Top seeds off to solid start in Marseille
The 2017 edition of the WSF Men’s World Teams got under way in Marseille with the first of three days of Pool Matches.
The 24 teams are split into eight pools of three, and today saw the top 8 seeds all play their opening matches against the third-ranked teams in their pools.
Not surprisingly, all eight matches finished 3-0 to the top seeds, although it was defending champions England who came closest to dropping a game, their 2013 hero James Willstrop taken to five games against Argentina’s Roberto Pezzota.
FIRST SESSION RESULTS
Pool A:  Egypt 3-0 Pakistan
Pool F:  New Zealand 3-0 South Africa
Pool G:  Germany 3-0 Jamaica
SECOND SESSION RESULTS
Pool B:  England 3-0 Argentina
Pool E:  Hong Kong 2-0 Iraq
Pool H:  India 3-0 Austria
THIRD SESSION RESULTS
Pool C:  France 3-0 Ireland
Pool D:  Australia 3-0 Czech Rep.
Day Two sees the top seeds up against the second-ranked teams in their pools.
This is the first time that the biennial event has been held since 2013 – also in France – following the postponement and cancellation of the 2015 edition, scheduled to be held in Kuwait and then Egypt.
So England return to France as defending champions and second seeds, having beaten the then-defending champions and 2017 top seeds Egypt in the final in Mulhouse, reversing the result of the 2011 final in Paderborn. The Egyptians, three-time winners, start their campaign with a Pool A match against six-time champions (but not since 1993) Pakistan, while England’s opening Pool B opponents are Argentina.
Hosts France, having made the semi-finals in every edition since 2003 and seeded #3, will also be in contention and they begin on the glass court against Ireland in Pool C. Fourth seeds Australia – eight time champions but not since beating France in the 2003 final – open up in Pool D against the Czech Republic.
With 24 teams, the competition is split into eight pools of three, the top two in each progressing to the knockout stages. The top eight seeds play the other two teams in their groups on the first two days, so if all goes to seeding the third round of Pool matches would all essentially be knockout matches with the winner reaching the last sixteen.