In the 56-year history of World Championship play, the United States has won the five-person team event just four times, two
of those golden efforts in th last two championships - in Busan, Korea in 2006 and in Bangkok, Thailand in 2008.
Needless to say, with their highly talented team performing so well this year on the Dream Bowl Palace lanes here in Munich, the American squad are out and out favorites to take the 2010 title.
Although the Koreans were well fancied as the main challengers to the Americans they have not performed up to expectations in the latter stages of these championships. Their star player Choi Bok-Eum did well to take the silver medal in the singles at the beginning of the week but the team has not fared so well since.
There are two squads scheduled on the lanes today (Thursday), playing three games each on the medium oil pattern. The teams return tomorrow for a further three games on the long condition.
The United States set the pace in the opening game to total 1142, four pins ahead of the Norwegians and fellow Scandinavians Finland held third with 1136.
An 1122 from the American's second game saw them well and truly at the top of the tree, helped along by Tommy Jones' 268. This gives the team a total of 2264 over the two games.
Finland come up into second place on 2199 and Norway drop to third with 2161.
In a vibrant media room with over 40 press representatives, the proposed headline buzzing around the circle of bustling hacks is something along the lines of 'A Stroll in the Park for the Americans'. Other suggestions include: 'A Walk in the Park'.
The reason, of course, is that the quintet aiming at taking the team gold medal in three consecutive men's world championships posted the high score for the opening three-game block of 3314, well short of the 3561 record set by Korea in 2008 in Bangkok, Thailand.
It is status quo from the second game as Finland (3285) stay runners-up to our Yankee friends and the Norsemen (3187) slot into third.
Finland's two-handed delivery whizz-kid Osku Palermaa was the best player on the squad with a 725 series.
The second squad take to the lanes almost immediately after the medal presentation ceremony for last night's trios finals which takes place close to 14:00 local time.
Challengers for the lofty heights of the morning scores saw Singapore do well in the Squad 2 opener with 1134. The Greeks held second place with 1100 and the much-fancied Koreans locked into third on 1091. The teams have to average 1105 each game to come to terms with the Americans.
Singapore retained the squad lead after the second game, shooting 1043 for a two-game total of 2177. Then colombia replaced Greece as runners-up wuth 2114 and Korea held on to third on 2099.
So Singapore need 1137 in the final game of this squad to be on par with the Americans leaders.
Tomorrow will see all teams complete their six-game stint with three games on the long oil pattern.
The teams now segue into the second round of play, three more games but this time on the long oil pattern. There are two squads, 08:00 and 13:30, local time (CET).
Colombia sent out a message of intent by posting the highest score in the first game of the second block with 1037/4134 overall. Then came Korea, still struggling to find their true form, 1019/4078 and Greece came third, 969/4057.
The Colombians kept things going in the next game, the penultime showdown, hitting 1049/5183 to lead the squad and hold fourth place in the overall standings. Singapore had a better game with 1045 and Lithuania came into the limelight for the first time by scoring 1027.
The Colombians failed to get into four figures in their final game, posting just 936, so their six-game total is only 6119 and that does not look good for the top four for the play-offs later this evening. They dropped to sixth in the overall standings when the preliminary results were published.
Korea, led by Choi Bok-Eum, improved to hit 1074 in their final game and Singapore's 1004 brought them third place for the third game, but placed seventh in the table.
Matched along with Mexico on lanes 3/4 in the opening game of the final squad, the Americans began their stroll in the park to the medal positions with 1062, leaving them a total of 2805 to place as top seeds in the play-offs.
But the darned Yankees were not top scorers on the squad, that honor went to Sweden with 1094. All in all, there were eight teams on this squad with scores over 1000 in the first game.
Mathematians worked overtime as the scores in the tenth frame had six teams fighting for the four play-off positions.
The outcome? 1. Team USA 6376; 2. Finland 6358; 3. Germany 6226; 4. Colombia 6119.
The semi-finals will be contested between USA and Colombia and Finland versus Germany, the Americas versus Europe final for sure.
SEMI-FINALS AND FINAL
Team USA are heading for the their consecutive world championship five=person team gold medal as they take on Finland in the final of the 2010 play-offs.
The Americans defeated Colombia, 1048-970, in the one-game semi-final, played on the medium oil pattern.
In the other semi, Finland beat a heavily supported German quintet, 996-941, so the final will be
American zone versus Europe.
We never knew a five-person team final could be so exciting until this one came along. although the Americans built a lead of just over 80 sticks in the early phase the Finns came from behind to take a slim lead in the tenth frame but a strong finish from anchorman Tommy Jones gave the defending champions their third consecutive gold by the slim margin of 16 pins, 1073-1057.
"Bowling just doesn't get much better than that," was the opinion of several veterans of the press corps.
Gold: United States; Silver: Finland; Bronze: Germany and Colombia.
Full information and results on: www.bowling-wm.de
TOP 8 TEAMS AFTER 12 GAMES
(3 GAMES ON MEDIUM OIL, 3 ON LONG)
|1.||United States||O'Neill, Bill||245||186||232||214||204||208||1289||214.83|
|4.||Colombia||Monroy, Jaime Enrique||226||201||182||200||254||204||1267||211.17|
|Romero, Jorge David||187||199||196||211||176||199||1168||194.67|
|Garcia, Fabio Augusto||207||222||212||176||156||182||1155||192.50|
|Otalora, Manuel Hernando||180||217||213||204||257||171||1242||207.00|
|Gomez, Jaime Andres||237||238||180||246||206||180||1287||214.50|
|6.||Chinese Taipei||Cheng, Hsing-Chao||185||194||194||196||200||235||1204||200.67|
|Oliver Jr., Art||212||224||168||604||201.33|
|8.||Singapore||Ng, Tiac Pin||223||213||180||193||215||241||1265||210.83|