Iran and Hong Kong Set For World Cup Showdown
Iran and Hong Kong both secured important 4-1 victories at the Beverly World Cup in Wuxi to set up a crunch clash against each other in the final round of group matches.
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The results turn group B on its head, with the two Asian sides leapfrogging Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to move into second and third spots. Only the top two sides in the group will progress.
Hong Kong currently occupy second place after the pairing of Andy Lee and Ka Wai Cheung recorded a surprise 4-1 defeat of Republic of Ireland. Cheung top scored with a fine break of 104 in the fourth frame of that match.
The team of Hossein Vafaei and Soheil Vahedi kept Iran in contention with a 4-1 win over Northern Ireland, moving them one point behind Hong Kong in third. While England’s Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski are on the verge of qualification thanks to a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia.
The winner between Iran and Hong Kong is now likely to progress. However, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, who now face Saudi Arabia and England respectively, still have a chance to go through if they win 5-0 and other results go their way.
After today’s matches Vafaei admitted that their success could help to promote the sport further in Iran.
He said: “Snooker in Iran is at a high level now and it is very popular. Hopefully we can get a good result now and make it more popular for the people.
“We will go in now to relax and get ready for tomorrow. We will see who the better team is and who is going to qualify.”
China B and Wales both won 5-0 in group D to seal qualification for the quarter-finals.
The China B side of Liang Wenbo and Zhou Yuelong recorded their whitewash victory against India. Liang fired in breaks of 66 and 98 on the way to the win. Mark Williams and Ryan Day were 5-0 victors for Wales against Switzerland.
Scotland and Belgium extended their unbeaten runs to ensure qualification from group C. They will face each other tomorrow to determine who finishes in top spot.
The Scottish pairing of John Higgins and Stephen Maguire sealed progression with a 4-1 win over Malaysia. Maguire top scored with a run of 117 in the fourth frame. While Luca Brecel and Ben Mertens booked Belgium’s passage to the last eight with a 4-1 defeat of Cyprus.
In group A, China A secured their place in the quarter-finals as Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao thrashed Poland 5-0. They have lost just three frames in four matches so far.
Thai pair Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Noppon Saengkham look best placed to finish second in that group thanks to a 4-1 win over Germany. However they may still need to win their final group match against China A on Friday to ensure their progress. Norway beat Austria 4–1; they stand just two points behind Thailand with a final group game against Poland to come.