Plenty of Support for Team Europe

WITH THE 2012 Mosconi Cup just a week away, Matchroom Sport have been canvassing the great and the good in the world of pool to find out just who the likely winners will be of the 19th annual running of the Europe v USA team match.
Despite being beaten in four of the last five Mosconi Cups, there is a feeling amongst some pundits that this could be the USA's year. However, with a fearsome York Hall crowd to contend with when the action gets underway from 10th to 13th December, as well as the Europeans themselves, it could be a tall order.
In the other camp are those who think that the Mosconi Cup is now European property and that Appleton, Feijen and company will continue their domination of the event.
'I think Europe will take it again. The main reason for this is the venue as it's notorious for crushing the confidence of the rookies from across the pond - and some experienced players too! It's a gut wrenching atmosphere created by the fans and it's the biggest weapon Europe has in the Mosconi Cup.
'Other than that, in normal circumstances, both sides look strong, with a good mix of youth, experience, and talent, and both sides have players who are in a rich vein of form......but this is not normal circumstances, it's the biggest and baddest pressure in pool.....the Mosconi Cup!' Daryl Peach, two-time Mosconi Cup winner.
'I think it will be closer than last year but in the end Europe will win. Nikos Ekonomopoulos will be the better rookie than the American rookies. Besides that Europe has outstanding players like Darren Appleton and Nick van den Berg. Finally, they have become more and more a team since Johan Ruijsink became the captain.' Jochen Maurer, Touch Billiard Magazine, Germany
'Europe will win. We are strong and hungry.' Alex Lely, former Mosconi Cup player and captain.
'This is a difficult one to predict as both teams have experience and both teams each have a debutant and the performances of Shuff and Ekonomopoulos could be a deciding factor.
The Europeans know each other well as they all play on the Eurotour and with Ruijsink at the helm, this team will take some beating.
'Johan is an expert at getting the best out of his team and if by some slim chance Europe were to lose this contest it won't be for lack of preparation. As usual the pressure of playing at York Hall will play a major part in this contest and I predict that the vociferous home crowd will carry the Europeans through to a victory, albeit a close one.' Peter Aprile, International Delegate, Confederación Espańola de Pool
'I fancy Europe to keep hold of the Mosconi Cup this year. It's a big advantage to be in London with the crowd and I think the Americans will crumble under it.' Karl Boyes, Mosconi Cup winner 2010.
'Europe will win because of the crowd more than anything else. On paper it's evenly matched for me because the USA has the best team they've aligned for quite a while. Europe will gain its force from the fantastic atmosphere of the York Hall, and this will lift them up. Also, Niels Feijen will have to step up as the anchor of the group, being the most experienced European played in the absence of Ralf, Mika, or Oliver. This will be very interesting to watch!'
JP Parmentier, Official Photographer of last three Mosconi Cups.
'On paper this year's Mosconi Cup looks as though it could go either way. However, I think that when it comes down to the nitty gritty that the leadership skills of the best captain will prevail. So this in conjunction with the huge home town advantage will tip the scales for the European side. But with Dennis and Johnny there to motivate the troops it will still be a close match, but my gut feeling is that once again the European Team will just fight harder for the coveted prize, and join forces to show the meaning of the words 'Team Spirit'.'
Geoff Conway, writer AZ Billiards
'I think the Mosconi Cup this year will be closer than Europe's 11-7 victory last year, but in a nutshell, I think Team Europe have got the Mosconi Cup locked down, not just this year, but probably for the next five to ten years.
'Why? Because the Europeans are constantly pitching themselves against the best that the European nations can offer, under TV conditions, and supremely tough testing like that creates motivated, confident champions, capable of handling the pressure. The Europeans are only too happy to travel and to put it all on the line; to prove and improve their game - not just on the domestic events like the GB9 Ball Tour and the Euro Tour, but further afield as well.
'In comparison, opportunities for the Americans to push themselves in a similarly rigourous fashion are becoming few and far between, with the disappearance of some major US events, no national pro tour, no televised tournaments. Add to that the evident reluctance or inability of the vast majority of top professionals in the USA to travel internationally, they simply aren't getting the same "toughening up" that the Europeans gain.
'On paper, Team Europe have fielded a better team for the past five years, but they haven't had it all their own way in that period, and you can put that down to the sheer depth of knowledge, experience, talent and heart of Team USA. If you pushed me to name a score, I'd say, 11-9 to Europe.'
Big Dave Knight,
'I think that team Europe will be the winner in the end. They have a good composition and from the past years one can see that pool in Europe has risen to another level while tournaments in the US seem to be at a standstill. I know team USA is very well represented but my prediction is that Europe will win 11-8.'
Thomas Overbeck, EPBF Press Officer and former WPA Sports Director.
'Defending the Cup on their home turf with all of that positive energy behind them will make Team Europe tough to beat. The American team has a lot of firepower, but I think that Europe has the talent and the momentum going into this year's event and will win the Cup for the third time in a row.'
Sally Timko, editor Inside Pool. ;
The title sponsor of the Mosconi Cup is, tables are supplied by Diamond Billiards, balls by Aramith, Simonis 860 is the Official Cloth and Predator are the Official Cue, and chalk supplier.