Fistball WCH party continued. And the players reacted accordingly. The most exciting game of the day was also the last, which saw Austria secure their place in the final in a seven-set thriller.

The stands at the Waldstadion Pasching were already starting to fill up in time for the first match at 10.30 a.m. And the fans just kept coming until the highlight of the day - Austria against Argentina.

Serbia beat Japan
The spectators were clearly behind the small Japanese delegation but the fistballers from the Land of the Rising Sun were unable to stop the inevitable from happening. Serbia dominated the qualifying round match against Japan from the beginning. Japan recovered and pulled back to one-all in sets but the Europeans lived up to their role as favourites and won the match although they struggled at times. Serbia will now be playing for ninth place. In their last match from 12.30 p.m. on Saturday the Japanese will be fighting to avoid last place in the tournament.
Serbia vs. Japan: 3:1 (11:7, 5:11, 11:8, 11:8)

USA beat Czech Republic
Motivated and inspired by victory the previous day, the USA began with some consistent setting and hard, precise strikes from Mathew Henrichs. Neither of the two teams was able to open up a clear lead in the first set and both squandered set points. The second set was one of long, exciting rallies with some better finishing by the USA which the Czechs struggled to cope with. The third set got off to a balanced start but the U.S. boys maintained the upper hand and will now face Serbia in the battle for ninth place.
USA vs. Czech Republic 3:0 (14:12,11:3,11:5)

Switzerland and Chile qualify for World Games
The Swiss won their match against Italy in impressive style with a 3:0 victory Italy were hopelessly out of their depth in every respect in the first two sets and glimmers of hope against the Swiss were few and far between. The Swiss took full advantage of this and they also defended strongly. It was only at the beginning of the third set that the Azzurri were able to contain the Swiss to a certain extent and the teams drew level at 4:4. The Swiss Express soon started to roll again, however, getting up even more steam this time. Marcel Cathomas' team launched one attack after the other and the last point of the match was won in symptomatic fashion with the Italians making a mistake.
Switzerland vs. Italy 3:0 (11:2, 11:4, 11:4)

Chile began with powerful attacks from the brothers Joaquín and Alvaro Mödinger. Namibia pulled back point by point but it came too late to win the set and Chile stayed in control. While Michael Baas and Christoph Kubirske were reaching peak performance with their strikes, the Namibian defenders were struggling above all with the targeted serves flying across the tape from the Chileans. Namibia's tactic of taking the spikers out of the game with their service did not pay off. Chile emerged as the winners of the keenly contested second and third sets and qualified for the World Games as a result.
Chile vs. Namibia 3:0 (11:8, 11:8, 11:7)

Semi-final 1: Brazil stunned by Germany
Result: 4:1 (11:5, 11:5, 11:4, 8:11, 11:6)
The first three sets left the Brazilians shaking their heads in disbelief. Germany did as they pleased while the Seleção seemed harmless, making too many errors and lacking the necessary precision. Germany took things in their stride and cruised to victory in the first three sets against the unstable Brazilians.
The fourth set was do-or-die for the Brazilians. They rolled up their sleeves again, demonstrated fistball at its finest and had some excellent attacks at the tape. The German defenders also showed some slight weaknesses for the first time in the game. Brazil took this set 11:8.
The story of sets 1 to 3, however, soon repeated itself in the next set. In sheer frustration one Brazilian kicked a ball clean out of the stadium but went unpunished. Germany got back into their safe and consistent build-up of attacks and the crowd cheered them on with every point they won. Patrick Thomas tapped the ball over the tape to take the Germans into the final of this World Championship and Brazil will be fighting for bronze in the third place play-off.

What they said about the first semi-final:
Brazilian team assistant Jorge Eduardo Sueffert: "It was a special match at a fantastic venue, it's simply awesome to play here. Congratulations to Germany. Germany had a brilliant day. We changed our strategy because you have to play differently in Pasching. Regrettably, it wasn't enough for us today."

Brazil's trainer Valdir Simioni: "The Germans simply played well today - better than us. Despite that, I have to say we are extremely impressed by the location, it really is great to play here."

Germany's head coach Chris Löwe: "With Thomas and Schubert we have two good attackers and are not dependent on one player, we are flexible. A big thank-you to the fans, their support out there was tremendous."

Germany's main attacker Patrick Thomas: "The support from our fans was really important and we got a great boost from everyone who made the journey to see the game."

Semi-final 2: Austria on the ropes against Argentina but win in seven sets
It was perhaps too much of a fairytale start for the hosts as they took the first set 11:2 in next to no time, cheered on by 6,500 fans who transformed the stadium into a sea of red and white Austrian flags. The second set also went to the Austrian team in impressive style, this time 11:5.
But it was at this point that the Argentinians showed that their nerves were strong. Two sets later and the scores were level at two sets all thanks to Martin Vazquez, who has played brilliantly throughout the entire WCH, and the party atmosphere was suddenly under threat. Austria went on to win the fifth set and once again Argentina had the right answer: 3:3 and the match had to go the full distance to decide the outcome. Klemens Kronsteiner, Martin Weiss, Christian Leitner, Karl Rick and Siegfried Simon summoned all the strength they could find and won the last set 11:5. The stadium in Pasching erupted, and the stage is now set for the classic duel Austria against Germany.

What they said about the second semi-final:
Martin Weiss: "This is why Winnie Kronsteiner wanted me back in the team. My experienced helped me. I wanted to come on earlier and was raring to go. It's awesome to play in front of such a crowd at such a venue."

Dietmar Weiss, Austrian captain: "The first two sets went really smoothly and then Argentina knew what we were up to. The atmosphere was incredible, the fans cheered us on like there was no tomorrow. We have a 50-50 chance of winning the final."

Karl Rick, Austrian defender: "Argentina played incredibly well again today, we did our best but still only just won. Hats off to Martin Vasquez, he really is one hell of a cool guy! We pushed ourselves once more and luckily we had enough resources to win a seven-set match."

Winfried Kronsteiner, Austrian trainer: "We lost our way after two sets. Our opponent coped better with our game. I'm proud of how the team picked themselves up again. This has had a liberating effect on us, now anything is possible.".

Alfredo Thiesing, Argentinian delegation leader: "The fans were incredible. It goes without saying that we are sad to have lost, because we thought we could win it. Perhaps it is good for the WCH though that Austria are in the final because that will guarantee that this fantastic atmosphere in the stadium will continue. Nevertheless we are proud of ourselves and of what we have achieved."

News on the ticket front

Remaining tickets (standing and seating) for the final are available: Tickets.
Matches start at 12.30 p.m. with the final scheduled for 8.15 p.m.

Bring on the dream final: AUT vs. GER!