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PLAY-OFF FOR THIRD PLACE was the title of a Daily Prophet article written by Ginevra Potter and published on 9 July, 2014. The article covered the match between the Japan and the American National Quidditch teams, part of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup.
It was brief, it was bloody and few will disagree that it was brutal.
Japan, who many thought would go all the way in this tournament, and the USA, for whom 2014 has been a breakthrough year, have both had remarkable World Cups. All fourteen players in this third place play-off can hold their heads high tonight, though for some - notably American Chaser Arsenia Gonzales, who took two Bludgers to the face in the 34th minute - it will be extremely painful.
The USA did well to score twelve times against Keeper Todoroki, an undersung hero of the Japanese side who was on superb form, while Beaters Hongo and Shingo were simply unstoppable. At the other end of the pitch, Chasers Yamaguchi, Kurosawa and Wakahisa put eighteen goals past Keeper Susan Blancheflower before Japanese Seeker Noriko Sato put in one of the most spectacular dives of the tournament. Zooming through flying Bludgers and a tangle of Chasers she successfully seized the Snitch from under the heel of American Mercy Wardwell, leaving Darius Smackhammer in a broom-lock with Lucas Picquery.
Once on the ground, the teams embraced in a heart-warming show of sportsmanship. Word has since reached us that the Japanese have presented the American team - whose supporters famously kidnapped Hans the Augurey, the Liechtenstein mascot - with a Hoo-hoo chich (the Hoo-hoo is a Japanese firebird).