Online Tournament Coverage

Euros Accept Challenge
by Mike Panozzo Dec 21, 2002, 5:41 AM EST

There’s drama in London for a change.
The lightning-fast start by Team Europe has led to some testy verbal sparing between the Euros and their American counterparts at the 2003 Mosconi Cup.

Contentiousness took center stage early Friday when youthful U.S. teammates Charlie Williams and Cory Deuel questioned the Euros’ reaction to their surprising 3-0 start.

"The Europeans were drinking and laughing last night like they’d already won the tournament," said Williams, after he and Deuel had put the Americans on the board Friday afternoon with a 5-1 pasting of Euro captain Oliver Ortmann and German countryman Ralf Souquet. "When you rile up the bull, you get the horns," added Deuel.

The American brashness backfired when an obviously perturbed Mika Immonen took to the table in the following doubles match. With fiery determination, Immonen and Sweden’s Marcus Chamat toppled Nick Varner and American captain Johnny Archer, 5-2.

"I think the Americans got a little cocky by winning one match," Immonen retorted after the win.

Immonen’s win restored Europe’s three-match advantage in the race-to-12 Ryder Cup-styled event. And when British snooker legend Steve Davis and steady newcomer Nick Van Den Berg of Holland took apart Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones, 5-0, Europe held there largest-ever Mosconi Cup lead, 5-1.

"We’re still confident," insisted Archer. "Now we move into the singles matches, and that’s where we can make a move. The guys are loose. You’d think we were winning 5-1."

Truthfully, the American squad knows full well that it will need at least two of the three evening singles matches to maintain a level of confidence. Friday night’s match-ups will pit Strickland against Chamat, Deuel against Van Den Berg, and Williams versus Immonen in a match that figures to be long on emotion.

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