EURO MIXED TEAM CHAMPS 2015 – Germany can’t get away scot-free

Defending European Mixed Team Champion Germany, who overcame favourite Denmark 3-0 in the finals of the previous edition, fell 2-0 behind in their encounter with Scotland and weren’t able to […]

Defending European Mixed Team Champion Germany, who overcame favourite Denmark 3-0 in the finals of the previous edition, fell 2-0 behind in their encounter with Scotland and weren’t able to close that gap. Team Germany eventually lost 2-3, but were already qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2015 Championship in Leuven, Belgium, after Spain’s late withdrawal from the tournament.

By Elm Vandervorst. Photos (live): Yohan Nonotte / Badmintonphoto

The surprising loss of Germany means they would finish only second in their group and Scotland will advance as group winner, which earned them a quarter-final clash with 2013 bronze medallist Russia.

The first match between Germany and Scotland, in the first tie of the week for either team, was the women’s singles and a repeat of the first round of the World Championships of last year between Kirsty Gilmour and Karin Schnaase. The latter surprisingly won that battle in straight games. But today at the Sportoase in Leuven, Belgium it was her opponent who prevailed with the same result as in Denmark last year 21-15 21-15.

Also the second encounter, and second singles match, was won by Team Scotland. Kieran Merrilees (pictured above) was just a bit stronger than Dieter Domke. Erasing three match points, Merrilees required only one to earn a second point for his home nation.

Germany’s victories in both the men’s  and women’s doubles meant everything had to be decided in the mixed doubles, which was an exciting match-up between Michael Fuchs / Birgit Michels (pictured right) and Robert Blair / Imogen Bankier. After each team secured one game, Blair and Bankier secured the deciding match and Scotland’s pair gained the winning third point.

2013 runner-up Denmark, on the other hand, didn’t waste much time in their meeting with Poland and won all five matches in their first Group 1 tie. It was Anna Thea Madsen (pictured below) who paved the way for her compatriots, beating Weronika Grudzina 21-10, 21-11.

“The fact that I had to take that first important point, crossed my mind before the start of the match,” admitted Madsen, “but from the start I just focused on my game and nothing else. I’m pretty happy with how I played today and already look forward to the rest of the tournament.”

In their second confrontation, with The Netherlands, Denmark did enough to secure the first place in the group with a 3-2 win.

In Group 2, both England and Ireland overcame host Belgium, with 5-0 and 3-2 wins respectively. In the deciding duel, England was just too strong for the Irish squad, who didn’t selected their best players for this specific match, relying twice on 17-year-old Rachael Darragh. This resulted in an unmistakable matter that ended without England even losing a single game.

Belgium couldn’t profit from their home advantage and the support of the local crowd. However, local players Nick Marcoen and Flore Vandenhoucke remained positive after their loss in the mixed doubles against the Irish Magees: “We will only get better ourselves if we play against good adversaries outside Belgium. Our match against Sam and Chloe was  a good experience and we’ll learn from it. The support of the home crowd definitely gave us a boost, so it’s a pity that we couldn’t win.”

Group 4 was, on paper, the most balanced one between France, Russia and Sweden. France started with a 4-1 victory against Sweden and also the Russians defeated the Scandinavians. Still it took them blood, sweat and tears and a hard-fought 3-2 victory. In the decider for the first place France won the first three matches in mixed doubles and singles, respectively won by Labar-Lefel, Brice Leverdez and Sashina Vignes Waran (pictured right).

The line-up for the quarter-finals:

Denmark vs. Ireland
France vs. Germany
Russia vs. Scotland
The Netherlands vs. England

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About Elm Vandevorst