Egypt sensationally retained their title in the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship after upsetting favourites England 2/1 in a thrilling final today in Paderborn, Germany.
The 23rd staging of the World Squash Federation event – the first senior world championship since the IOC announcement that Squash is on the shortlist for Olympic inclusion in 2020 – has been taking place in Germany for the first time.
With sell-out crowds throughout the week, the final between the top two seeds on the spectacular new blue all-glass showcourt at the Ahorn-Sportpark was the dream climax to an event which is being hailed as the best world championship ever.
 EGYPT bt  ENGLAND 2/1
Ramy Ashour bt Nick Matthew 11-7, 11-9, 14-12 (61m)
Hisham Mohamed Ashour lost to Peter Barker 6-11, 9-11, 7-11 (50m)
Karim Darwish bt James Willstrop 11-5, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4 (65m)
The top two players in the world took to the court for the opening clash, with Egypt taking early honours when Ramy Ashour beat Nick Matthew, the world number one from Sheffield, 11-7, 11-9, 14-12. Ashour, who also beat Matthew in the final of the Australian Open in Canberra earlier in the month, went into the match 8-6 ahead in their head-to-head count – but had never before beaten the Englishman in straight games.
Matthew saved a match ball in the third game before going on to have his own game ball. But Ashour kept his cool to wrap up the match without dropping a game.
“He played a lot better than me – he deserved it,” said Matthew after the match. “I wasn’t playing my best squash. But if I’d won that third game I think I could have gone on to win the match.”
The decider featured second strings Karim Darwish and James Willstrop – a pair who have been opponents on a squash court since the world junior championships in 2000, with Englishman Willstrop boasting a 12-6 head to head advantage.
But, after losing out to Frenchman Thierry Lincou in the semi-finals, Darwish was determined to make amends. The 29-year-old from Cairo took the first two games, then survived the loss of the third to record an 11-5, 13-11, 9-11, 11-4 championship-winning victory – his first over the Yorkshireman since 2006.
Darwish was immediately engulfed by his team-mates on the court as the Egyptian supporters in the crowd went wild in celebration of Egypt’s third world team title success since 1999.
“I didn’t play well against Thierry yesterday because of the pressure, I just didn’t play my game,” said a beaming Darwish minutes after his victory. “Today, I decided to enjoy myself, and was much more relaxed. In fact I think I played one of my best matches – I think I played superb squash. I don’t think a lot of people expected us to win.
“I am really grateful to my team and Amir Wagih. They gave me a good push for the match.”
Fourth seeds Australia won the play-off for third place, upsetting last year’s runners-up France, the third seeds. AfterDavid Palmer lost the opening to French No1 Gregory Gaultier in straight games, Aussie No3 Stewart Boswellbrought the former champions back into contention with a four-game victory over Gregoire Marche.
“It was a fantastic tie,” said team manager Byron Davis. “To go to three matches was very exciting for the spectators. Greg came out firing as we expected him to do after his loss last night – but Stewart was as solid as a rock and played a really good game.
“And the decider was a great match – and, in the first match they’d ever played, Cameron did well to beat Thierry, especially the way he’s been playing here this week. Cameron is improving all the time and loves playing for Australia. He did the job perfectly.”
There were some notable final finishes lower down the order. Eighth seeds USA beat India, the sixth seeds, in the play-off for seventh place to record their best finish since 1983. Squad number one Julian Illingworth put the underdogs in the driving seat by beating Saurav Ghosal, ranked five places higher, in four games.
“With Gilly (Lane) still recovering from his back injury, we essentially played the whole tournament a man down,” said team coach Paul Assaiante. “We’d love to have had the luxury of being able to rest our players. But to beat India today was very special and Julian’s win was especially impressive.”
Hosts Germany, the 16th seeds, beat Netherlands 2/0 in the play-off for ninth place to record their best finish since 1997.
“It really could not have been better,” said Simon Rosner, the Paderborn-based German number one who has been the championship’s ambassador. “For me, personally, it was awesome to beat three players (Laurens Jan Anjema, Shahier Razik and Borja Golan) who I’ve never beaten before.
“And we didn’t have the best draw, being in the same pool as England – but we beat every country here except the two finalists, and this makes me very proud. The whole experience has been incredible – awesome crowds, every day sold out. I am so pleased for Paderborn and my club.”
Denmark also had much to celebrate. Seeded in the 17/24 group, the three-man squad upset higher-rated teams through the week and today beat 11th seeds South Africa to claim 13th place – their best finish of all-time.
3rd place play-off:
 AUSTRALIA bt  FRANCE 2/1
David Palmer lost to Gregory Gaultier 9-11, 4-11, 0-11 (47m)
Stewart Boswell bt Gregoire Marche 11-13, 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (63m)
Cameron Pilley bt Thierry Lincou 12-10, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6 (64m)
5th place play-off:
 MALAYSIA bt  ITALY 2/1
Mohd Azlan Iskandar bt Davide Bianchetti 11-3, 11-7, 11-4 (23m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan lost to Amr Ramsy Swelim 11-6, 7-11, 11-4, 5-11, 9-11 (63m)
Ong Beng Hee bt Marcus Berrett 5-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-3, 11-6 (67m)
7th place play-off:
 USA bt  INDIA 2/0
Julian Illingworth bt Saurav Ghosal 11-9, 2-11, 13-11, 11-7 (50m)
Todd Harrity bt Mahesh Mangaonkar 6-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-2, 11-5 (51m)
Christopher Gordon v Harinder Pal Sandhu (Match withdrawn)
9th place play-off:
 GERMANY bt  NETHERLANDS 2/0
Simon Rosner bt Laurens Jan Anjema 17-19, 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (75m)
Raphael Kandra bt Bart Ravelli 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, 11-7 (57m)
Jens Schoor v Piedro Schweertman (Match withdrawn)
11th place play-off:
[17/24] HONG KONG CHINA bt  FINLAND 2/0
Max Lee bt Olli Tuominen 11-9, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6 (50m)
Leo Au bt Matias Tuomi 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (27m)
Dick Lau v Henrik Mustonen (Match withdrawn)
13th place play-off:
[17/24] DENMARK bt  SOUTH AFRICA 2/1
Kristian Frost Olesen bt Shaun le Roux 17-15, 6-11, 8-11, 12-10, 11-8 (78m)
Morten W Sorensen lost to Rodney Durbach 6-11, 3-11, 8-11 (27m)
Rasmus Nielsen bt Clinton Leeuw 11-9, 11-4, 7-11, 11-6 (56m)
15th place play-off:
 CANADA bt  MEXICO 2/1
Shahier Razik bt Cesar Salazar 11-8, 11-5, 11-1 (25m)
Andrew McDougall lost to Erik Tepos Valtierra 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-13, 8-11 (82m)
Shawn Delierre bt Eric Galvez 11-4, 11-7, 12-10 (31m)
17th place play-off:
[17/24] SWITZERLAND bt [17/24] SPAIN 2/1
Nicolas Mueller lost to Borja Golan 7-11, 7-11, 1-11 (38m)
John Williams bt David Vidal 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 (36m)
Reiko Peter bt Ivan Flores 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (37m)
19th place play-off:
[17/24] KUWAIT bt [25/32] IRELAND 2/0
Abdullah Al Muzayen bt Arthur Gaskin 11-3, 11-5, 11-9 (30m)
Ali Bader Al-Ramzi bt Steve Richardson 11-8, 11-3, 11-9 (39m)
Ammar Al-Tamimi v Derek Ryan (Match withdrawn)
21st place play-off:
[17/24] SCOTLAND bt  PAKISTAN 2/0
Alan Clyne bt Aamir Atlas Khan 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8 (35m)
Chris Small bt Nasir Iqbal 11-8, 11-13, 12-10, 11-13, 11-5 (57m)
Stuart Crawford v Yasir Butt (Match withdrawn)
23rd place play-off:
 NEW ZEALAND bt [17/24] ARGENTINA 2/0
Martin Knight bt Gonzalo Miranda 11-3, 11-9, 11-9 (35m)
Evan Williams bt Roberto Pezzota 11-7, 3-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-5 (49m)
Campbell Grayson v Hernan D’Arcangelo (Match withdrawn)
25th place play-off:
[25/32] AUSTRIA bt [17/24] COLOMBIA 2/1
Aqeel Rehman bt Andres Vargas 11-4, 11-4, 11-8 (23m)
Jakob Dirnberger lost to Juan Camilo Vargas 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 8-11 (40m)
Leopold Czaska bt Javier Castilla Conde 8-11, 11-13, 12-10, 11-5, 11-8 (58m)
27th place play-off:
[25/32] HUNGARY bt [25/32] KOREA 2/0
Mark Krajcsak bt Nyeon-Ho Lee w/o
Peter Hoffman bt Seung-Jun Lee w/o
Marton Szaboky v Seung Taek Lee (Match withdrawn)
29th place play-off:
[25/32] SWEDEN bt [25/32] UKRAINE 2/0
Christian Drakenberg bt Ruslan Sorochinskiy 11-8, 11-3, 11-3 (30m)
Alex Christensson bt Denys Podvornyi 11-6, 11-5, 14-16, 3-11, 11-8 (59m)
Sebastian Victor v Kostiantyn Rybalchenko (Match withdrawn)
31st place play-off:
[25/32] NAMIBIA bt [25/32] BERMUDA 2/0
Marco Becker bt Micah Franklin 11-9, 11-4, 11-4 (30m)
Andrew Forrest bt Chris Stout 11-9, 12-10, 11-6 (35m)
Norbert Dorgeloh v Robert Maycock (Match withdrawn)