World Cup Group Stages Set for Dramatic Finale

All four groups in the 2017 World Cup are set up nicely as the final round of matches in the round-robin takes place on Friday in China.

Ding Junhui Liang Wenbo World Cup
2011 champions Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo still have work to do. Photo credit: Chengzhe Tai

Only England has guaranteed its safe progress into the quarter-finals with a fixture to spare.

Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins hammered Pakistan 5-0 on Thursday to continue their dominance of Group C, having only lost two frames out of 20 so far in the competition.

Second place remains up for grabs, though, after Iran superbly overcame Australia 4-1 to join Neil Robertson’s outfit on 11 points in the table.

With Australia facing old rival England in their last encounter, Iran have a great chance of advancing if they can record a positive result against Malta – who themselves also still have a slim chance of squeezing through but will need a huge victory and England to inflict a similarly strong beating on the Aussies.

Wales, meanwhile, have lost just three frames so far and sit pretty atop Group A with 17 points.

The in-form pairing of Mark Williams and Ryan Day defeated defending champions China B 4-1, which puts Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao’s future in the tournament in jeopardy.

That’s because Brazil’s 3-2 triumph over Norway saw the surprise package join the Chinese duo on 12 points, albeit the South Americans face the Welsh in their final clash while China B have a much more winnable contest with Malaysia.

Wales, who are looking like serious contenders for the title this week, require only one frame to ensure their qualification.

Three countries remain in the hunt in Group B with Belgium, China A, and Hong Kong all vying for their two coveted knock out stage spots.

A lot will come down to Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo’s intriguing final battle with Hong Kong, with the former boasting just a one point margin ahead of Marco Fu’s side.

However, if the nations are tied on points, the placing will be determined by the outcome between the two teams when they played so, in that case, a 3-2 victory for Hong Kong would be enough to see them through.

Belgium are a point above China A in first place and play Ireland, who despite two victories from their four ties are way adrift following a couple of other heavy losses.

Group D is even more compelling still, with four nations in with a shout of advancing to the last eight.

Unbeaten Northern Ireland and the talented Thai pairing of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Noppon Saengkham are out in front on 13 points, with Scotland and Israel in touching distance two points behind.

There is a small chance that three teams could finish on top of the group on the same number of points, in which case a blue ball shoot-out could dramatically determine the two quarter-finalists.

An interesting day ahead in Wuxi then, with coverage continuing on Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw and schedule. (Times CET)


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