The 2013 World Cup of Pool is set to commence on Tuesday, Sept. 17. With the world's elite duos coming together to represent their respective countries, every squad will look to achieve immortality in its craft.
The question is, what do you need to know about the annual gathering of pool's elite?
After a 2012 event that saw countless matches end in dramatic fashion, the expectations are high in 2013. With individual stars and decorated teams looking to strike gold, that has everyone in the craft on edge.
Even some of the most decorated players are expressing their excitement.
Here's how it's all going down.
Tuesday, September 16
Round 1: No. 1 Finland vs. Austria at midday
Round 1: No. 16 Korea vs. Estonia at midday
Round 1: No. 9 Germany vs. Malta at midday
Round 1: No. 5 Holland vs. Scotland at 6 p.m.
Round 1: No. 8 England B vs. Portugal at 6 p.m.
Round 1: No. 6 Philippines vs. Croatia at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, September 18
Round 1: No. 13 Japan vs. Sweden at midday
Round 1: No. 3 China vs. Hungary at midday
Round 1: No. 14 Russia vs. Hong Kong at midday
Round 1: No. 4 USA vs. Kuwait at 6 p.m.
Round 1: No. 11 Poland vs. Singapore at 6 p.m.
Round 1: No. 12 Canada vs. India at 6 p.m.
Thursday, September 19
Round 1: No. 7 Chinese Taipei vs. Belgium at midday
Round 1: No. 10 Greece vs. Australia at midday
Round 1: No. 15 Italy vs. Spain at midday
Round 1: No. 2 England A v Indonesia at 6 p.m.
Round 2: Finland/Austria winner vs. Korea/Estonia winner at 6 p.m.
Round 2: England B/Portugal winner vs. Germany/Malaysia winner at 6 p.m. ET
Friday, September 20
Round 2: China/Hungary winner vs. Russia/Hong Kong winner at midday
Round 2: Philippines/Croatia winner vs. Poland/Singapore winner at midday
Round 2: Chinese Taipei/Belgium winner vs. Greece/Australia winner at midday
Round 2: USA/Kuwait winner vs. Japan/Sweden winner at 6 p.m.
Round 2: Holland/Scotland winner vs. Canada/India winner at 6 p.m.
Round 2: England A/Indonesia winner vs. Italy/Spain winner at 6 p.m.
Saturday, September 21
Quarter Final 1 at 1 p.m.
Quarter Final 2 at 1 p.m.
Quarter Final 3 at 6 p.m.
Quarter Final 4 at 6 p.m.
Sunday, September 22
Semi Final 1 at 1 p.m.
Semi Final 2 at 1 p.m.
Final at 1 p.m.
Defending Champions: Finland
Mika Immonen and Petri Makkonen of Finland won the 2012 World Cup of Pool, defeating Karol Skowerski and Wojciech Szewczyk of Poland in the finals. In 2013, Finland is the No. 1 seed and Poland is No. 11.
Until proven otherwise, the defending champions are the ones to watch.
Finland will be led by Immonen and Makkonen yet again, which is promising enough for anyone to believe in their opportunity for a repeat. The defending champions will face unseeded Austria in the first round and would face either No. 16 Korea or qualifier Estonia if they advance.
From there, anything is possible.
Immonen and Makkonen have the confidence of winning multiple close matches at the previous year's event. With this experience, facing a potential upset will not faze the champions, but instead offer them a situation that they've grown all too accustomed to.
Expect big things from Finland in 2013.
In terms of the rankings, England, China, Team USA and Holland round out the Top Five at the 2013 World Cup of Pool. Each of those countries has a legitimate shot at unseating Finland, especially considering England has two separate teams in the event.
As always seems to be the case, however, an underdog will rise.
All four of the countries previously listed will give Finland a run for its money, as each possess balance and a history of reasonable success. At this event, however, the dark-horse teams worth watching are No. 9 Germany and No. 11 Poland.
Recent history is the reason why.
Germany won the 2011 World Cup of Pool, while Poland was the runner-up in 2012. Both countries are putting forth different pairings, but there's something to say about the confidence that achieving success at this event can build.
If betting on the underdogs isn't your thing, feel comfortable siding with the favorites.
China is a perennial contender, and England has multiple teams involved, making the country's odds statistically better than any other's. Team USA has some work to do, as does Holland, but both have the skill players necessary to stun the world.
One way or another, this should be a memorable week of pool.
All dates and times provided by MatchRoomPool.com.
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