Finland Billiard Team Secures Semi Seat

Finland Billiard Team Secures Semi Seat
The Finnish billiards team will meet Canada in one of the semi-finals in the 2007 World Cup of Pool. The Finnish duo of Marcus Juva and Mika Immonen defeated Switzerland’s Marco Tschudi and Dimitri Jungo by 9-4 at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam.
The last two European sides met in the third quarter-finals as tenth seeds Finland went up against 15th seeds Switzerland.
Both sides had performed well to reach this stage with Finland defeating Qatar and England, while Switzerland had eliminated Hungary and USA.
Finland won the lag and made a lightning start as they broke and ran out in both the opening racks to move 2-0 ahead with Switzerland not even getting a shot.
When they did finally get to the table, they made a spectacular impact as Jungo kicked in a fantastic 3-9 combination to quickly pull one rack back.
The fourth rack was the longest of the match so far after Switzerland failed to take advantage of an Immonen error when he left the 1-ball hanging over the bottom left pocket. However, Switzerland still managed to win the rack in what was already looking as a tight and tense encounter that could go down to the wire.
Both sides played a nervous fifth rack as Juva left the blue 2 on before Jungo did likewise on the red 3 that remained hanging over the right side pocket. That proved to be the decisive mistake as Finland regained the lead.
There was then some controversy as Switzerland took a toilet break, but the Finnish players were convinced that this was a strategic move and had been done to throw Finland off their game.
Finland, who still had the break, responded in the best way possible as they let their pool do the talking by running out the next for a 4-2 advantage.
The earlier controversy had seemed to fire up the Finnish duo and they moved closer to their victory target of nine by making it 5-2.
Switzerland had a rare chance in the next as Immonen failed to sink a long-range 2-ball and overcut it but Tschudi could also not pocket the same ball and Juva eventually downed the 9-ball for the fourth successive rack for Finland.
The crucial moment in the ninth came when Immonen lost position going to the 8-ball with only two balls left on the table. Juva tried to play safe but left Jungo a long-range attempt on the 8-ball, which the Swiss player made thanks to a thin cut, before Tschudi pocketed the 9-ball for 6-3.
Immonen missed the 1-ball to bring the Swiss back to the table and the fired-up Switzerland players reduced the deficit by 1. It was not long before the gap was back to three racks as a 1-9 carom from Immonen made it 7-4.
It was the same player who finished off the next rack and Finland were now on the hill and looked on course to advance into the semi-final. There was no love lost between the two countries as both teams were desperate to win the match.
Juva attempted a table-length bank but got it wrong to give Switzerland another chance. With a host of other World Cup players watching the action, it should have been a rack that Switzerland won but Jungo choked on a simple-looking 9-ball, which was left over the left side pocket for Immonen to end the match.
I felt better than in previous games, said Juva. I was a little bit concerned that I wasn’t nervous enough and if you feel more relaxed you start to be over confident but ten minutes before the game the nerves got me again.
I played very carefully and with this table and this format you have to play carefully.