Rugby League World Cup 2013: Predicting the Semifinalists and Tournament Winners
The 2013 Rugby League World Cup is well underway.
This year’s competition sees Italy and USA join the tournament for the first time ever, but as 14 teams battle to escape four fierce groups, who has a shot at going all the way?
Considering the results and evidence we have so far, it’s time to predict exactly that. Will England or Wales overcome poor starts to take the prize? Let’s take a look.
|QF||Nation (Group/Position)||vs.||Nation (Group/Position)|
|1||Australia (A/1)||vs.||USA (D/1)|
|2||France (B/2)||vs.||Fiji (A/3)|
|3||England (A/2)||vs.||Papua New Guinea (B/3)|
|4||New Zealand (B/1)||vs.||Italy (C/1)|
Teams via rlwc2013.com
|SF||Nation (QF No.)||vs.||Nation (QF No.)|
|1||Australia (1)||vs.||England (3)|
|2||France (2)||vs.||New Zealand (4)|
Teams via rlwc2013.com
Unfortunately for England and Wales, this competition is set up to be a huge source of frustration for those hosting it.
England showed impressive determination and a battling spirit to take a 10-0 lead against the Aussies in their first match, but a trio of tries from Johnathan Thurston, Greg Bird and Billy Slater dramatically altered proceedings just before halftime.
From here, it was always going to be a long road back.
Victories over Ireland and Fiji—both of which will be tightly contested—would see Steve McNamara’s team avoid a semifinal showdown with New Zealand, but it is likely to pit them against Australia once more.
As already highlighted in the previous defeat, this is where dreams of capturing the trophy come to an end for the hosts.
On the other side of the draw, New Zealand’s early destruction of Samoa highlights exactly why everyone should fear Stephen Kearney’s side. Five different try scorers and five goals from Shaun Johnson, per BBC Sport, suggest the Kiwis’ attacking power is enough to thrust them beyond even the mightiest of opponents.
Luckily, if results follow this pattern, they will have a chance to test this theory in the final.
Australia vs. New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand have contested the last two Rugby League World Cup finals, winning one each.
In 2008, New Zealand halted the Aussies’ run of six consecutive tournament wins with a terrific showing at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
There shall be no repeat.
New Zealand captain Simon Mannering knows his side needs to improve if the holders are to reach the final, per BBC Sport, but even this is unlikely to be enough against a team that finally has something to fight for.
Australia’s thirst for revenge provides the Kangaroos with all of the motivation they will ever need, especially when you consider Thurston, Slater, Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis and Paul Gallen are survivors from that fateful 34-20 defeat.
This is a consistent team—one that boasts experienced veterans and those who are searching for their first World Cup win.
Will Australia win the 2013 Rugby League World Cup?
As noted by Paul Connolly of The Guardian, this is the last opportunity for the aforementioned quintet to regain a prize that has been synonymous with Australian sporting success in the modern era.
Do New Zealand have the heart and determination to stop such a force?
If the first set of results is anything to go by, Tim Sheens and the men from down under will blitz their way to yet another impressive triumph.
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