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Melbourne – The International Cup is Australian rules footballs world cup. The 2008 event is being held in Melbourne to celebrate 150 years of Australian rules football.

Currently the nation winning the International Cup is considered a distant second to Australia, who does not compete at the cup. This is beacause the difference in skill level between Australia and the next best team is quite considerate. The Australian Football League still names an All-Australian team anyway.

Group A

New Zealand compete after playing against a touring Maffra side, who play in the West Gippsland Latrobe Football League. The match played in Auckland on August 2nd. The final result for this match was a win for the Maffra side 13 goals 13 behinds 91 to 3 goals 1 behind 42.

2005 Japanese captain Michito Sakaki was the first non-Irish internationally based player to play at AFL level.

New Zealand have been grouped with Samoa, Japan and cup debutants India.

Group B

2002 and 2005 runners up Papua New Guinea are set to play a trial game in Coolongatta before heading off to the cup. “Unless Mal Michael’s allowed to play, we’ve got no height” says coach Andrew Cadzow. Michaels plays for the Brisbane lions in the AFL.

The Pease Team, a combined Isreali-Palistinian team, is a cup debutant. It is being sponsored by The Pratt Foundation.

“It’s going to be a very interesting team,” said foundation chief executive Sam Lipski. “Trying to get Palestinian, Arab and Israeli kids together to play football, it’s quite an achievement.”

Great Britain come off the AFL Great Britain Northern Grand Final between Newcastle Centurians and Middlesborough Hawks. The match being won by the Centurions 11 goals 15 behinds 81 to 4 goals 13 behinds 37.

Plans are also in the works for a National Championship between The Centurions and sothern Champions, the Southampton Titans.

PNG, The Peace Team and Great Britain have been grouped with Narau.

[edit] Group C

2005 third place getters the United States are generally considered the banch mark of this group. However the Danes enter the competiton off the back of the national grand final.

With the Olympics in Beijing this year, the Beijing Bombers will play a demonstration match in the Chinese capital during the games. The Bombers will supply players to the Chinese national team for the Cup.

China, the USA and Denmark are joined in the group by South Africa.

Group D

“We have Finland up first on August 27th and we are now totally focused on that game, but at the end of the day, you have to beat them all and we believe we are capable of doing just that,” Canadas General Manager Martin Walter has commented in a recent interview.

The Canadians bring a mix of experience and youth to their third International Cup. They are being finacially supported by Foraco Drilling, Quantec Geoscience and Laramide Resources Inc; three of Canadas multi-national mining companies.

“This has put the team into a strong financial position, and that allows us to bring the best football talent that the Ontario Australian Rules Football League and other Canadian leagues have to offer,” Walter says.

Canada are joined by inaugural champions Ireland, Sweden and Finland.

Source : wikinews

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