Below are the results of the 1998 World Championships held in Baltimore, USA. You may also be interested in following the 2002 World Championships, the 2006 World Championships or the 2010 World Championships as the festival of lacrosse gets even bigger.
The 11 nations were divided into two divisions, and play progressed in a 'round-robin' tournament, whereby each team played every other team from the same division once. The results were as follows:
|USA||USA 14-12||USA 13-10||USA 20-8||USA 16-8|
|Canada||Canada 12-9||Canada 23-8||Canada 18-9|
|Australia||Australia 13-9||Australia 11-6|
As you can see, England failed to win a match in this tournament, and so didn't make it through to the final four. You can't get much closer than the England-Iroquois game though. From 6-4 down at halftime, England pulled back in the third quarter to draw level at 9-9. The score remained 9-9 all the way through the final quarter, right up until the last minute, when with 16 seconds left in the game, Rex Lyons scored for the Iroquois, sealing the victory.
Meanwhile, in the second division, another round-robin tournament was taking place, with an equally competitive edge:
|Japan||Japan 11-4||Japan 10-7||Japan 10-3||Japan 11-3||Japan 15-2|
|Germany||Germany 12-10||Germany 13-10||Germany 14-10||Germany 16-9|
|Scotland||Scotland 13-7||Scotland 15-14||Scotland 14-9|
|Sweden||Sweden 9-8||Sweden 7-6|
Among the many closely-fought games in this division, was the epic Scotland - Czech Republic game. In the dying seconds of regular time, the Czechs scored to level the scores and force overtime. In overtime, the Czechs went two goals ahead, but the Scots scored two in the last minute, forcing another period of overtime. Finally a goal by Martin Clarke ended the drama with the Scots' third victory of the tournament.
To give the highest-placed second division team a chance to enter the final four, there was a playoff game between the Iroquois Nation (fourth placed from the top division) and Japan (winners of the second division). The Iroquois won reasonably comfortably 12-9, securing their place in the semi-finals against the USA.
After this point, the ranking of the teams was as follows:
|The top four teams then go through to the semi-finals.|
England failed to make it through to the semis, and entered the second group of four teams to determine 5th to 8th places.
Sweden and the Czech republic were left to fight for 9th place, and Wales filled 11th spot.
Sweden vs Czech Republic. A 7-goal fourth-quarter comeback seals victory for the Czech Republic, who take 9th place in the competition with a 12-8 win.
England, as leader of this group of four teams, gets to play fourth-placed Scotland, and win comfortably 13-6, while Germany just edge Japan 5-4 in a nailbiter. Which meant that England played Germany for 5th place overall, and get it with a 21-6 trouncing, and Scotland got to play Japan for 7th place, which turned into another 1-goal overtime win for Scotland (10-9). What is it about the Scots that they seem to make a habit of these last-minute victories?
Ahhh, the semi-finals. As leaders of the group, the US take on fourth-placed Iroquois, and display their dominance again with a 24-4 whooping. Meanwhile Canada and Australia fight it out for the other final place. Canada dominate for the first half, and despite a regrouping by the Aussies, Canada take the game 15-11.
In the third-place playoff, Australia wore down the Iroquois Nation, and took a quarter-time 4-4 tie to a 17-5 victory.
What a finish. In what must have been a highly-charged grudge match (Canada being the only team other than the US to have won the World Championship, and then only once), the Canadians were rocked back on their heels with an onslaught of goals. They must have wondered what was happening as they managed only a single goal in the first half, and by mid-way through the third quarter, the US were up 11 goals to 1. But then the balance of power shifted, or perhaps the US became complacent with their lead, but the Canadians drew on their experience and came back strongly. It must have been anxious times on both benches, as the shooting skills of the Gait brothers and Chris Gill, amongst others, brought the scores back to almost level at 13-10 in the dying minutes of the game. And then, in the last minute and a half of regulation time, Canada did the unthinkable, and enjoyed an unanswered three-goal flurry to bring the scores level and force overtime.
In the overtime period, the US just managed to overcome Canada, outscoring them 2-1, ending the most exciting of World Championship Finals, and securing yet another victory for the US 15-14.
The following pictures were taken from the now defunct web site, www.sportserver.com: