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2014 Wheelchair Rugby World Championship preview part one

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The IWRF World Championship gets under way in Denmark on Monday and with that in mind the Wheelchair Rugby Examiner turns to a preview of the sides involved, beginning with the lower teams in Pool A.

Belgium
World Ranking: 9th
Best World Ranking: 4th (October 2009: European Championships)
Best finish: 4th (2002)
2010 finish: 7th
Since their dizzying heights of 2009, the Belgian team has fallen significantly, failing to meet their European Championship performance of 2009 in 2013, finishing in a disappointing 5th place before seeing their ranking slip after skipping the 2014 Canada Cup.

The World Championship will allow Belgium the opportunity to look to get back to those heights, continuing their impressive attendance at major championships, but they will not feature in the medals, and will look to better their seventh place finish of four years ago.

Player to watch: Raf Hendrix (3.0), a versatile player with a wheelchair basketball background. Hendrix currently plays in the United States for the Texas Stampede.

Finland
World Ranking: 11th
Best World Ranking: 11th (Current)
Best finish: 11th (2010)
2010 finish: 11th
Finland are very much still a country developing country when it comes to their international stage, while making consecutive appearances in the tournament for the first time, they are still looking to push on to the next level, and as Europe continues to grow, they see their position in those second tier nations.

Finland avoided coming last in the 2010 edition of the tournament and they will be hoping to avoid that again, their ranking seems to be a fair position, but with the strength of the other nations on their level, Finland will again be making their priority picking up a win.

Player to watch: Anna Pasanen (0.5), one of the few women competing in the world championships. Pasanen will look to be a key part of the Finnish defense.

Denmark
World Ranking: 6th
Best World Ranking: 6th (Current)
Best finish: 12th (2006)
2010 finish: Did Not Qualify (DNQ)
The hosts come in to the tournament on the best form in their history, having seen their ranking skyrocket in the last 12 months, finishing the 2013 European championship in second, losing a tight final by one point.

Denmark may only have one appearance, after missing the 2010 tournament, but they have been a big part of the European invasion in recent years and with such a successful record at home they should be a big threat to the established powers, expect Denmark to do much better than 12th in 2014.

Player to watch: Thor Johansson (2.0), the player coach for the Danish side will provide vast experience and strong leadership to a largely inexperienced side.

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