Race for canoe polo final four at World Games goes down to the wire

A dramatic final day of preliminary canoe polo matches at the 2017 World Games has set up several tantalising semi-final match-ups for Sunday, including current World Champions New Zealand taking on the reigning World Games gold medallists, Germany, in the women’s draw.

In the men’s draw Germany, looking to also defend its World Games title, finished on top of the qualifying pool, but only by goal difference ahead of Spain.

World champions Italy, after a slow start on the opening day, managed to find form on Saturday to climb into the top four and set up a semi-final clash with Spain on Sunday.

Germany will take on France in the other men’s semi.

In the women’s draw, a dramatic 4-3 win for France over Germany was enough to leapfrog into top spot on the ladder.

France looked to be cruising to victory at 4-1 midway through the second half, but two quick goals from Germany’s Katharina Kruse suddenly threw the match wide open.

The final minutes were frenetic, but France managed to hold on, securing the number one position and pushing New Zealand into second on goal difference.

Italy scraped into fourth place courtesy of a 2-all draw against Canada, with Netherlands the unlucky team to miss out.

France will take on Italy in one women’s semi, with Germany and New Zealand featuring in the second match-up.

Host nation Poland gave their home fans plenty to get excited about, including an arm-wrestle with Germany which saw scores locked at 4-all with just four minutes to play.

But the World Games title holders broke the hearts of the Polish fans with two late goals, snatching not only a 6-4 win but also top spot.

Earlier Polish fans were dancing in the aisles when the men’s team snatched a win over New Zealand with just seven seconds remaining.

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