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World Cup: Germany Gets Past Finland, 104-80

TORONTO, ON -- Germany and Finland faced off both hungry for their first wins -- having both been beaten by Australia on day one. What followed was one of the tightest games of the 2011 World Cup so far, with the multiple lead changes and a dramatic last jam a stark contrast to much of the action on day one. Germany held off Finland in the end to win 104-80, and finished 1-1 in Group B while Finland finshed group play winless at 0-2.

Mercedes Bends looked to put Germany's first- day blues behind her after grabbing a quick lead, and managed to put 9 points on the board before being forced into a call as the Finnish jammer escaped the German pack.

Kata Strofi then put 5 on the board in a powerjam over Polly Purgatory, but solid German defense limited the damage. She was still in the box when the next jam started, but Udre couldn't get out in time, handing lead to Polly as she shot out of the box. It was then Germany's turn to take advantage of a powerjam as Vegas racked up points when Juicy Butther was boxed for a major backblock--but was herself boxed on a cut. Finland then brought the pack to a standstill, letting Juicy put ten up for Finland, leaving the score at 22-15 after a little under 8 minutes.

Both teams traded points over the next few jams, with Trixie Grandbang showing some very fancy footwork keeping Finland very much in the bout. Vegas then got boxed on a major cut after being recycled having been called lead, giving Kata a chance to cut her team's 12-point gap -- but she was unable to break the German wall on her scoring pass until the last second of the jam to get five points.

Trixie did the business for Finland in the very next jam, though, putting 9 points up and letting her team take a 41-39 lead with a little over two minutes left in the half. Udre then picked up lead jammer in the very next jam as Germany's Mercedes Bends fond herself on the way to the box -- and nicked 9 points before calling it to ensure Juicy Butther started the next jam unopposed. She then took lead at speed, and had put five points on the board before Mercedes escaped from the box, leaving Finland with a 59:39 lead going into the final jam of the half as Germany called a team timeout. The timeout did the work as Germany cut the deficit to 16 points going into half time thanks to some fine offence work.

Purgatory kept the momentum Germany picked up at the end of the first half as the second started, picking up 12 on three scoring passes with Juicy stuck to make it a four-point game. A long jam saw Kata pick up 10 points to Germany's 5. Trixe got boxed on the next jam, but Vegas called it before she could call it. Purgatory then picked up a slow five points before being forced into a call just before Trixie was released. Mercedes then took advantage of being able to line up unopposed by grabbing lead and then the lead for Germany as she took the score to Germany 74, Finland 69 with 11 minutes left on the clock.Udre then got beaten up by the German pack as Purgatory dropped a natural grand slam to give Germany a ten-point lead.

A run of lead jams for Purgatory and Mercedes saw Germany increase their score steadily over the next few jams. When Udre was boxed wearing the star for Finland it looked like Germany might pull into a bigger lead, but disciplined defence from the Finns kept them in touch, 21 points behind with 5:21 on the clock. The next jam saw Kata take Finland's first lead jam for some time, and grabbed four points before calling. Juicy then took advantage of a 3-1 pack advantage for her team to get lead and get 5 with Mercedes trapped in the pack, cutting the deficit to 12. The next two jams were scoreless before Kata took lead despite taking a big hit from German jammer Mercedes before hitting the pack--and she put two on the board to cut the Germany lead to 10 points going into the final jam.

Udre lined up against Public Enemy with 38 seconds left on the clock. A tough fight in the pack saw Public Enemy get lead as Udre got sent to the box for a major track cut after finding herself stuck behind the hard German back wall. It looked settled until a major forearm sent Public Enemy to the box -- but there just wasn't enough time left on the clock for Finland to make up the difference. The game finished 104-80 in Germany's favour, letting Germany take second place in the group and leaving the Finns third.