New from J.K. Rowling
Canada 270, Scotland 240
It was "a bitter disappointment" for Scotland, as Scottish Seeker Hector Lamont missed the Golden Snitch by millimetres. In a post-match interview, Lamont famously blamed his father "Stubby" Lamont for not giving him longer fingers.
Ireland 170, Bulgaria 160
The on-pitch action was very much overshadowed by the events that followed this match. A spectacular Snitch capture by young Seeker Viktor Krum was enough to salvage Bulgarian dignity, but not to secure a win.
Malawi 260, Senegal 180
Only the second ever all-African final. Following the 1994 riots, security at this match was tighter than ever before. Senegal almost refused to play when their team mascots (Yumboes) were arrested outside the stadium. Yumboes are a kind of African house-elf and they took their arrest in reasonably good part, merely stealing every bit of food within a ten-mile radius in revenge and vanishing into the night.
Egypt 450, Bulgaria 300
Another crushing disappointment for Bulgaria. Viktor Krum was narrowly beaten to the Snitch by the outstanding Egyptian Seeker, Rawya Zaghloul. After the match, a tearful Krum announced his retirement.
Burkina Faso 300, France 220
A popular win for the small African nation, whose Seeker Joshua Sankara was promptly named Burkinabé Minister for Magic. Two days later he resigned, pointing out that he'd much rather play Quidditch.
Moldova 750, China 640
A furiously contested match that lasted 3 days and was widely held to have produced some of the finest Quidditch seen this century. The tiny country of Moldova has consistently produced excellent Quidditch teams and supporters were heartbroken that they failed to qualify this year due to an outbreak of Dragon Pox at their training camp.
The Quidditch World Cup of 2014
This year's Quidditch World Cup promises to be as exciting as ever. The sixteen competing countries are:
Brazil, Bulgaria, Chad, Fiji, Germany, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, USA and Wales.
Nigeria and Norway enter the tournament as the highest ranked teams. This is the first year that the USA is thought to have a reasonable chance of reaching the final. Much interest has been generated by the return to the Bulgarian side of the previously retired Viktor Krum, who at 38 is old for a Seeker but whose stated aim is 'to win the World Cup before I die.' For this reason, Bulgaria is attracting support from those whose countries have not qualified. Liechtenstein caused a serious upset in the qualifying stages by winning the group over China, the runners-up in 2010. Liechtenstein's team mascot is a gloomy, oversized Augurey called Hans who has his own fan club.
Other than this, nothing out of the ordinary has been reported. Rumours that Haiti have used Inferi to intimidate opposing teams have been dismissed by the ICWQC as 'malicious and baseless.' Accusations that Polish Seeker Bonawentura Wojcik is actually the famous Italian Seeker Luciano Volpi, Transfigured, Were only disproven when Luciano Volpi agreed to a press conference by Wojcik's side. Welsh manager Gwenog Jones, formerly of the Holyhead Harpies, threatened to 'curse the face off' rival Brazilian manager José Barboza when he called her Chasers 'talentless hags' , a comment he later insisted had been taken out of context.
Opening games will take place next month in the Patagonian desert.