England Beats Germany for World Cup Semi Spot

Team China

TEAM ENGLAND, composed of World Champion Daryl Peach and European No.1 Mark Gray, claimed a notable scalp as they sent Germany spinning out of the 2008 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool in an exciting match up at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam.

The German duo of Thomas Engert and Ralf Souquet were pre-match betting favorites but Peach and Gray had a little too much in all departments to record a super 9-7 victory to secure a semi-final match up against China, who earlier beat Italy.

There was plenty of drama as well as a little controversy plus some glaring misses from both sides. They shared the opening racks as the score moved to 3-3 and there was a good break from Gray in the seventh but England soon had to play safe.

Gray later left the orange 5 on and it should have been 4-3 to Germany. However, the score went the other way around as Souquet missed a straight forward 9-ball. Even worse for The Kaiser was that the 9-ball was left hanging over the pocket and England could not believe their luck.

That seemed to affect Souquet's confidence and he made another error in the next as a missed 4-7 combination brought England to the table again and they moved two ahead for the first time at 5-3.

However, Souquet showed his class by making a 2-9 combination for 5-4. But his team-mate Engert was next to make a surprising mistake as his attempt on the pink 4 was unsuccessful and England cashed in to go 6-4.

Peach's break came up dry and Germany ran out for 6-5 before Engert also had a dry break in the next and England made it 6-6. A poor safety from Souquet helped England take the lead and they then claimed their third in a row for 8-6 and were on the hill.

A controversial break was correctly called illegal by referee Michaela Tabb as two balls went past the headstring, with one of them rebounding down table and into the centre pocket.

Peach and Gray disputed it but had their chance in the rack only for Peach to miss the brown seven as England faltered only two shots from victory.

That extended the match by one rack but an excellent jump shot to down the 1-ball from Gray led to England winning the tie and they held their nerve to seal an excellent 9-7 triumph.

CHINA, the 2007 World Cup of Pool winners, had a comfortable passage into Sunday afternoon's semi-final match ups as they made light work of a sub-par Italy, running out easy 9-2 winners at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam.

The Italians had been in fine form in the early stages of the tournament as they beat Peru 8-4 and then thrashed Korea 8-0, in only the fourth whitewash in World Cup history.

China, on the other hand, had to battle through two tricky opponents as they had secured an 8-6 win over India and then an 8-7 success over Switzerland.

Italy took the lead after Jian-Bo Fu had missed the 6-ball, but the match soon turned on its head as China took control.

A 2-9 combination from Fu made it 2-1 before Italy were rooted to their seats as the scoreline quickly moved over to 4-1.

Italy were under performing in this match as Petroni missed a long 2-ball and that mistake was punished for 5-1. Fu missed the 1-ball in the next and Italy claimed their second rack.

Both sides were struggling with their break and a 3-6 combination from Li, a former World Pool Championship semi-finalist, made it 6-2.

Petroni missed the 8-ball in two successive racks and both times it cost his side as the score quickly moved to 8-2 with China ruthlessly punishing any mistake from the Europeans.

The situation was getting to Petroni as he looked upset at the costly errors as he knew his side were heading out of the competition.

China won the next rack to seal the victory by 9-2 and will now meet either England or Germany in the semi-final.