Bristol table football player wins World Cup for Britain
Bristol sportsman Joe Hamilton has made the dream of so many people, beating the Germans in a World Cup shoot-out in front of a roaring crowd – at table football.
Joe Hamilton, from Bishopston, and his partner Rob Atha, from Manchester, won the International Table Soccer Federation World Championship doubles title in France in epic fashion. The pair clinched victory in a nail-biting, sudden-death, ball-by-ball play-off against the German duo of Tim Ludwig and Dirk Wahl.
The tournament, held in Nantes in January, featured more than 500 players from 36 countries and will be broadcast on Eurosport 2 this month in two 26-minute shows.
British champion Joe, who trains at the Crown in Keynsham, became one of the top 'foosball' players in the world after winning the event which pulls together the champions of various different tables used in the sport.
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In England the 'Tornado' table is the most commonly used but the French and Danes (who were both defeated in Joe and Rob's charge for glory) prefer the 'Bonzini' table and the Austrians, who fell foul of the Brits in the semi-finals, opt for the 'Garlando'.
"It's like clay in tennis being very different from hard court," said Joe.
"The Germans play on the 'Tecball'. It is similar to the Tornado but grippier."
Each tie is the best of five games and the teams alternate between their 'home' tables.
Despite losing the toss in the final and starting on the Germans' Tecball table the Brits took a surprise lead before blowing their advantage and allowing the Germans back into the match.
And then, in front of a crowd of 400 people, Team GB conceded a penalty which would have ended their dream.
But it was saved to force a shoot-out, one ball on each table.
"It was one of those things where you zone out," said Joe.
"Rob was really fired up but knowing some of the teams I didn't expect us to win it, no way. Top five and I would have been happy."
The winning moment was something special, a strike from the goalkeeper.
"I was the Theo Walcott of the 2006 World Championships and so I was very nervous," said Joe.
"This time a lot more was expected of me. When we won and the ball went in we just stared at each other and didn't acknowledge anyone else. It was one of those moments when you wish your parents were there."
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