|Games played: 72||Number of goals: 1515|
The 2006 World Championships took place from July 13th to July 22nd in London, Ontario. This year 21 nations took part in the competitions, divided this time into four divisions. The winning teams in the second, third and fourth divisions get a play-in opportunity against the second, third and fourth-placed teams from the top division, to determine who goes to the semi finals.
A * marks teams who are new
In the first round, each team played each of the other teams from their division once, in a 'round-robin' tournament, as follows:
|USA||USA 13-12||USA 21-13||USA 20-8||USA 25-5||USA 21-2|
|Canada||Canada 12-8||Canada 12-9||Canada 17-9||Canada 18-7|
|Iroquois||Iroquois 12-10||Iroquois 13-10||Iroquois 13-11|
|Australia||Australia 16-3||Australia 18-1|
After some thrilling nailbiters, especially USA v Canada, Iroquois v Japan, England v Japan and Iroquois v Australia, the group table for division 1 looks like this:
|Canada||4||1||+25||beat everyone except USA|
|Iroquois||3||2||-5||beat Australia, England and Japan, lost to USA and Canada|
|Australia||2||3||+13||beat England and Japan, lost to USA, Canada and Iroquois|
|England||1||4||-43||beat Japan, lost to everyone else|
|Japan||0||5||-50||lost to everyone|
Similar round robin tournaments took place in the other three divisions, but with five teams instead of 6 (and hence four games each). Some of the excitement included Scotland mounting a second-half comeback to beat Italy in overtime 13-12, Latvia scoring 4 unanswered goals to edge Spain 11-9, and South Korea pipping New Zealand 8-7 to get their first win of the tournament.
|Ireland||Ireland 16-9||Ireland 15-7||Ireland 12-4||Ireland 19-4|
|Scotland||Scotland 13-12 (ET)||Scotland 7-3||Scotland 21-3|
|Italy||Italy 20-7||Italy 20-0|
|Czech||Netherlands||South Korea||New Zealand|
|Germany||Germany 12-5||Germany 15-9||Germany 18-4||Germany 18-3|
|Czech||Czech 19-9||Czech 20-2||Czech 23-4|
|Netherlands||Netherlands 12-4||Netherlands 15-4|
|South Korea||S Korea 8-7|
|Finland||Finland 9-3||Finland 14-4||Finland 16-11||Finland 16-3|
|Latvia||Latvia 7-3||Latvia 11-9||Latvia 9-3|
|Denmark||Denmark 15-11||Denmark 10-6|
One puzzle is why Hong Kong was included in the second division this time round, when they only just scraped a single win in the third division at the 2002 games. Their comprehensive defeats across the board show that they were in the wrong league. And given that Germany had already shown in 2002 that they can beat Scotland and Wales, and ranked many places above Hong Kong, why were Germany bumped down to the third division for 2006? Swapping these teams would have created some closer and more interesting games perhaps.
Following the points totalling of the first round, a series of playoff games were played to determine who goes to the semi-finals and who competes for the lower placings. The semi-finals then took place on July 20th, and the final on July 22nd.
The overwhelmingly dominant USA take their unbeaten record straight into the semis as head of the group, and don't have to go through the playoff round to get there. Canada, Iroquois and Australia also go to the playoffs as they finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th. In the lower divisions, Ireland swept up division 2, Germany took division 3, and Finland clinched division 4 with a final win 14-4 against Denmark. (see LFP article about Finland).
This means the road to the final looks like this:
Australia beat Ireland by a whopping 21-5 to ensure their semi-final place, although this scoreline doesn't tell the whole picture. At three-quarter time the lead was a mere 9-5, until the last-quarter onslaught. Meanwhile Iroquois powered past Germany 14-6 to take their semi-final place against Canada, who swept Finland aside 27-2.
Of course it's not just about the final. Those who don't make it entered a complicated series of matchings (not shown here) to determine the whole final rankings. Those other playoff games included Wales v Spain (won by Wales 17-9), Latvia v Netherlands (Netherlands 10-4), Czech Republic v Italy (Italy 14-6) and Denmark v South Korea (Denmark 10-9 in extra time).
On semi-finals day USA beat Australia by a surprisingly narrow margin 13-10 to move into the final, while England dodged the lightning to wallop Germany 19-4 (see live commentary). Italy held off Scotland to win 10-7, while Latvia squandered a 4-0 lead over Denmark to end up with a mere 5-3 victory. Bermuda and Hong Kong didn't manage to break their ducks, with Spain once again beating Hong Kong (12-8), and New Zealand comprehensively beating Bermuda (19-6). Other games included three thrillers with Ireland v Japan (Japan 11-9), Netherlands v Finland (Finland 10-8) and Wales v Czech Republic (Wales 9-8 in overtime after a Czech comeback to 7-7). And of course the second semi-final between Canada and Iroquois, which Canada ran away with 16-6.
So it looks like the top six final placings could be exactly the same as in 2002. Both Finland and Italy in their debuts are doing a good job of upsetting the lower rankings though.
Over the last two days of the competition, the final rankings were decided. New Zealand beat Hong Kong 9-6 (coming back from 4-0 down), Spain narrowly pulled ahead from 11-11 to beat an undisciplined South Korea 17-14, while Czech Republic allowed just one fourth-quarter goal to beat Denmark 18-1. Wales similarly trounced Latvia 18-2, and Scotland panned Netherlands 15-3.
On the final day of the championships, England stormed comfortably past Japan 12-7 to take 5th place (see live commentary), and Finland squeaked past Italy with just 8 seconds remaining in the match, scoring for a historic 10-9 victory and 9th place. Ireland also beat Germany 13-5 to take 7th place, and in the bronze medal game, Australia overwhelmed Iroquois this time with a 21-8 walloping. And that just left the final.
The final, between Canada and USA, took place under constant rainfall, and began slowly with both teams playing cautiously in the wet conditions. Both teams held neck-and-neck throughout the first three quarters, always with only one or two goals in it. Going into the final quarter at 9-8, Canada then extended that lead inexorably with a 5-goal run to 15-9, dominating at face-off and holding firm in defence. Only their clears looked suspect as the USA pushed for a comeback but the Americans couldn't overcome the keeper. One coolly-taken final consolation goal (one-handed, between the legs) brought the final score to 15-10, and only the second time in world championship history that the USA hasn't won. See the live commentary.
That means the final ranking for the 2006 world championship looks like this:
1. - Canada
2. - USA
3. - Australia
4. - Iroquois
5. - England
6. - Japan
7. - Ireland
8. - Germany
9. - Finland
10. - Italy
11. - Scotland
12. - Netherlands
13. - Wales
14. - Latvia
15. - Czech Republic
16. - Denmark
17. - Spain
18. - South Korea
19. - New Zealand
20. - Hong Kong
21. - Bermuda
The coloured markers by each country show the division in which they entered, for first division ( ), second division ( ), third division ( ) and fourth division ( ).
Ok, so it's not live any more, but it was live then. englishlacrosse.co.uk provided fantastic, up-to-the-minute commentary on a selection of games, more or less just the England games which weren't on too late, plus the final. But then for some reason they removed the commentary from their website almost immediately, so four of the games are reproduced here for you to relive the excitement.
The following match summaries were provided by external websites such as 2006worldlacrosse.com and nll.com:
The official site of the World Championship
Pointstreak.com provides much cleaner results and up-to-the-minute
The englishlacrosse.co.uk page has various news items about the English team's preparations and games, and an excellent live commentary feature for selected games. And there are more reports from nll.com (now gone), and reports about the German team's steamroller performances (in German) at dlaxv.de (now gone). There is also a load of photos from most of the matches at lax.com and another good collection at cville-lax.com.
Lastly, even the BBC mention these championships as part of their "what to do after the football" tips (see number 8).
For the statistics tables and commentaries, a few abbreviations are worth knowing: