A guaranteed first-time top eight finish is the reward for outsiders Japan after the 13/18 seeds beat Germany in the play-offs for the top 12 places in the Doha WSF Men’s World Junior Team Squash Championship at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in the Qatar capital Doha.
It was a surprise 2/1 pool win over Colombia, the No8 seeds, that put Japan into the elite play-offs – a success which ensured the nation a significant improvement on their previous highest finish of 16 in the World Squash Federationchampionship in 2006.
Japan again saw their top and third string players make the breakthrough – firstly squad number one Ryosei Kobayashibeating Felix Auer 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 to put the team ahead, then Tomotaka Endo clinching victory with an 11-4, 11-9, 11-2 win over Lucas Wirths.
“We’re very happy with our performances today,” the delighted duo told the event website www.wsfworldjuniors.com after the tie. “We knew that we probably had to win our matches yesterday and today, and we managed to do that.
“We play Pakistan next, which will be a very tough match – but we’ll try to do our best.”
Like the other top four seeds Egypt, England and India, second seeds Pakistan enjoyed a rest day in Doha.
Canada, the No10 seeds, improved on their seeding and ensured themselves a top eight finish for the eighth time in a row after beating Brazil 2/0.
But 13/18 seeds Brazil, who secured 23rd place in 2010, are also assured of a best ever finish when they take on New Zealand in the play-offs for the 9-12 places.
The Asian rivalry between India and Hong Kong China will be tested when the countries meet for a place in the semi-finals. Fifth seeds Hong Kong beat New Zealand 3/0 and can now look forward to only their second top eight finish in 13 appearances in the championships.
And sixth seeds USA defeated Kuwait, the 12th seeds, 2/0 to earn a quarter-final clash with former champions England, the third seeds.
1st – 12th place play-offs:
 EGYPT bye
 CANADA bt [13/18] BRAZIL 2/0
Cameron Seth bt Josimar Silva 14-12, 11-9, 11-6 (42m)
Zachary Leman bt Cassiano de Jesus Silva 11-1, 11-5, 11-2 (19m)
 INDIA bye
 HONG KONG CHINA bt  NEW ZEALAND 3/0
Cheuk Yan Tang bt Jonathan Barnett 11-8, 5-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9 (78m)
Yeung Ho Wai bt Todd Redman 11-4, 11-4, 11-2 (32m)
Yip Tsz Fung bt Zachary Millar 11-7, 11-8 (12m)
 USA bt  KUWAIT 2/0
Dylan Murray bt Yousif Nizar Saleh 11-13, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7 (55m)
Thomas Dembinski bt Athbi Khalid Hamad 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 (24m)
 ENGLAND bye
[13/18] JAPAN bt [13/18] GERMANY 2/0
Ryosei Kobayashi bt Felix Auer 11-4, 11-9, 11-5 (30m)
Tomotaka Endo bt Lucas Wirths 11-4, 11-9, 11-2 (27m)
 PAKISTAN bye
Quarter-finals: EGYPT v  CANADA
 INDIA v  HONG KONG CHINA
 ENGLAND v  USA
 PAKISTAN v [13/18] JAPAN