by Simon Daish
The quarter-finals of the Men’s Team category saw both Japan and Korea Republic narrowly avoid early exits from the tournament with 3-2 victories over Hong Kong and France respectively. Now Japan and Korea Republic will meet in the lower half of the semi-finals draw in what is expected to be a cracking contest.
Silver medallists at both the 2016 Olympic Games and the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships Japan expects to be involved in the title fight in London, but with Korea Republic emerging successful against the Japanese team at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championships this match is evenly balanced heading into the penultimate day of action at the Copperbox Arena.
What a story it has been so far for Team England with the no.8 seeds coming through Group B courtesy of a win against Egypt before a sensational outing against Brazil put the hosts into the last four.
However, the English team couldn’t have been handed a tougher semi-finals tie with top seeds China providing the opposition. Can the host nation produce another magical performance in front of the home fans and cause a massive upset against the reigning champions?
The second and third seeded nations will meet in the semi-finals of the Women’s Team event as China takes on Hong Kong with a place in the title match up for grabs.
On paper the Chinese line-up are the favourites to advance from the tie and are aiming to defend their title win achieved in 2015, but Hong Kong has been in impressive form across both days in London so expect to see a spectacular battle from this encounter.
Japan will compete in the top half of the draw where a semi-finals tie with surprise outfit DPR Korea awaits.
Seeded ninth for the competition DPR Korea has somewhat outperformed expectations at the ITTF-Team World Cup, but three years ago the country did secure the runner up medal at the 2015 edition of the event held in Dubai. Will DPR Korea reach another final or will it be Japan who prevails at the semi-finals stage?