10:41 am
16 Apr 2024

Defending Champions England To Face Australia In World Final In India

11 Dec 2007

England will face Australia in a surprise final of the ICL Men's World Team Championship after title-holders England, the second seeds, romped to victory over European rivals France, the third seeds, and eight times champions Australia upset hot favourites Egypt in today's semi-finals in the Indian city of Chennai.

It will be the championships' first Australia/England final since 1991 - and the first meeting between the two mighty squash nations since 2001 when Australia beat England in the semi-finals on home soil en-route to winning the title for the seventh time.

Top seeds Egypt took the early lead in the first semi-final when third string Mohammed Abbas beat Australia's world championship debutant Cameron Pilley 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-8.

But experienced number one David Palmer brought Australia back into the tie in powerful style when he beat Egypt's world number one and world champion Amr Shabana 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 in 55 minutes.

The victory not only avenged Palmer's loss to the Egyptian earlier this month in the World Open semi-finals in Bermuda - but it also brought to an end Shabana's remarkable 24-match unbeaten run since October, in which he won four PSA Super Series titles, each of which included wins over the Australian!

Australia celebrated their victory - and a place in the biennial event's final for the 11th time - when Canberra's world No15 Stewart Boswell beat Karim Darwish, ranked seven places higher, 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 in 73 minutes.

"We had no pressure being No 4 seeds," Palmer told www.squashsite.co.uk later. "At Bermuda he (Shabana) played well, and I didn't. Here I played well and he looked tired. Anyone who has won four titles would be. I am surprised Egypt used him in every match. You need a break. The mental tiredness is terrible - more than physical."

Later, England produced an impressive performance to beat France 2/1. Already celebrating a record 14th successive appearance in the event's last four, the three times champions are now looking forward to their third successive final - and their seventh appearance in the climax since making their debut in the championship in 1981.

Peter Barker, the world No13 from Essex, gave England a decisive lead after the opening rubber, beating France's third string Renan Lavigne 11-6, 11-6, 11-6.

But it was the England No1 Nick Matthew who played one of the matches of his life to clinch victory for his country. The 27-year-old from Sheffield crushed France's in-form world No3 Gregory Gaultier, runner-up in the World Open less than two weeks ago, 11-3, 11-6, 11-4.

It was a stunning performance by US Open champion Matthew, who ended a four-match losing sequence to the Frenchman this year.

In the final 'dead' rubber between the second strings, Yorkshireman James Willstrop went down 10-11 (0-2), 8-11 to former world champion Thierry Lincou as France gained a consolation win.

"It was certainly one of the best England performances I have seen," said National Coach David Pearson. "Peter, who is making his first appearance in a World Team Championship here, played a confident opening match to give us the lead and then Nick attacked right from the start and really didn't give Greg a look in.

"It was a great performance from Nick, and one which will no doubt give him a lot of confidence in his top string match against Australia's former world champion David Palmer tomorrow," added Pearson.

In the lower position play-offs, Malaysia beat Netherlands 3/0 and will now take on Canada in the play-off for fifth place. Victory for Malaysia would be the nation's best finish in 13 appearances in the event since 1979.

Despite losing 2/1 to Canada today - in which the country's number one Saurav Ghosal beat Canadian top string Shahier Razik in 91 minutes, the longest match of the tournament - hosts India can record their best finish in the event since 1979 if they beat Netherlands in the play-off for 7th place.

Semi-finals (playing order 3-1-2):
[4] AUSTRALIA bt [1] EGYPT 2-1
Cameron Pilley lost to Mohammed Abbas 11-7, 7-11, 4-11, 8-11 (62m)
David Palmer bt Amr Shabana 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 (55m)
Stewart Boswell bt Karim Darwish 11-7, 7-11, 11-9, 11-8 (73m)

[2] ENGLAND bt [3] FRANCE 2-1
Peter Barker bt Renan Lavigne 11-6, 11-6, 11-6 (42m)
Nick Matthew bt Gregory Gaultier 11-3, 11-6, 11-4 (41m)
James Willstrop lost to Thierry Lincou 10-11 (0-2), 8-11 (25m)

5th - 8th place play-offs:
[6] CANADA bt [10] INDIA 2-1
Shawn Delierre bt Siddharth Suchde 11-3, 11-10 (3-1), 10-11 (3-5), 11-8 (68m)
Shahier Razik lost to Saurav Ghosal 10-11 (0-2), 11-9, 10-11 (0-2), 11-6, 9-11 (91m)
Matthew Giuffre bt Ritwik Bhattacharya 11-8, 11-6, 6-11, 11-7 (50m)

[5] MALAYSIA bt [8] NETHERLANDS 3-0
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan bt Tom Hoevenaars 3-11, 11-10 (4-2), 11-4, 8-11, 11-3 (65m)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar bt Laurens Jan Anjema 11-9, 11-8, 11-3 (46m)
Ong Beng Hee bt Dylan Bennett 11-6, 11-10 (2-0) (15m)

9th - 12th place play-offs:
[9] WALES bt [12] SOUTH AFRICA 2-1
Jethro Binns lost to Adrian Hansen 8-11, 11-7, 11-9, 10-11 (1-3), 8-11 (69m)
David Evans bt Jesse Engelbrecht 11-2, 11-10 (4-2), 11-9 (42m)
Rob Sutherland bt Stephen Coppinger 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 10-11 (2-4), 11-8 (66m)

[7] PAKISTAN bt [11] IRELAND 2-1
Yasir Butt bt Derek Ryan 11-4, 11-4, 8-11, 11-8 (43m)
Aamir Atlas Khan bt Liam Kenny 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (40m)
Farhan Mehboob lost to John Rooney 11-10 (2-0), 8-11, 10-11 (0-2) (39m)

13th - 16th place play-offs:
[14] USA bt [15] HONG KONG 2-1
Richard Chin lost to Max Lee 2-11, 10-11 (0-2), 3-11 (33m)
Julian Illingworth bt Dick Lau 11-4, 11-9, 11-4 (26m)
Christopher Gordon bt Wai Hang Wong 11-2, 11-3, 11-8 (33m)

[13] NEW ZEALAND bt [16] GERMANY 2-1
Joshua Greenfield bt Johannes Voit 9-11, 11-9, 11-10 (3-1), 7-11, 11-10 (2-0) (58m)
Kashif Shuja lost to Simon Rosner 10-11 (0-2), 9-11, 6-11 (36m)
Campbell Grayson bt Tim Weber 11-10 (3-1), 10-11 (0-2), 11-10 (2-0), 11-4 (63m)

17th - 20th place play-offs:
[17/24] SWEDEN bt [17/24] JAPAN 3-0
Rasmus Hult bt Yuta Fukui 11-4, 11-5, 10-11 (0-2), 11-7 (26m)
Christian Drakenberg bt Jun Matsumoto 6-11, 11-10 (2-0), 11-3, 11-2 (26m)
Badr Abdel Aziz bt Takanori Shimizu 11-4, 9-11, 11-9 (26m)

[17/24] SCOTLAND bt [17/24] SPAIN 2-1
Harry Leitch bt Arturo Santo Tomas 11-2, 11-7, 11-4 (29m)
Alan Clyne bt David Vidal 11-10 (2-0), 11-10 (2-0), 11-8 (46m)
Stuart Crawford lost to Alejandro Garbi Caro 10-11 (3-5), 11-8, 10-11 (0-2) (41m)

21st - 24th place play-offs:
[17/24] FINLAND bt [17/24] AUSTRIA 3-0
Henrik Mustonen bt Andreas Freudensprung 11-5, 11-5, 11-10 (3-1) (28m)
Olli Tuominen bt Aqeel Rehman 9-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-6 (48m)
Matias Tuomi bt Jakob Dirnberger 11-9, 11-7 (20m)

[17/24] KUWAIT bt [17/24] KENYA 3-0
Nasser B Al-Ramzi bt Hartaj Bains 11-8, 11-6, 11-4 (23m)
Bader Al Hussaini bt Hardeep Reel 11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 10-11 (1-3), 11-5 (45m)
Abdullah Almezayen bt Rajdeep Bains 11-4, 11-3 (14m)

25th - 28th place play-offs:
[25/29] BERMUDA bt [25/29] VENEZUELA 2-1
Robert Maycock bt Richard Prieto 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 (19m)
Chase Toogood bt Francisco Valecillo 11-7, 11-7, 11-9 (21m)
Melrindo Caines lost to Juan Pablo Sanchez 5-11, 5-11 (11m)

[25/29] SRI LANKA bt [25/29] RUSSIA 2-1
Anura Hewage bt Valery Litvinko 11-4, 7-11, 11-9, 11-5 (28m)
Saman Thilakaratna lost to Alexei Severinov 9-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 9-11 (51m)
Navin Samarasinghe bt Sergey Kostrykin 11-10 (3-1), 11-4, 11-10 (4-2) (25m)