Semifinal 1: Greece, New Zealand, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Japan
High rates off the start but no one is making much of an impact on the field. The Italians lead to 500m with Denmark just behind with Greece third. Denmark push through just after the marker and move to clear water. The Italians can’t handle the pace and are now in fifth. New Zealand second, Germany third, Greece fourth. All separated by inches at 1000m. Denmark only half a length ahead. New Zealand and Germany drop Greece. Germany carry speed into 1750m and have moved through the Kiwis. The Danes sit low in the boat but win by clear water. New Zealand are second as Germany start to tire and swing the bodies early off the catch. Greece and Italy fight for fourth, with Greece just taking it. Japan sixth.
Semifinal 2: Cuba, Norway, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Hungary
World and Olympic Champions, GB, get a big cheer on the call over. The sun has come out and it’s warming up for the finals. Crosswind from lane 6 to 1; brisk. Cuba put in quick first strokes and launch themselves off the start. They lead, with France inches behind. GB are third, Norway, Hungary, Portugal. GB moving to draw level with the leaders. Three bows in a line. GB carry this speed through. Their mid-pace is higher than the rest of the field. GB, France, Cuba separated by inches at 1000m. Norway and Portugal very close, just half a length behind the leaders. 2 seconds from 1st to 5th. GB move to a canvas lead and France start to go with them. Cuba holding their lead over Norway. There will be high rates coming soon! GB almost half a length. 1500m and GB are moving away. France lift too. Cuba threatened by Norway. It’s so close coming to the line. GB pushed all the way but win. France half a length back, just ahead of Portugal. Norway fade and Hungary hit the wall just before the line. Cuba can only paddle over. They gave everything early on.