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July 2, 2014

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FIL 2014 Preview: Red Division Breakdown

by Brett Amadon | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | World Lacrosse 2014


Germany finished sixth in Manchester in 2010, stepping up to the Blue Division with the absence of the Iroquois. Can they replicate or improve on that success? (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

With plenty of attention on the Blue Division and favorites like Team USA and Canada, Brett Amadon will be breaking down the other divisions in the lead-up to the FIL World Championships, kicking off next month in Commerce City, Co. Catch all the action by picking up your tickets today!

Teams listed in alphabetical order. View the full schedule of the event here.

Previous Breakdowns: Orange Division | Plum Division | Grey Division | Green Division

Austria

2010 Results: 5-2 overall (1-2 group play), 21st place
Head Coach: Christian Arnold

Names Worth Knowing

A - Richard Hauer (Vienna Monarchs)
M - Claus Bukowsky (Vienna White Coats)
G - Philip Holzmüller (Vienna White Coats)

Origin

While lacrosse was formed in Salzburg in 2001, it wasn't until four years later that the sport started to make proper headway in Austria. In 2005, the Austrian Lacrosse Association was formed and with it were teams in Vienna, Graz, Linz and Salzburg. As teams and players began to develop, Austria participated in its first international event in 2008 at the European Lacrosse Championships in Lahti, Finland, followed by its first trip to the World Championships two years later.

Outlook

Participating in one of the stronger divisions in 2010, Austria got off to a promising start, taking down Argentina with a convincing 16-5 win. However, in its last two games of group play, Austria got shut out by Wales, 19-0, before losing to the Netherlands, 17-5. Moving into the lower bracket, Austria found its groove, cruising past France before taking down The Republic of Korea, 13-8. With two-straight victories, Austria advanced to the 21st-24th place bracket. Continuing its winning ways, Austria shut down Norway before edging out Hong Kong, 9-8, to finish the tournament 21st overall.

Belgium

2010 Results: First Time Competitor
Head Coach: Greg Murawsky

Names Worth Knowing

A - Emile Drivjers (Red Rhinos)
D - Brendan Murphy (Canisius College)
M - Diego Spillebeen (Braine Lions)

Murphy is the only player on Belgium with Division I experience, so his knowledge in guiding a defense as a player and coach will be a key factor. Drivjers started playing lacrosse at the International School of Brussels and at 23, has consistently been one of the best players in the Belgian League. Spillebeen is an 18 year-old prodigy for Belgium. Despite only playing lacrosse for two years, he has quickly become of the best in the country.

Origin

Originating in Mechelen in 2009, lacrosse quickly spread throughout the country and in 2011, a six-team league was formed. While Belgium had help from experienced players who planned practices, the better part of its development was done simply from learning the sport themselves. In cities such as Ghent and Braine L'Alleud (suburb of Brussels), lacrosse has found its biggest foothold, attracting new prospects such as students and local youth. Getting players involved while they're young is key to the sports' growth because many of the current players were adults when they first picked up a stick. For Belgium, participating in the FIL World Championship for the first time provides them the opportunity to show the world that lacrosse is a legitimate sport in its country.

Germany

2010 Results: 1-6 overall (0-5 group play), 6th place
Head Coach: Jack Kaley

Names Worth Knowing

M - Chris Murphy (Florida Southern College)
M - Christopher Mattes (Florida Launch)
A - Simon Giourmetakis (Edmonton Outlaws)

Outlook

Hong Kong earned three wins in 2010, but fell in its finale to '14 group mate Austria to finish 22nd. (John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)

In 2010, Germany was provided the opportunity to compete in the Blue Division alongside the likes of the United States and Canada due to the Iroquois being unable to make it to Manchester because of passport restrictions. However, the Germans quickly found out how tough it would be play against the lacrosse giants. Playing in the first game of the tournament, Germany struggled to score in a lopsided loss to England, 12-3. After a more tightly played contest against Japan, Germany couldn't keep up with the U.S., Canada and Australia, losing its last three games by a combined score of 67-12. Despite its 0-5 record in group play, Germany earned a spot in the 5th-8th place bracket because they played in the Blue Division. In the semi-finals match, Germany dispatched the Netherlands, 14-1, earning a rematch with host-country England. Even though the Germans gave England all it could handle, it wasn't enough as they fell, 14-9, to finish the tournament in sixth place.

Hong Kong

2010 Results: 3-4 overall (2-1 group play), 22nd place
Head Coach: William Browning

Names Worth Knowing

M - Joey Au-Yeung Chun-yu (Hong Kong)
D - Samuel Lau (Hong Kong)
A - Wong Hang Wai (Hong Kong)

Joey Au-Yeung Chun-yu is Hong Kong's all-around midfielder who prides himself in being top physical condition. The intangibles he provides on and off the field will be key for Hong Kong to improve upon its 22nd place finish in 2010. Wong Hang Wai is a tactical attackman who creates most of the offense with his field vision while Samuel Lau is an athletic pole with excellent stick skills to come up with any ground balls within his range.

Origin

Just over 50 years ago, lacrosse was introduced to the University of Hong Kong (HKU) by a professor by the name of Mr. Large. Over time, the sport developed, and in 1993, the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association (HKLA) was founded by Louis Hou who is still its chairman. In 2002, the HKLA sent its first team to the World Championship in Perth, Australia, and since that time, Hong Kong has continued to be a regular at the World Championship.

Outlook

Hong Kong got off to a fast start in Manchester, winning its first two games after narrowly beating Norway, 10-8, and earning a forfeit win against the Iroquois. In its final group play game against Spain, Hong Kong scored with ease, but couldn't prevent the Spaniards from doing the same as it dropped a nail biter, 16-14. The loss caused Hong Kong to finish second in group play and thus, placed them in the middle bracket. There, Hong Kong continued to play countries tight, but dropped both of its games against Latvia and Switzerland. After falling into the 21st-24th place bracket, Hong Kong got its revenge against the Swiss, knocking them off, 15-8. In the final, Hong Kong faced 2014 Red Division opponent Austria, and in one of the more competitive matches of the tournament, Austria walked away with a one-goal win, 9-8, as Hong Kong finished the tournament with a 22nd place finish.


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