USA to turn back tide?
AFTER dominating the PartyPoker.com Mosconi Cup from its beginnings in 1994 up until the mid 2000s, Team America has been on the receiving end of some heavy defeats in recent years and has recorded just one victory in their last six outings.
Can all that be about to change? Can Wiley’s Warriors take up the challenge when the Mosconi Cup gets underway on Monday 10th December?
They will be facing stiff competition from a European team used to winning this event. In addition they will be up against the fired-up York Hall crowd. When we asked some of pool’s keener observers their opinion, there were plenty backing the USA’s corner.
‘I believe the USA has the best chance in years to regain the Mosconi Cup and my reason for this is the selection of their team captain. CJ Wiley is a great motivator and he will know how to use their underdog role and turn it into a positive influence. With players like Hatch and Dechaine on that team they will take that positive energy straight to the pool table.’
Jim Wych, Sky Sports Commentator
‘I think this year the underdogs – USA – will win. I think they have the following advantages:
1) A young and very aggressive team with the solid foundation of Archer as a senior member and CJ as captain.
2) Europe has no Souquet. In the past when Europe would fall behind you could sense the steadying influence that Ralf's calm brought to their team.
3) Europe, due to its success the last few years, rather expects to win. Certainly, confidence is required to succeed, but if it leads to underestimating your foe you can get careless.
4) The European side seems to have more players who run hot and cold. They are not as consistent in their play as the Americans. If they have a hot week they will win, but if the cold water tap is running on them they will make critical errors at critical times.
'As always with the Mosconi Cup, it all comes down to who can bring their A game and who cannot. But I do not expect the crowd at York Hall to be the negative factor on this USA team as it has been on past teams. This crew is more able to keep their emotion in check and the crowd reactions may spur them up to a new level of determination rather than crushing their will. Sure, Dennis and Mike can flare up, but they can both settle back down quickly instead of fuming for days on end.
I also think that the pressure from the home crowd will affect the youngsters of Europe more than it will the Yanks.’ Jerry Forsyth, Sky Sports Commentator
‘I feel USA have a slight edge here even though it's my beautiful hometown of London with the York hall as the venue. I personally think Europe need Mika and Ralf or at least one of them as they are proven anchor men for the team. Although this battle can go either way still, I hope it goes to the last rack for the Cup as I'm all about the sport and I want to see the best pool entertainment and to see what's in the hearts of men.’ Raj Hundal, former Mosconi Cup player.
‘Despite everything on paper telling me that it just has to be Europe taking the Mosconi Cup yet again, I have a sneaking feeling that America is going to rise to the occasion and, with their backs constantly against the wall for four days at raucous York Hall, play lights out pool and win the Cup by a nose at the wire.’ Ted Lerner, World Pool Association press officer.
‘I think that the USA will win 11-9. I like the mix of their team and this may not be the strongest European squad this year. It will be close either way!’ Jay Helfert, Sky Sports Commentator
‘As the king of reverse psychology I can comfortably say that USA will hammer the Europeans in this year’s Mosconi Cup.’ Andy Goldstein, Sky Sports Presenter