World Cup Group Stages

World Cup Group Stages Taking Shape

Several of the high-profile units are looking set to successfully emerge from the World Cup group stages in Wuxi this week.

After three matches in the round-robin format, both China teams as well as Wales and Scotland have maintained their perfect winning starts.

China A’s Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao have lost only three frames after a third 4-1 victory in a row on Wednesday – on this occasion over Norway.

The home favourites are all but assured of their place in the last eight and are four points clear of Thailand in Group A.

With two teams from each mini league advancing from the World Cup group stages to the knockout phase, the race for second place is hotting up with only two points separating Thailand in second and Germany in last place.

China B’s pairing of Liang Wenbo and Zhou Yuelong have gone one better than their countrymen, dropping only two frames so far in Group D.

On day three, the Chinese duo hammered Switzerland 5-0 – severely damaging the latter’s chances of progressing.

Liang has twice won the World Cup with Ding, while Zhou partnered Yan to success in 2015.

Wales, featuring Mark Williams and Ryan Day, lie just a single point behind after outplaying Malta and it appears as though Group D’s outcome is almost set in stone.

The situation is similar in Group C, with pre-tournament favourites Scotland and Belgium standing on 13 an 12 points respectively.

Their comprehensive victories over Israel and Malaysia have put distance between them and their rivals, ensuring that their clash against each other in the last round-robin fixture might not have much on the line.

The tightest group of the World Cup group stages always looked like it was going to be Group B on paper, and so it has proved.

Four points lie between England in first and Saudi Arabia in sixth place, meaning that anything could still happen with two rounds of matches to go.

Ireland, with veterans Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien among its ranks, put themselves into the mix with a morale-boosting 4-1 triumph over neighbours Northern Ireland.

The round-robin phase sees all nations compete against each other once over the best of five frames – with two singles, a doubles encounter, and two reverse singles matches required.

Each frame won provides each country with a point in the group, with the top two countries after the league stages advancing to the quarter-finals.

Live coverage of the 2019 World Cup is on Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

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