Sweden suffer a setback as Hurskainen retired hurt on a Day 2 that also saw the first of the eliminations at this year’s tournament as Norway, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Finland, Israel, Belarus and Slovakia joined the absent Wales team in having no chance of progression.
By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)
Sweden held their nerve to seal a 3-2 victory over Ukraine, as a loss in the first two matches caused a scare. After Ukrainians Atrashchenkov/Kobcheva overcame Nordh/Lennartsson in a close first match followed by the retirement of the first choice Swedish men’s singles player Henri Hurskainen, the Swedes could have been forgiven for showing nerves. However, after Elinor Widh went the distance to win her singles match, the momentum changed as the Swedes won the remaining point, with Emelie Lennartsson / Emma Wengberg clinching in women’s doubles and they are now favourites to progress from Group 7 as the only undefeated team left.
France and Ireland set up an exciting finish at the top of Group 6 as they will face each other on Day 3 to decide the group after both had strong showings beating Israel 5-0 and Finland 4-1 respectively.
Belgium ensured they would leave with at least one victory after a clean sheet against Belarus. Alesia Zaitsava (pictured) was again the highlight for Belarus as she faced Lianne Tan but came up agonisingly short as she lost 21-23, 21-9, 20-22.
The Czech Republic dismissed neighbours Slovakia 5-0 to set up a decider against Scotland, who had the day off after a walkover courtesy of Wales. The day also saw Spain win their first tie of the tournament as they beat Estonia 4-1, where only Raul Must (pictured below), who lost in three to Zwiebler on Day 1, bettered his good showing as he beat Velazquez 21-17, 21-17.
Men’s singles was also the only discipline Turkey faltered in after a strong start against Norway, although they will have to up their game significantly if they are to challenge the tournament favourites Denmark on Day 3.
Bulgaria fared well against Iceland, coming away with a 4-1 victory however they will have to upset the hosts in the deciding round of qualifying. Similarly Lithuania, currently lying second in Group 4 having beaten Latvia 4-1, will be hoping to capitalise on the recent return from injury of both Andy Ellis and Jenny Wallwork to cause an upset against England tomorrow.
The Netherlands will square up against Switzerland to decide who will progress from Group 5, as neither Hungary nor Luxembourg fared much better against the other opponent on Day 2.
Find all of the second day’s results here
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