The Baseball World Cup in Chinese Taipei is the next big international Baseball event in which European teams will compete. The tournament starts on November 6th end goes to the 18th. In the past World Cups the only team from Europe that really could compete with the best teams in the world was the Netherlands.
The last World Cup 2005 was played in the Netherlands. The teams from Europe had been Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain. Since only rank 1-8 was determined the Netherlands had been the only team with a “real” final rank. They finished with a very respectable 4th place behind Cuba, Korea and Panama and in front of teams like the USA and Japan. Sweden won a game against South Africa and lost a close game against China with 5-7. Spain beat Colombia 6-4 and the Czech Rebublic 15-5 and played very good games against Nicaragua (2-5) and Puerto Rico (4-7). The Czechs did not win a game but lost only 0-1 against Nicaragua as their best performance.
In November 2007 the 4 European teams will be the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Germany. Spain and Italy play in Group A together with Chinese Taipei, Panama, South Africa, Mexico, USA and Japan. The Dutch and the German team will face Cuba, Australia, China, Canada, Venezuela and Korea. From each group the top 4 teams will go to the quarterfinals. For all the other teams the tournament ends after the first round.
Realistically only the Netherlands will have a chance to make it to the quarterfinals. For Germany, Spain and Italy a win against a team from outside Europe would already be a great accomplishment. The Germans have a legitimate chance against China and in Group A Spain and Italy have good chances against South Africa. A big question mark behind all European teams is of course the form and condition of the players because the European Baseball Season is long over when the World Cup starts (the last World Cup in the Netherlands was played in September!).
We will keep you informed on the World Cup in the upcoming weeks.