The U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup 2020 is now down to six teams: World No. 1 Japan, No. 2 Argentina, No. 3 New Zealand, No. 5 Australia, No. 7 Czech Republic and No. 21 Guatemala.
The last day of games in the opening round saw three critical matchups played. With six teams in contention for three spots, the day was bound to entertaining. Guatemala beat Mexico 4-3 to advance, while the Czech Republic overcame Singapore 6-3 to join the Guatemalans in the super round. Argentina were also in good form, beating Canada 10-0 to book their place into the Super Round.
There was also a little bit of history written, as world No. 21 Guatemala and world No. 7 Czech Republic, managed to advance to the super round of the U-18 Men’s Softball World Cup for the first time ever. Guatemala’s path to the super round is also worth noting as they did the near impossible by beating teams ranked 10 (Denmark), 13 (Mexico), and 15 (United States) places higher than them in the world ranking.
Group A winner Australia, Group B winner Japan, and second placed teams in Group A and B (Argentina and New Zealand) also advanced to the super round. Only results between the super round teams (including matches in the opening round) count toward the super round standings. As a result, Australia and Japan (2-0) will enter the super sound atop the standings. New Zealand and Argentina will enter the super round with 1-1 records, while Czech Republic and Guatemala enter with an 0-2 record.
Japan and New Zealand are no strangers to the super round having reached it 12 times at the U18 Men’s Softball World Cup. Australia is another prolific customer, having reached the super round 10 times. Argentina has done well to reach the super round in recent times, reaching the super round 5 consecutive times (including this year). Japan and Australia will be the favorites for victory after the opening round, but New Zealand may call on experience and home field advantage to guide them towards the trophy.
The top two teams at the conclusion of the super round will compete for the title of World Champion at Colquhoun Park on March 1 at 16:00 NZDT. World No. 4 Canada, No. 6 USA, No. 8 Mexico, No. 10 South Africa, No. 11 Denmark, No. 17 Singapore will play the Placement Round. See the full schedule of games here.