Men defeat Egypt to set up Brazil tie at World Cup

Russell Moore

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England’s men romped into the ITTF Team World Cup quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over African Champions Egypt with wins for Liam Pitchford, Sam Walker and in the doubles.

With England progressing as runners-up they were gifted the ideal quarter-final draw against Brazil who shocked Hong Kong to take top spot in their group, with the winner facing the mouth-watering prospect of the winners between China and Germany.

The Brazil tie will be shown live on the BBC website – click here to watch

England were boosted prior to their meeting with Egypt with the news that top African seed Omar Assar would not be playing in the tie but instead replaced by El-Sayed Lashin.

After losing the doubles to Japan yesterday, England were keen to start on the front foot and a doubles victory from Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker started the momentum early doors. Although they dropped the second end, they were positive in the next two – sealing the victory with a great match winning point at 11-5, 5-11, 11-8, 11-9.

Next up was yesterday’s star Liam Pitchford and his singles victory over Mohamed El-Beiali had just one blip as he let the second game slip away easily at 11-3. Otherwise he was, showing the form from Thursday night that saw him defeat Tomokazu Harimoto, picking the ball up early and winning points on both wings.

Drinkhall, however, could not carry through the momentum, starting slowly to drop the first game 11-4 to Ahmed Saleh he appeared sluggish. He recovered to take the next two games 11-7 and 11-6 and looked in control but once again Saleh fought back.. From a seemingly confident position for Drinkhall,  Saleh won the next two games and gave Egypt a lifeline.

This brought Sam Walker onto the table for his first singles action in the tournament. He quickly wrapped up the match with a comprehensive 3-0 victory, winning points from an array of positions around the court, he was comfortable with everything El-Beiali threw at him. This could yet prove to be useful time on the court as the latter stages of the World Cup develop.

Drinkhall spoke of the result: “It’s great to get through in second place, which is enough. First would have been ideal, but we’ve not performed well enough yet to warrant that.

“We knew we were favourites against Egypt but they played a strong match, especially without their number one player, and tested us in every match.”

Pitchford added: “I’m obviously happy to get through the group and into the quarter-finals. We knew it was going to be a tough match. We found out Omar Assar wasn’t playing, which made it a little bit easier, but you can never underestimate them. They put in a good performance but we did a professional job.

“I’m happy for Sam to come in and play well, it’s not easy to play your first match in singles in that situation.”

France edge past Sweden in quarters, joining South Korea and Brazil

The French team, playing without leader Simon Gauzy, were able to win a five rubber epic with Sweden to secure a precious spot in the last eight. Emmanuel Lebesson was influential – helping to win the doubles with Alexandre Cassin before beating Kristian Karlsson in the crucial fifth match to seal the win.

Elsewhere Brazil stormed past USA 3-0 to confirm top spot in their group after their shock win over Hong Kong yesterday while South Korea breezed past a lacklustre Australia 3-0.

Quarter-final draw:
China v Germany
Brazil v England
South Korea v France
Japan v Hong Kong

Group A
France 3-2 Sweden
Emmanuel Lebesson/Alexandre Cassin bt Par Gerell/Anton Kallberg 3-1 (11-4, 8-11, 11-4, 11-3)
Kristian Karlsson bt Quentin Robinot 3-1 (11-9, 5-11, 11-9, 11-8)
Alexandre Cassin bt Anton Kallberg 3-1 (11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-5)
Par Gerell bt Quentin Robinot 2-1 (9-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7)
Emmanuel Lebesson bt Kristian Karlsson 3-0 (11-5, 11-3, 11-7)
Group B
England 3-1 Egypt
Paul Drinkhall/Sam Walker bt Ahmed Saleh/El-Sayed Lashin 3-1 (11-5, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9)
Liam Pitchford bt Mohamed El-Beiali 3-1 (11-7, 3-11, 11-7, 11-4)
Ahmed Saleh bt Paul Drinkhall 3-2 (11-4, 7-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6)
Sam Walker bt Mohamed El-Beiali 3-0 (11-6, 11-8, 11-7)
Group C
South Korea 3–0 Australia
Lim Jonghoon/Jeoung Youngsik bt Kane Townsend/David Powell 3-0 (11-2, 11-3, 11-2)
Lee Sangsu bt Heming Hu 3-1 (13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6)
Jeoung Youngsik bt David Powell 3-0 (11-3, 11-7, 11-3)
Group D
Brazil 3-0 USA
Eric Jouti/Gustavo Tsuboi bt Adar Alguetti/Yijun Feng 3-0 (11-8, 11-8, 11-4)
Hugo Calderano bt Kanak Jha 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-7)
Gustavo Tsuboi bt Yijun Feng 3-0 (11-3, 11-7, 11-5)

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