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Fistball festival gets off to a wet start

The rain came at the end of the first match in Salzburg/Rif and was reluctant to leave again on the opening day of the 2011 Fistball WCH. However, this did not prevent the favourites from following the course they had set. Co-favourites Germany and Switzerland both won their matches in convincing style.

"I now declare the Fistball World Championship open." Ernesto Dohnalek, President of the International Fistball Association, kept it short at the official opening ceremony in the early afternoon in Salzburg/Rif. The same went for Deputy Provincial Governor David Brenner, whose enthusiasm for the sport of fistball has grown ever since the celebrity fistball tournament which was held in the run-up to the WCH in Salzburg. "It is an honour for the Province of Salzburg to be a host for the Fistball WCH," says Brenner. Even though, as General OC General Secretary Hannes Dinböck put it, "The fully automatic lawn sprinkler system" - i.e. rain - came on at the end of the first match and continued for the rest of the day except for a few breaks, the spectators did not let it dampen their spirits and made sure there was a great fistball atmosphere on the centre court.

It was here that the first match of the day between Italy and Japan got underway as scheduled at 11 a.m. The Italians lived up to their role as favourites, winning the match in three sets despite the Japanese putting up a strong defence especially in the third set.
Result Italy - Japan: 3:0 (11:2, 11:8, 14:12)

In the following match between Chile and the Czech Republic the seemingly weaker opponents from the Czech Republic benefited from the onset of heavy showers. The Chileans came out on top in the first set of a classic "service match" and then went on to take the second and third sets as well.
Result: Chile - Czech Republic: 3:0 (11:6, 11:7, 11:5)

The last match of the morning was Germany against Japan or, on paper, title favourite against underdog. Germany were in control from the beginning, allowing Japan to play along for a while before stepping up a gear and finally leaving them no chance. The win in straight sets was an inevitable outcome.
Result: Germany - Japan: 3:0 (11:4, 11:4, 11:4)

It was the Swiss and Czech teams who opened the afternoon session. The Swiss have likewise added their name to the list of title favourites and demonstrated this in impressive style despite some minor problems when setting the ball. 
Result: Switzerland - Czech Republic: 3:0 (11:5, 11:6, 11:3)

Second game, second victory of the day for Germany, who delivered a satisfactory performance against Italy. The Germans took the reins right from the beginning, controlling the match with powerful attacks which left the Italians no chance of getting back into the game.
Result: Germany - Italy 3:0 (11:5, 11:7, 11:4)

The teams representing Switzerland and Chile faced each other in the last game of day one. The Chileans had some ambitious plans for the match but were finally forced to surrender victory to the Swiss despite putting on a brave fight - especially in the second set. The Swiss celebrated a 3:0 victory in what was at times a high-class match, not least thanks to Cyrill "Fausto" Schreiber being brought on for the first time in attack.
Result: Switzerland - Chile: 3:0 (11:4, 12:10, 11:8)

Sascha Ball - Germany