Alright, having finished the group stage, the top two from each group advance to the knockout stage. The first round is seeded according to group, so it's very easy to plot out. Let's see how they fare in this round.
Canada v Brazil: Canada, convincingly
As I said earlier, Canada have a strong claim for the #2 spot in this event. Brazil will give them good resistance, but this bout is Canada's for the taking
Sweden v Germany: Germany, by a hair
If there's an upset in the knockout round, it's right here. Bear City just came off an excellent trip to the WFTDA playoffs, and those skaters will be ready to prove themselves all over again. To see a sort-of preview of this bout, watch the WFTDA European Tournament next week and see Bear City take on Stockholm. Expect fireworks in this bout!
Netherlands v New Zealand: New Zealand, but it's close
Here's another good opportunity for an upset. NZ are seeded, and did well in 2011, but Netherlands did fairly well in the European tournament, so this one's very hard to call.
USA v Norway: USA, convincingly
No matter who advances in second from Group 1, their tournament ends after one knockout bout. USA's just a solid wall of red, white, and blue, and there are few in the world able to bash through it.
France v Argentina: France, with room to spare
Argentina are a big unknown coming in to this tournament, but France have compiled a heck of a record in Europe. They're coming in hot on the heels of a victory in the European tournament, so they'll be ready for whatever Argentina can throw at them.
Belgium v Finland: Finland, but it's close
Remember, Finland are in the group of death. It's hard to say whether they or Scotland will be in this bout, but either one can take on Belgium. This one will be down to the wire!
Australia v Scotland: Australia, comfortably
This is the true prize for winning the group of death--whoever takes second must face Australia! Being only the second ever non-US nation to get skaters to the WFTDA champs, I think this one's easy to call.
England v West Indies: England, rather strongly
West Indies will be a tough competitor, but this is one of those "story ends here" bouts. England will have their eyes on the prize and be rolling right over their at this stage.
End of Round One.
At this point, teams will be ranked by points plus/minus, and re-seeded into an 8-team bracket accordingly. That ranking will likely look like this:
- New Zealand
From here on in, things are much easier to predict, except one bout.
USA v Germany: USA
Canada v Finland: Canada
England v New Zealand: England
Australia v France: Australia
USA v Australia: USA
Canada v England: England, just barely
USA v England: USA, decisive victory
I'm not honestly sure how the consolation pairings will be calculated, but I'm sure they're be some absolutely thrilling bouts in there, as well. I'm excited to see the whole world on display, and I'm excited to learn who our new heroes are. The men's world cup gave us El Pibe, who'll be the standout star from Dallas, I wonder?
I can't wait to see South Africa skate out. Their continent is the next frontier for our sport, and it will be amazing to see them compete at this level. The same is true for Japan. I saw their male counterparts over in Birmingham learn so, so quickly and showcase some amazing skill--can't wait to see what the women can do!
See you in Dallas! Or, if you can't be there, see you online!