Welcome back to Quaffles & Bludgers! After weeks of watching these teams go head to head across the continent, we’ve finally reached the knockout stage! From here on out, all matches are do or die, life or death situations and those who lose will be sent home packing while those who win continue on for their chance to win the European Cup!
Once again, we at the Daily Prophet would like to remind readers that the European Cup Final will be held in Doda Pilii, Romania. Tent rentals will be available August 14th with the Final being held on the 21st. Access to the campgrounds will begin August 15th for standard campers. Tickets will be offered at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class prices with seating available for each tier and they will be going on sale August 14th.
San Pietro Lupi [Italy] 670 – 540 Vrasta Vultures [Bulgaria]
In Bulgaria, we arrived to watch the first match of the knockout stage as fan favourites, the San Pietro Lupi came face to face with legendary giants, the Vrasta Vultures! It was a perfectly clear day with little wind and the teams kicked off with no delay into what could easily be described as a fierce duel of the fates. Despite being ultimately outclassed by the Vultures, the Lupi proved that they were no longer playing with kid gloves on, coming out of the gate full force. After a back and forth that kept the teams ultimately evenly matched, San Pietro managed to catch the snitch, ending the game in their favour and sending the Vrasta Vultures home.
Karasjok Kites [Norway] 510 – 80 Bigonville Bombers [Luxembourg]
The next match was played in windy Luxembourg, where fans hoped to see the Karasjok Kites blown out of the competition and back to Norway. The wind was fierce but that didn’t stop the match from getting underway, or Luxembourg from getting a headstart on the points. The team seemed to adapt to the wind quickly, managing to score goal after goal without losing the quaffle to the breeze. Unfortunately, this lead did not last as the Kites were quick to adjust their play and overtake the Bombers. Once the ball got rolling, the Kites really began to soar, doubling, tripling, nearly quadrupling the Bombers’ score before their seeker pulled an expert Wronskei Feint and captured the snitch. As another match came to an end, another team was knocked from the tournament and sent packing!
Braga Broomfleet [Portugal] 490 – 620 Appleby Arrows [British & Irish]
A cool, windy day in England served as the set for this match, with fans from both countries shuffling into the stands. With a storm fast approaching, players were ready to take to the sky and end the game before conditions became too rough. With the Appleby Arrows serving as the longshot candidate, Braga came in confident that they’d be able to sweep the pitch with the British team who were all too eager to prove them wrong. From kickoff, both teams were giving their all in one of the most intense, no holds barred matches we’ve seen this season. Injuries were sustained by players on both sides including, a spiral fractured tibia, a cracked skull, and a broken clavicle and Braga suffered two green sparks and a red thanks to players Gil and Lobo. In the end, the Appleby Arrows demolished the competition, trashing the Broomfleet so thoroughly that even a snitch catch could not close the gap. Utterly humiliated, the fleet was sent home, leaving the Arrows to carry on.
Schengen Kropemann [Luxembourg] 500 – 370 Parisian Hellhounds [France]
Accusations of Paris playing for second place in the groups to secure an easy route were quickly stifled in France, with Schengen Kropemann demonstrating superbly why one should never assume victory before the final whistle. Paris put in a decent shift, but Kropemann came into the match knowing full well they were the underdogs and thus fought tooth and nail for every goal. Anissa Bode, bless her, danced around the pitch in search of the snitch in such a masterful way that even Reinach would have been better off sweeping the stands – she was untouchable right up until she caught the snitch for the Luxembourg giant slayers.
Ostrava Otesáneks [Czech Republic] 470 – 280 Pride of Portree [British & Irish]
We’ve seen some true rags to riches stories in this tournament so far, and Ostrava v Pride was one of the best. Portree have always been a formidable side, with a reputation that is extremely well known right across Europe, but if Ostrava were scared it never showed. They had a strong gameplan, one that seemed to pull at the threads of all of Pride’s weaknesses; Picasso was pinned down by the Ostrava beaters nearly all game and the Ostrava chasers forced Weekes to play at their much slower tempo, which led to plenty of mistakes on the Pride side. Marfa Parma caught the snitch in the end, but it was in vain, Ostrava had already taken the victory – and the next place in the quarters – hours before.
Holyhead Harpies [British & Irish] 570 – 420 Agincourt Axes [France]
One of the most hotly anticipated matches of the round of 16 was Holyhead v Agincourt, and that anticipation was answered with one incredible match. Both teams played their absolute best, with some of the most superb setpieces seen this century, and stunts that would make Wronski look like an amateur. The match looked like it could go either way until Kelpie Galloway managed to slip past Bonnaire at the very last second, securing Holyhead’s progression. Strangely, Holyhead’s loudest supporter was ex-Agincourt player Adam Fletcher, who’d previously declared he had absolutely no interest in the Euro Cup.
Varna Lamia [Bulgaria] 390 – 330 Bucharest Lampi [Romania]
Another match on everyone’s watchlist was Varna v Bucharest. With Varna as one of the favourites to win the Cup this year, Bucharest had a hard match ahead of them, but they managed to keep up with Varna fairly well. At one point, Bucharest had managed to take a strong lead thanks to some great one-two plays from Szaiff and Oprey and newest signing Ulric H. Golovin’s bombardment of Varna’s Davidu Borisov, but eventually the Bulgarian seeker dove through the bludgers and took the snitch, securing Varna’s ascension to the next stage.
Naantali Nakki [Finland] 340 – 70 Prague Flames [Czech Republic]
For the last match of the round of 16, we returned to the Czech Republic to see two titans of the sport battle for the last spot in the quarters – Naantali Nakki vs Prague Flames. A rarity for the Czech team, Prague started off sluggish and it cost them heavily; Naantali took every advantage out of Prague’s slow pace and ran circles around them for the first hour. In the second hour, Prague took a few neat goals, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Naantali’s seeker, Ubba Ulricsson, was on top of the snitch from the first minute, and by the close of the third hour, finally caught it.
That finishes up the first round of the knockout stage, reducing numbers from sixteen to eight! Next, we’ll move into the quarter finals where matches look to be quite exciting and numbers will dwindle even further!
|14/08/28 17:00 – San Pietro Lupi v Karasjok Kites||14/08/28 20:00 – Ostrava Otesáneks v Holyhead Harpies|
|15/08/28 17:00 – Appleby Arrows v Schengen Kropemann||15/08/28 20:00 – Varna Lamia v Naantali Nakki|